Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wikipedia 1, China 0

China has demanded that Microsoft, Yahoo and Google all censor their web applications or be banned. All three software giants -- reluctantly in the case of Google, seemingly willingly in the other two cases -- complied.

China also demanded that Wikipedia censor itself for Chinese viewers. Wikipedia refused, and the powers-that-be in Beijing responded by blocking access to Wikipedia from within China.

Or rather, they tried to block access. But it seems that China needs Wikipedia more than Wikipedia needs China -- after barely a month, China has stopped blocking Wikipedia, instead concentrating on the cat-and-mouse game of trying to block only certain sensitive (that is, embarassing to the political leaders) pages, like those on Tiananmen Square.

China is desperate to catch up to the West, and that means accessing our knowledge banks, especially the Internet. If China can't afford to block Wikipedia, they certainly can't afford to block Google, Microsoft or Yahoo -- let alone all three. China is bluffing with a pair of twos, and unlike Wikipedia, the three software giants didn't have the cajones to call their bluff.

1 comment:

ChinaLawBlog said...

I think you are right.