China To Launch Wikipedia Rival Next Year

Posted: May 3 2017, 1:49pm CDT | by , Updated: May 3 2017, 1:58pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
China to Launch Wikipedia Rival Next Year
Photo Credit: Getty Images

So far more than 20,000 scholars and academics have been recruited to compile more than 30,000 entries

China is about to launch its own version of Wikipedia to compete with the popular free encyclopedia.

The project will involve more than 20,000 scholars and academics from Chinese institutes. The aim is to complete more than 300,000 enters by its launch in 2018. Each entry will consist of about 1,000 words. But unlike Wikipedia, the Chinese version will not allow volunteers to edit and change the information of any entry.

China hopes that the encyclopedia will be the new dependable source for country’s internet users. According to estimates, more than 700 million people use internet in China.

While Wikipedia is available in China but officials fear that it may not represent true Chinese ideology and is being corrupted by foreign influences. Therefore, they have blocked some of the content, especially related to political issues. All the Wikipedia material has to go through various forms of web censorship - collectively known as "The Great Firewall” before being accessible to public.

With their own encyclopedia, China is hoping to build a “cultural Great Wall” which will serve as a guide for public. Many experts, on the other hand, suspect that it is an attempt of Chinese government to depict its own version of history of events and to manipulate information for reshaping public opinion in their own favor.

It is not the first time that China is creating its own encyclopedia. This new project will be the third edition and by far the largest of the all. The first edition was launched in 1993, in paper form, while the second one was released in 2012. The newest edition will be first released online before being published in documented form.

The project, approved in 2011, will be overseen by state-owned China Publishing Group. It will be twice as large as Britain’s Encyclopaedia Britannica and almost equal to the Chinese-language version of Wikipedia.

Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project and the chairman of the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China has already criticized the concept of Wikipedia in an article.

“The readers regarded it to be authoritative, accurate, and it branded itself as a ‘free encyclopaedia that anyone can edit’, which is quite bewitching,” said Muzhi. “But we have the biggest, most high-quality author team in the world ... our goal is not to catch up, but overtake.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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