Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders

October 21, 2005 12:38 ET

RSF/CHINA: Online Encyclopedia Wikipedia Censored

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 21, 2005) -

The Internet Under Surveillance

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Chinese authorities to stop blocking accessing to the website of the independent online encyclopedia Wikipedia, whose popularity has been growing steadily in China. The site has been unavailable in several provinces including Shanghai since 18 October.

This latest online censorship paradoxically comes at a moment when China is openly raising the issue of democracy by publishing its first white paper entitled "The construction of political democracy in China" on 19 October.

The subjects tackled in the paper include human rights and grass-roots democracy in urban and rural areas, yet blocking the site of a free encyclopedia to which anyone can contribute is a clear violation of the right of Chinese citizens to information and it comes amid a series of new regulations adopted in recent months aimed at tightening controls on online free expression even more.

The authorities are censoring Wikipedia in the same way that they censor thousands of websites with information that strays from the official Chinese propaganda on certain issues as Tibet and human rights in China.

Internet users trying to visit the Wikipedia site since 18 October get an error message referring to temporary connection problems for unknown reasons. Wikipedia was previously blocked by the Chinese authorities in June and September 2004 because of dissident political content.

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

Contact Information

  • Reporters Without Borders
    Emily Jacquard
    (514) 521-4111 or (514) 258-4208 (cell)
    rsfcanada@rsf.org