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China Hires 20,000 People To Make Its Own Version Of Wikipedia

Claire Reid

| Last updated 

China Hires 20,000 People To Make Its Own Version Of Wikipedia

China is creating its own online encyclopaedia to rival Wikipedia, and has recruited 20,000 people to work on it.

Officials have said the encyclopaedia will feature 300,000 entries of around 1,000 words each. Wikipedia is available in China, but due to the country's strict censorship laws, some parts are blocked.

Unlike Wikipedia, which can be edited by anyone, the Chinese version will be written by scholars from state-run universities.

Editor-in-chief on the project, Yang Muzhi, said in a statement that Encyclopaedia of China 'is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture'.

Credit: PA

The online encyclopaedia will be an update of a paper version, which was published in 1993, with a second edition released in 2009.

At the time of its release, critics claimed Encyclopaedia of China entries were deliberately distorted or kept out for political reasons.

The new version will also be printed and bound, as well as appearing online.

Out of 65 nations, China was found to have the most restrictive policies when it comes to online use, according to think tank Freedom House. The country has always said the censorship, which is collectively known as The Great Firewall, is necessary to protect national security.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are banned in the country; however, it does have its own alternatives.

Credit: PA

New rules, which come into effect 1 June, will mean Chinese Internet users will need to give their full, real names before looking at news online, Yahoo reports.

Taha Yasseri, from the Oxford Internet Institute, told the BBC: "The need for information in China makes people use Wikipedia through the usual anti-filtering tools, and this is far from ideal for an authoritarian state.

"This initiative is to attract more users towards the state-approved content."

Credit: PA

Last year, Yang said Wikipedia's appeal in China was 'bewitching', but added the country has the biggest 'most high-quality author team in the world', explaining the end goal wasn't to catch up to Wikipedia, but to overtake it.

The plan for the online encyclopaedia was given the OK by officials in 2011; however, work has only recently begun.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: China

Claire Reid
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