Students of Enlightenment history will recall that one of the founding documents of the Enlightenment was Denis Diderot’s [i:6d84f06f27]Encyclopedia[/i:6d84f06f27]. Considered subversive in its day for attempting to open up the full range of human knowledge to the broadest possible audience, the encyclopedia project was repeatedly blocked by political and religious authorities.
Now we’re in the 21st century, and there was an interesting article out yesterday on this very same topic.
I will quote the first few sentences of the article here:
[b:6d84f06f27]No end in sight for Wikipedia block in China[/b:6d84f06f27]
By John Ruwitch
Thu Sep 14, 9:45 PM ET
Shi Zhao slides the computer mouse, making rapid-fire clicks and in the space of a minute or so finds about a dozen minor errors to be tweaked on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
"There’s really nothing to it," the 33-year-old Beijinger said with a grin after fellow ‘Wikipedians’ at a conference in Hong Kong goaded him into an impromptu demonstration of how he became king of edits on the Chinese-language edition.
Since he discovered Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.org) four years ago, Shi has become something of a celebrity in the community, having made some 70,000 edits, averaging nearly 50 a day.
Shi’s feat is even greater given that technically, he should not have access to the site. Last October, the Chinese government blocked access to Wikipedia, which has more than 5 million articles in 229 languages.
In a sense, the fate of the massively popular Web site is nothing new. The ruling Communist Party routinely denies access to sites it deems subversive and filters Internet pages for sensitive words.
But experts believe the block highlights a head-on clash between what Wikipedia stands for—free knowledge created by the people—and the Party’s obsessive control over the production and flow of information.
The enlightenment project goes on, and political efforts to stop it do as well ...