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.

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Filed Under: china, observer, taiwan, wipo
Companies: wikimedia


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 Sep 2020 @ 1:35pm

    'You see nothing.'

    Gotta love china's obsession with the country, as if pretending that it simply doesn't exist will magically make that true, just a pity that they've apparently got WIPO on a short leash, with a tug all that's needed to bring them to heel.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2020 @ 2:52pm

      Re: 'You see nothing.'

      as if pretending that it simply doesn't exist will magically make that true

      "... like a miracle, it will just go away." is still believed by 30%+ of our population.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 25 Sep 2020 @ 4:15pm

      Re: 'You see nothing.'

      China is abit Stubborn.
      And REALLY likes getting its way.

      But they have left a Hole in their Armour.
      If everyone did something China didnt like, would get kicked from China, or China would Lock up anything thing about those countries.
      China would isolate themselves again.
      And all the manufacturing, would go someplace else. Or a real capitalist would Build something to take China's place and make a Huge fortune.
      I would love to test Ocean waters/and China rivers for pollution. Esp coming around the Southern corner from the rest of the Asia counties..

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

      • identicon
        Paul B, 25 Sep 2020 @ 6:42pm

        Re: Re: 'You see nothing.'

        For the US or Europe, your on to something, but China has both capital and political will to push its agenda any place it can.

        But don't ask me, ask the guys in Africa who took Chinese capital then got locked into no bid contracts for almost everything using Chinese labor.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2020 @ 11:42pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'You see nothing.'

          China has both capital and political will to push its agenda any place it can.

          And if people reject China? Apparently the only requirement to getting China to back off on it's own accord is to publicly announce association with Taiwan.

          Other countries should take note, if China wants to annex you or have you squarely under their thumb, they'll remove your seat from the international negotiations table, and attempt to penalize anyone that dares to acknowledge your existence. Say what you will about the US, but at least it pretends to let your grievances be voiced on the international stage.

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

          • icon
            ECA (profile), 26 Sep 2020 @ 1:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 'You see nothing.'

            And thats the rest of the key.
            Quit placating China.
            For all the things they do, and have done, they are Almost as bad as Japan in WWII. but the dates have changed.

            Get them to Acknowledge and DO' humanitarian rights, in the WHOLE country. or Be shut out of every other country in the world.

            A large part of all this Is the Hong kong area. Take and move everything out, Create a new one.

            Would be a great USA capitalist idea. As China is Pushing hard to be the NEW capitalist. And following the USA ideal, But with the Old idea of WHO is equal, Who to enslave.

            Anyone for taking over Liberia?? The People there would love us. Its MORE central location, and Shipping would make things eve Cheaper. Better winds to use Automated Shipping even.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 8:22am

      Re: 'You see nothing.'

      "...as if pretending that it simply doesn't exist will magically make that true..."

      That's not what they count on. As with so many other things we westerners find quirky and which comes from China it's all about the concept called face.

      Which is why every time Taiwan is invoked, China must respond. Anything else is viewed as China losing face to the "usurpers" next door.

      It doesn't help that Taiwan are just as stubborn, referring to themselves as "China" in the full knowledge that this will tick off absolutely everyone on mainland China who considers themselves Chinese.

      It's a battle for national identity which will eventually be solved either by Taiwan choosing to become the "Republic of Taiwan" and abandoning their claim on the name of Qin Hua (unlikely)...or by losing their independence and becoming a territory of the PRC the minute after the US drops its guard over the Taiwan strait (very plausible).

      And the latter, once unthinkable, isn't so much anymore. Should Trump manage to win next term, what could Xi Jin Ping offer him to make the Taiwanese the next Kurds?

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

  • icon
    Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 25 Sep 2020 @ 2:40pm

    What they're REALLY worried about…

    …is that people will eventually figure out that the
    Republic of China (Taiwan) is the real‌ ‌ legitimate
    Chinese Government in exile. ‌ Mainland China has
    been making do without lawful courts and military
    because both are wings of the Communist Party
    instead of legally established national institutions.

    ‌ ‌
    If the Communist Party collapses or is kicked out by
    the People the parties in Taiwan are the only genuine
    political parties of China. ‌ Taiwan's court system and
    military are the only ones legally established in China
    and predate the communists' rise to power in the '50s. ‌ ‌ ; ]

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2020 @ 2:53pm

      Re: What they're REALLY worried about…

      Chiang Kai-shek was as much a revolutionary as Mao Zedong, just with a different view as to how china should be ruled.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2020 @ 5:46pm

      Re: What they're REALLY worried about…

      Welllllllll... the Nationalists weren't a whole lot more involved in rule of law or anything like that, so...

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 12:59am

      Re: What they're REALLY worried about…

      "...that people will eventually figure out that the
      Republic of China (Taiwan) is the real‌ ‌ legitimate
      Chinese Government in exile."

      That's a slippery slope to go down. According to that argument Israel is an illegitimate occupying force in much of its territory, The USA is a malicious invader which ought to vacate the hunting grounds of the natives post haste, and half of northwestern france needs to get off it's ass and move back to Norway and Denmark.

      The PRC is legitimate because 1.4 billion chinese say it is. Today that's a fact.

      Taiwan's claim to be the chinese government-in-exile makes as much sense as a descendant of Henry Pu Yi trying to claim the imperial throne.

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

      • identicon
        billposer, 29 Sep 2020 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re: What they're REALLY worried about…

        I don't follow your argument that this would make Israel illegitimate - the Jews are the indigenous people.

        In any case, my point is that if one accepts the idea that there can only be one China, containing both Taiwan and the mainland, and that the only question is which of the two governments has the superior claim, then it is the government of Taiwan that has the superior claim since it is a democratic government whereas the government of the PRC is a dictatorship. Saying that the PRC is legitimate because 1.4 billion Chinese say it is is dubious since there are no real elections and people have been subjected to decades of propaganda and censorship and so are in a poor position to choose.

