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China Lifts Blocks on Wikipedia

The Chinese government has long been cited for running the world’s most elaborate Internet censorship systems, monitoring both what its citizens do and say online as well as controlling what global Internet sites can be accessed from within China—and arresting Internet users and writer for actions it deems “disruptive” to the Chinese state.

However, it appears the Chinese government has lifted one long-standing ban: the Chinese language version of the self-evolving online encyclopedia Wikipedia now appears to be fully accessible within China.

Internet giants like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have been criticized for offering censored and redacted versions of their services to Chinese users, as well as for cooperating with Chinese authorities looking to crack down on dissident cyber-journalists and writers. The companies contend that they must comply with local laws in every nation in which they operate, and the more than 150 million Internet users in China is too large a market to ignore.

China typically bans sites carrying material deemed obscene or pornographic, as well as sites with information about the Falun Gong movement, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence, Taiwan and the Taiwanese government, as well as sites with information about democracy, police brutality, and freedom of speech. China notoriously blocks the Voice of America and BBC News.

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