Chinese Wikipedia

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The Chinese Wikipedia is the Chinese language edition of Wikipedia, run by the Wikimedia Foundation. Started in October 2002, the Chinese Wikipedia has, as of November 2006, over 100,000 articles.

Contents

[edit] Naming

Image:Chinese Wikipedia's Main Page screenshot.png
The Chinese name of Wikipedia is shown on the main page.

The Chinese name of Wikipedia was decided on October 21, 2003, following a vote. The name (Traditional Chinese: 維基百科; Simplified Chinese: 维基百科 "wéi jī bǎi kē") means "Wiki Encyclopedia". The Chinese transcription of "Wiki" is composed of two characters: 維/维, whose ancient sense refers to ropes or webs connecting objects, and alludes to the Internet; and 基, meaning the foundations of a building, or fundamental aspects of things in general. So the name can be interpreted as the encyclopedia that connects the fundamental knowledge of humanity.

The most common Chinese translation for wiki technology, however, is not 維基 / 维基; it tends to be 維客 / 维客 or 圍紀 / 围纪, which are also transcriptions of the word "wiki". As a result, the term 維基 / 维基 has become associated exclusively with Wikimedia projects.[1]

The Chinese Wikipedia also has a subtitle: 海納百川,有容乃大 / 海纳百川,有容乃大. It means, "The sea encompasses a hundred rivers; it has capacity [i.e. is willing to accept all] and is thus great." The subtitle is the first half of a couplet composed by Qing Dynasty official Lin Zexu.

[edit] Community

The Chinese Wikipedia encompasses participants from a variety of backgrounds. According to statistics from March 2005, 46% of users connect from Mainland China, 22% from North America, 12% from Taiwan, 9% from Hong Kong, 3% from Japan, 3% from Europe, 2% from Southeast Asia, and 3% from other regions. Just as the English Wikipedia tends to be more detailed in western-related topics, the Chinese Wikipedia has very detailed descriptions of China-related topics. Within that region, the Chinese Wikipedia tends to be more detailed in topics about Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the wealthy east coast provinces of mainland China, reflecting the economic disparity in that part of the world.

Also due to the geographical origin of its participants, the most discussed and debated topics on the Chinese Wikipedia are those related to Taiwanese independence, Falun Gong, the Tiananmen Protests of 1989, and so forth; the five most edited articles, as of July 2006, are Mao Zedong, China, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, and Chiang Kai-shek, in that order. In contrast, issues such as the Israel-Palestinian conflict are much less contentious. In order to avoid systemic bias, one of the cornerstones of the Chinese Wikipedia (along with neutral point-of-view) is avoiding sinocentrism. Editors are advised to avoid writing from the point-of-view of China or any other country/region; to avoid using terms such as 我国/我國 ("our country"; referring to the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China, depending on viewpoint), 本港 ("this port"; referring to Hong Kong), or 本澳 ("this Macao", referring to Macao); and to refer to locations in the Chinese-speaking sphere or periods in Chinese history by explicitly stating China (e.g. "Yunnan province, China", instead of just "Yunnan province".)

There are 82 sysops on the Chinese Wikipedia as of November 2006: 29 living in mainland China, 16 in Taiwan, 11 in Hong Kong, 9 in the United States, 5 in Canada, 3 in Macau, 3 in the United Kingdom, 1 in Australia, 1 in France, 1 in Germany, 1 in Japan, 1 in Korea, and 1 unspecified.

The first Chinese Wikipedian meetup was held in Beijing on July 25, 2004. Since then, Chinese Wikipedians from different regions have held many gatherings in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In particular, a semi-regular meetup has been held in Taipei every one to three weeks since April 2006. In July 2006, Taiwanese Wikipedians also held a "travelling meetup", travelling by train through four Taiwanese cities over a period of two days. In August 2006, Hong Kong hosted the first annual Chinese Wikimedia Conference.

[edit] Automatic conversion between Traditional and Simplified Chinese

[edit] Original situation

At the beginning there were virtually two Chinese Wikipedias under the names of "zh-cn" and "zh-tw". Generally, users from regions that used Traditional Chinese (such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau) wrote and edited articles using Traditional Chinese characters while those from regions that used Simplified Chinese (such as mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia) wrote using Simplified Chinese characters. Many articles had two uncoordinated versions; for example, there was both a Traditional (法國) and Simplified (法国) article on France. Further exacerbating the problem, due to the lack of communication and separate systems, many proper names are quite different in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. For instance, a computer printer is called 打印机 in mainland China and 印表機 in Taiwan.

[edit] Solution

To avoid this near-forking of the project, starting around January 2005, the Chinese Wikipedia began providing a server-side mechanism to automatically convert different characters and proper names into the user's local ones, according to the user's preference settings, which may be set to one of four regional variants:

Conversion is done through a set of character conversion tables that may be edited by administrators. Through special wiki markup syntax, editors may override the conversion tables for specific sections of text within articles.

