China is known for many things, including its policy of internet censorship that prevents people in its mainland from accessing websites that are considered objectionable by the government and the creation of parallel services. Some of the websites that have been blocked include Google and most of its associated services, Yahoo, social media giants such as Facebook (and its associated apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram) and Twitter, to mention a few. Notably, most of the blocked websites have their Chinese equivalents such Weibo, which mimics Twitter and WeChat that takes WhatsApp’s place.
The latest onslaught on parallel programs takes on Wikipedia, and the Chinese replica should be online by 2018. At the moment, the country has sourced 20,000 of scholars from universities and research institutions who have embarked on working on the project, which has already been approved by the Chinese State Council.
Principally, the Chinese Encyclopedia project aims to be full-featured with more than 300,000 entries, each with 1000 or more words. Upon completion, the Wikipedia-esque online resource will be twice as large as Encyclopedia Britannica.
Contrary to Wikipedia’s openness where users are welcome to edit entry information, the Chinese Encyclopedia will only be edited by appointed scholars. This raises credibility issues, which should not come as a surprise owing to the country’s measures in regulating what kind of information is accessible to people.
Fueled by the need to have its own online encyclopedia, the project aims to surpass Wikipedia’s robustness in terms of science and technology, cultural heritage as well as the promotion of socialism values.