China Blocks Wikimedia From WIPO… Because There's A Taiwanese Wikimedia Chapter
from the petty dept
The World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, who has a long history of poor decision making despite its crucial role in helping to define standards regarding copyright and patent rules around the globe, is now letting China block Wikimedia from having “observer status.” As Tersa Nobre from Communia notes, tons of civil society/public interest orgs have been granted observer status at WIPO, including EFF, Creative Commons and others. In fact, the only other time anyone can remember an organization being blocked is when Pirate Parties International was blocked. Indeed, when we wrote about that, we noted that it coincided with WIPO granting observer status to an organization that claimed its goal was to “free individuals and organizations from space lizards’ control.” Really.
In other words, it’s not that common for WIPO to block anyone from observer status.
So why was Wikimedia blocked? The answer is that China doesn’t like the fact that Wikimedia Taiwan exists.
China was the only country to raise objections to the accreditation of the Wikimedia Foundation as an official observer. Their last-minute objections claimed Wikimedia?s application was incomplete, and suggested that the Wikimedia Foundation was carrying out political activities via the volunteer-led Wikimedia Taiwan chapter. The United Kingdom and the United States voiced support for the Foundation?s application.
This is just petty assholery by the Chinese government and its infatuation with denying Taiwan’s independent existence. Again, the Wikimedia Taiwanese chapter is an effort by volunteers in Taiwan. And, so what? How is that chapter going to have any impact whatsoever on Wikimedia’s observer status at WIPO? Does China really believe that because there’s a volunteer effort to support Wikimedia in Taiwan, it’s somehow impossible for Wikimedia to be an observer at WIPO?
If China is legitimately arguing that no one should be able to engage in any international organization if they have some loose connection to Taiwan, they’re going to find that not many organizations are able to participate. There is no legitimate reason for China to do this, and all it does is call that much more attention to China’s obsessive attitude over the existence of an independent Taiwan.