Furthermore, page title conversion is used for automatic page redirection. Those articles previously named in different characters or different translations have been merged, and can be reached by means of both Traditional and Simplified Chinese titles.

Baidu Baike (see below) only supports the Simplified characters of mainland China.

[edit] History

The Chinese Wikipedia was established along with 12 other Wikipedias in May 2001. At the beginning, however, the Chinese Wikipedia did not support Chinese characters, and had no encyclopedic content.

It was in October 2002 that Ghyll (now zh:User:Mountain) wrote the first Chinese-language page, the Main Page. Mountain is also the first registered user of the Chinese Wikipedia. A software update on October 27, 2002 allowed Chinese language input. The domain was set to be zh.wikipedia.org. On November 17, 2002, Mountain translated the Computer science article into zh:计算机科学, thus creating the first real encyclopedic article.

In its early days, most articles on the Chinese Wikipedia were translated from English. The first five sysops: zh:User:Samuel, zh:User:Menchi, zh:User:Lorenzarius, zh:User:Formulax, and zh:User:Shizhao, were promoted on June 14, 2003. Since then, Shizhao in particular has performed many maintenance tasks, and was also instrumental in removing the first blocking of Wikipedia in mainland China in June 2004.

Wikipedia was first introduced by mainland China media in the newspaper China Computer Education (中国电脑教育报) on October 20, 2003, in the article, "I, too, shall write an encyclopedia" (我也来写百科全书). On May 16, 2004, Wikipedia was first reported by Taiwanese media in the newspaper China Times. Since then, many newspapers have published articles about Wikipedia, and several sysops have been interviewed by journalists.

[edit] Blocking of Wikipedia

Main article: Blocking of Wikipedia in mainland China

The People's Republic of China and internet service providers in Mainland China have adopted a practice of blocking contentious Internet sites in mainland China, and Wikimedia sites have been blocked at least three times in its history. The first block lasted between June 2 and June 21, 2004. It began when access to the Chinese Wikipedia from Beijing was blocked on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Possibly related to this, on May 31 an article from the IDG News Service was published [2], discussing the Chinese Wikipedia's treatment of the protests. The Chinese Wikipedia also has articles related to Taiwanese independence, written by contributors from Taiwan and elsewhere. A few days after the initial block of Chinese Wikipedia, all Wikimedia sites were blocked in Mainland China. In response to the blocks, two sysops prepared an appeal to lift the block and asked their regional internet service provider to submit it. All Wikimedia sites were unblocked between June 17 and June 21, 2004.

The first block had an effect on the vitality of Chinese Wikipedia, which suffered sharp dips in various indicators such as the number of new users, the number of new articles, and the number of edits. In some cases, it took anywhere from 6 to 12 months in order to regain the stats from May 2004.

The second and less serious outage lasted between September 23 and September 27, 2004. During this 4-day period, access to Wikipedia was erratic or unavailable to some users in mainland China — this block was not comprehensive and some users in mainland China were never affected. The exact reason for the block is a mystery. Chinese Wikipedians once again prepared a written appeal to regional ISPs, but the block was lifted before the appeal was actually sent out; the reasons of which are, once again, a mystery.

The third block began on October 19, 2005, and once again there is no indication as to whether this block is temporary or permanent, or what the reasons or causes for this block are. According to the status page currently maintained on the Chinese Wikipedia, the Florida and Korea servers are blocked, while the Paris and Amsterdam servers are not. Dozens of editors from across Mainland China have reported that they can only access Wikipedia using proxy servers, although there are isolated reports that some users can access Wikipedia without using proxy.

On October 10, 2006, multiple Chinese Wikipedia users began reporting that the latest block had been lifted, and that access to Wikipedia had been restored.<ref>Editor and Publisher; China Unblocks Wikipedia [3]</ref> The English-language version is now entirely accessible, including sensitive content normally censored in China, but the Chinese-language version is still blocked. <ref>IFEX: Government unblocks access to Wikipedia's English-language version [4]</ref>

[edit] Baidu Baike

The online Chinese search engine Baidu has created an online encyclopedia that registered users can edit, pending administrator reviews, entitled "Baidu Baike". The encyclopedia, created on April 20, 2006, soon surpassed the number of entries of the Chinese Wikipedia. References to the words "Falun Gong," "Tiananmen Square protests," and "democracy" are removed.

[edit] Notes

<references />

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


Editions of Wikipedia with over 100,000 articles
English en: - German de: - French fr: - Polish pl: - Japanese ja: - Dutch nl: - Italian it: - Portuguese pt: - Swedish sv: - Spanish es: - Russian ru: - Chinese zh:
es:Wikipedia en chino

ja:中国語版ウィキペディア pl:Chińska Wikipedia ru:Китайская Википедия zh-yue:中文維基百科 zh:中文维基百科

Chinese Wikipedia

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