        Realistically, of course, Taiwan and the PRC are two countries, neither of which has a valid claim to rule the other.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 8:47am

          Re: Re: Re: What they're REALLY worried about…

          "I don't follow your argument that this would make Israel illegitimate - the Jews are the indigenous people."

          Depends on how far back you go. Pre or post diaspora?
          For that matter go back far enough and no one has a right to live on the land their ancestors settled on.

          "...if one accepts the idea that there can only be one China, containing both Taiwan and the mainland, and that the only question is which of the two governments has the superior claim, then it is the government of Taiwan that has the superior claim since it is a democratic government whereas the government of the PRC is a dictatorship."

          By THAT argument the legitimate ruler of the US is still King George. I'm not sure that's where we want to go with this.

          "...Saying that the PRC is legitimate because 1.4 billion Chinese say it is is dubious since there are no real elections and people have been subjected to decades of propaganda and censorship and so are in a poor position to choose."

          That is one hell of a patronizing position to take. The same situation held true for the USSR, the DDR, and any number of other dictatorships where the citizenry was obviously suffering. Looking at Chinese demographics today it's pretty obvious you can't draw that comparison. At least for the 90%+ ethnic Han Life Is Good, with world-class education, a burgeoning middle class, and a thriving marketplace.

          US numbers, meanwhile, have been slipping steadily into the toilet, and looking at the present state of western "leadership" we could, by now, cast similar doubt on americans being in a "poor position to choose". When a nation is pushing a 40% rate of people who actively reject science it's not a good pedestal to stand on and call out other nations over the state of their citizenry's education.

          If we go with democracy as having a lowest allowable education level or choice selection then the US is right now in as deep shit as China - or arguably worse.
          If we only assume that the citizens happiness with their current government is the determining factor then mainland China is in a very decent place to claim they are the proper inheritors of Hua Xia.

          "Realistically, of course, Taiwan and the PRC are two countries, neither of which has a valid claim to rule the other."

          ...and that's what it boils down to. And yet both of them still make that claim which is absurd from both counts. Mainland China has a very shaky claim on Taiwan being old chinese property as is, and Taiwan's claim on mainland China consists of being the government of a long-dissolved interim state.

          They should both just get over it, drop any pretense of owning the other side, and settle down for being just PRC and Taiwan.

          And yet neither side can bring themselves to do this, primarily because of face and national misguided pride. Sheesh.

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

  • icon
    GHB (profile), 25 Sep 2020 @ 2:42pm

    WTF?

    WIPO ALLOWS this? Like allows one country, to decide and control who can attend the observer status, as if China owns WIPO? This is very biased.

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

  • icon
    Bill Poser (profile), 26 Sep 2020 @ 12:25pm

    wipo standards

    WIPO is so undiscriminating that it has a terrorist organization, the "State of Palestine", as an observer.

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

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 28 Sep 2020 @ 8:32am

    "WIPO is so undiscriminating that it has a terrorist organization, the "State of Palestine", as an observer."

    It has a political organization as an observer. That political organization is now largely guided by the Hamas, but that's like saying Sinn Fein shouldn't have been allowed a voice in politics because of the IRA.

    The idea that there's one side of the israel-palestine conflict wearing the white hat died when Rabin was assassinated by an israeli ultraorthodox terrorist. It didn't get better when Avigdor Lieberman of all people, got a cabinet seat, or when Baruch Goldstein's grave became a pilgrimage site for israeli extremists.

    WIPO, in order to establish credibility, has assembled in it's ranks, anyone desperately in need for attention. It's a bit like GWB's "coalition of the willing" in the regard that it's trying to prop up a highly unpopular and self-serving endeavor with large quantities of nonentities.

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

  • identicon
    billposer, 29 Sep 2020 @ 6:23pm

    The "State of Palestine" is a political organization which is also a terrorist organization. It's also a dictatorship so has little legitimacy as a representative of the people.

    The fact that some Israelis have extreme views or have committed crimes hardly legitimates the Palestinian cause. The goal of the PLO and the "State of Palestine" is to take control of Israel by force and eliminate the Jewish population. Those are not legitimate goals, nor are the means that they currently use, consisting almost entirely of terrorism. Whatever the faults of Israelis or Israel may be, that makes the decision between the two contenders very clear.

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

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 8:56am

    "The fact that some Israelis have extreme views or have committed crimes..."

    Knesset members?

    We're not talking about a few benighted zealots when more than a few ultra-extremists have ended up in high government posts.

    "The goal of the PLO and the "State of Palestine" is to take control of Israel by force and eliminate the Jewish population."

    Avigdor Lieberman - at the time israeli foreign minister - is on record as calling for the use of nuclear bombs to eliminate, once and for all, the arab menace.

    Pot, meet Kettle.

    "Whatever the faults of Israelis or Israel may be, that makes the decision between the two contenders very clear."

    In the days of Rabin that would have been the case. Today, not so much. The only logical solution in my mind would be to get every israeli extremist and every palestinian extremist, pose the question "Could you live in peace under equitable treatment?" and anyone who answers "No" gets moved to some remote island and given an assault rifle and a bundle of grenades so they can deal with one another without disturbing the majority from both sides who'd really just live in peace.

    Meanwhile the main issue israel has here is that of credibility. Because Israel is notably lax to deal with it's own extremists it is now lacking the moral ground required to credibly deal with the palestinian issues.

    When Rabin realized this, opportunity opened. And because he realized this, an israeli fanatic murdered him. That should have been a wakeup call rather than a desperate atytempt to once again declare a clear and present menace to israelis from within as "just a few more zealots".

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


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