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Wikipedia expects block to be lifted in China

Basic information, not propaganda

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, expects Chinese censors to eventually end their effort to block access to the online encyclopedia, according to the Wikipedia Signpost, an online newspaper put together by the Wikipedia community.

"Our position is that the block is in error, even given China's normal policies. Wikipedia is not propaganda, it is basic information. We expect that the block will be lifted," Wales said in an interview with the Wikipedia Signpost.

Members of the Wikipedia community in Beijing are leading efforts to get the block lifted, Wales said. He did not indicate when he expects that to happen.

Wikipedia has been blocked several times in China. Access to the site was first blocked by Chinese censors on 3 June 2004, the 15th anniversary of the 4 June 1989 crackdown on demonstrators in Beijing. Access to the site was restored roughly two weeks later before being blocked again for four days in September 2004, according to Wikipedia.

The current block has been in place since 19 October 2005, Wikipedia said.

China routinely blocks access to internet content that it deems unacceptable. Chinese officials rarely comment on those efforts, but last week officials held a rare press conference to defend China's right to regulate the content that is available to Chinese internet users.

"Overall, what we have done in regulating the internet is consistent with international practice," said Liu Zhengrong, deputy director general of the State Council Information Office's Internet Affairs Bureau, according to a transcript of the press conference.

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