China's New Online Encyclopedia Aims To Surpass Wikipedia, And To 'Guide And Lead' The Public

from the great-wall-of-culture dept

China has a long history of producing encyclopedias that goes back thousands of years. One of the most famous works is the fifteenth-century Yongle encyclopedia, which had over 15,000 volumes, and is still the largest paper-based general encyclopedia ever created. More recently, the main publication in this field was the Encyclopedia of China, whose first edition had 74 volumes. Later, CD-ROM and online versions were added. The third edition has just been announced, and although it is not quite on the scale of the Yongle encyclopedia, it is ambitious in its scope:

The third edition of the Chinese Encyclopaedia is currently China's largest publication project, with more than 20,000 authors from universities and research institutes contributing to articles in more than 100 disciplines.

Designed to be the nation's first digital book of "everything", it will feature more than 300,000 entries, each about 1,000 words long, making it twice as large as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and about the same size as the Chinese-language version of Wikipedia.

As the article in the South China Morning Post notes, access to Wikipedia is patchy in China. Most of the uncontroversial articles can be read, but searches for sensitive keywords such as "Dalai Lama" and even "Xi Jinping," have a habit of timing out. The new project is clearly designed to steer people towards safer opinions:

"The Chinese Encyclopaedia is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture," Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project and the chairman of the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China, told senior scientists at a meeting at the headquarters of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing on April 12, according to a report on the academy’s website the next day.

...

Yang told the meeting China was under international pressure and felt an urgent need to produce its own encyclopaedia to "guide and lead the public and society".

Speaking of Wikipedia, Yang went on:

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

China certainly has the resources to complete this huge project by 2018, its planned launch date. And once those 300,000 entries are available to "guide and lead the public," it's hard not to think that accessing the rival Wikipedia will be made so hard that most people will give up trying, and stick with the new Chinese Encyclopedia. At that point, the Chinese authorities will indeed have created a "Great Wall of culture" to complement that Great Firewall of China, both designed to keep out all those inconvenient ideas.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Champion, 8 May 2017 @ 6:49pm

    ummmm

    no

    won't happen with anyone outside china

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:21am

      Re: ummmm

      the same was said about China's economy, now everybody agrees it will surpass that of the USA before the end of 2017...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vel the Engimatic, 8 May 2017 @ 6:50pm

    Geez...

    -and people wonder why China is the new bogeyman of the modern age in terms of countries. They are literally trying to make a Chinese version of 1984 in their own country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bergman (profile), 8 May 2017 @ 6:51pm

    All you need to judge the accuracy of the new encyclopedia...

    Is to search it for the word "Taiwan."

    The PRC is a young nation founded by a pack of rebels, that considers Taiwan to be a rebellious province, not a separate nation.

    The thing is, the proper name for the nation of Taiwan is The Legitimate Chinese Government-in-exile. There are good reasons for the two to dislike the other, and that's the biggie.

    Taiwan is run by the descendants of the government bureaucrats that the PRC rebels failed to murder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:22am

      Re: All you need to judge the accuracy of the new encyclopedia...

      Yes, search for who killed JKF in wikipedia. Or about the USA-Vietnam war, loooool. You are ignorant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 8 May 2017 @ 7:33pm

    I wonder if they'll copyright it

    If not, after machine translation it will be a great source for Wikipedia improvements (on non-political topics, which is almost all of them).

    Thanks, Chinese taxpayers!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:24am

      Re: I wonder if they'll copyright it

      As if USA copyright works for anything. Nobody cares about USA intellectual properties, loooool, You are welcome.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2017 @ 7:43pm

    A Great Wall of culture? More like a Great Wall on culture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2017 @ 8:35pm

    'Guide And Lead' The Public

    I wonder what this means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2017 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      First, they attach the 'guide' (ring) to a convenient body part and then attach the 'lead' (chain) thus giving them a convenient method of directing one's attention to the duly approved culture.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      It means guide and lead as in remember your american propaganda machine i mean media industry leading you into the war on Iraq (with fake evidence of non existent WMDs)????? Remember that? That kind of leading. Agree?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 8 May 2017 @ 8:43pm

    A question that is perhaps off topic. Or squarely on topic.

    How many projects on Github use the phrase "aims to", and are abandoned a few months later?

    My observation, dating back at least 15 years to when sourceforge pioneered site-based community building and collaboration, is that "aims to" is highly correlated to getting 20% completed and then SQUIRREL!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    grace halim (profile), 8 May 2017 @ 9:03pm

    VBANDAR Agen Remi9 Judi Sakong Bandar Poker Online Indonesia Terpercaya

    i wonder what what china can achieve after 10 years from now

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Priyanka Roy, 8 May 2017 @ 10:46pm

    This blog is really nice and the article is very good and usefull

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2017 @ 6:34am

    guide : carrot : : lead : stick

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      yours truly,
      the American Government

      (remember all those fake evidence on the non existent WMDs in Iraq that lead to the USA invasion over Iraq? how is that for a carrot or a stick, whatever works for you?)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2017 @ 9:04am

    Unreliable sources: all Western news outlets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2017 @ 9:49am

    How do they block the articles?

    As the article in the South China Morning Post notes, access to Wikipedia is patchy in China. Most of the uncontroversial articles can be read, but searches for sensitive keywords such as "Dalai Lama" and even "Xi Jinping," have a habit of timing out.

    Everything on Wikipedia has been SSL-protected for several years now, so how do they know which articles people are reading? Some kind of traffic analysis?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence, 13 May 2017 @ 7:48pm

    China Encyclopedia and Wikipedia

    I think is very difficult to compete with wikipedia. Googlés Knol tried it and failed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:27am

      Re: China Encyclopedia and Wikipedia

      Google < China

      It is even harder to compete with USA economy, yet Chinese economy will surpass that of USA soon. It is a fact.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:26am

    Complete bullshite. The real wall on culture is COPYRIGHT.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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