The Chinese (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhōngwén Wéijī Bǎikē) is the (Standard) Chinese language edition of Wikipedia. It is run by the Wikimedia Foundation. Started on 11 May 2001,[1] the Chinese currently has about 1,001,000 articles and about 2,502,000 registered users, of which 79 have administrative privileges. The Chinese has been blocked in China since May 2015. [2]

The Chinese is the fourth largest online Chinese encyclopedia after Hudong Baike (互动百科), Baidu Baike (百度百科) and Soso Baike (搜搜百科).[citation needed]


The Chinese was established along with 12 others in May 2001. At the beginning, however, the Chinese did not support Chinese characters, and had no encyclopedic content.

In October 2002, the first Chinese-language page was written, the Main Page. A software update on 27 October 2002 allowed Chinese language input. The domain was set to be zh.wikipedia.org, with zh based on the ISO code for the Chinese language. On 17 November 2002, the user Mountain translated the Computer science article into zh:计算机科学, thus creating its first real encyclopedic article.

In order to accommodate the orthographic differences between simplified Chinese characters and traditional Chinese characters (or Orthodox Chinese), from 2002 to 2003, the Chinese community gradually decided to combine the two originally separate versions of the Chinese. The first running automatic conversion between the two orthographic representations started on 23 December 2004, with the MediaWiki 1.4 release. The needs from Hong Kong and Singapore were taken into account in the MediaWiki 1.4.2 release, which made the conversion table for zh-sg default to zh-cn, and zh-hk default to zh-tw.[3]

In its early days, most articles on the Chinese were translated from the English version. The first five sysops, or administrators, were promoted on 14 June 2003.

was first introduced by the mainland Chinese media[citation needed] in the newspaper China Computer Education on October 20, 2003, in the article, "I join to write an encyclopedia" (我也来写百科全书).[4] On May 16, 2004, was first reported by Taiwanese media in the newspaper China Times. Since then, many newspapers have published articles about the Chinese, and several sysops have been interviewed by journalists.

Ivan Zhai of the South China Morning Post wrote that the blocks from the Mainland authorities in the 2000s stifled the growth of the Chinese, and that by 2013 there was a new generation of users originating from the Mainland who were taking efforts to make the Chinese grow. In 2013, there were 1.4 million registered users on the Chinese, and in July 2013 7,500 of these users were active, with most of them originating from Hong Kong and Taiwan. 715,000 entries for the Chinese, making it the 12th largest.[5]


The Chinese name of was decided on 21 October 2003, following a vote. The name (simplified Chinese: 维基百科; traditional Chinese: 維基百科; pinyin: Wéijī Bǎikē) means "Wiki Encyclopedia". The Chinese transcription of "Wiki" is composed of two characters: 維/维, whose ancient sense refers to 'ropes or webs connecting objects', and alludes to the 'Internet'; and 基, meaning the 'foundations of a building', or 'fundamental aspects of things in general'. The name can be interpreted as 'the encyclopedia that connects the fundamental knowledge of humanity'.

The most common Chinese translation for wiki technology is 維基/维基; however, it can be 維客/维客 (literally "dimension visitor" or similar) or 圍紀/围纪 (literally "circle/enclose period/record" or similar), which are also transcriptions of the word "wiki". As a result, the term 維基/维基 has become associated exclusively with Wikimedia projects.[6]

The Chinese also has a subtitle: 海納百川,有容乃大/海纳百川,有容乃大. It means, "The sea encompasses a hundred rivers; it has capacity i.e. is willing to accept all and is thus great." The subtitle is the first half of a couplet composed by the Qing Dynasty official Lin Zexu.


Page view statistics as of July 2012

In April 2016, the project had 2127 active editors who made at least five edits in that month.

Chinese contributors come from a variety of backgrounds. Just as English tends to be more detailed in western-related topics, the Chinese has very detailed descriptions of China-related topics. Within that region, the Chinese tends to be more detailed in topics about Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the wealthy east coast provinces of mainland China.[citation needed]

Also due to the geographical origin of its participants, the most discussed and debated topics on the Chinese are political issues about Chinese modern period history. For example, the six most edited articles as of August 2007 were Taiwan, Chinese culture, China, Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek, and Hong Kong, in that order. In contrast, issues such as the Israel-Palestinian conflict are much less contentious.[citation needed]

Due to the audience base,ns from Mainland, Taiwan, and other areas had engaged in editing conflicts over political topics related to Cross-Straits relations.[7]


As of August 2014, there are 83 administrators, or sysops. They are all elected by Chinesens. Most of them come from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are also a few who come from the United States, Singapore, and Japan.


2013 Winter-Break-Meetup, Dalian, Liaoning, China.

The first Chinesen meeting was held in Beijing on July 25, 2004. Since then, Chinesens from different regions have held many gatherings in Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Shenyang, Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Currently, a regular meetup is held once every two weeks in Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong, and once every month in Tainan City, Taiwan. In July 2006, Taiwanesens also held a "travelling meetup", travelling by train through four Taiwanese cities over a period of two days. In August 2006, Hong Kong hosted the first annual Chinese Wikimedia Conference.

Chinesens advertise in different ways. Many of them use weibo, a Chinese socializing website similar to Twitter. Several Chinesens created the monthly magazine, or journal, called "Thens" in December 2012, which is currently published once a month.

Systemic bias

In order to avoid systemic bias, editors are advised to avoid writing from the point of view of China or any other country/region; to avoid using terms such as 我国/我國 ("our country"; referring to the People's Republic of China or the Republic of China, depending on viewpoint), 本港 ("this port"; referring to Hong Kong), or 本澳 ("this Macau", referring to Macau); and instead, to refer to locations in the Chinese-speaking sphere or periods in Chinese history by explicitly stating China (e.g. "Yunnan province, China", instead of just "Yunnan province").

Automatic conversion between traditional and simplified Chinese characters

Original situation

Originally, there were virtually two Chineses under the names of "zh" (or "zh-cn") and "zh-tw". Generally, users from regions that used Traditional Chinese characters (such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau) wrote and edited articles using Traditional Chinese characters whereas those from regions that used Simplified Chinese characters (such as mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia) wrote using Simplified Chinese characters. Many articles had two uncoordinated versions; for example, there was both a Traditional (法國) and Simplified (法国) article on France. Further exacerbating the problem were differences in vocabulary (particularly nouns) and writing systems, between mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore that developed through their relative lack of communications during much of the 20th century[citation needed]. For example, a computer printer is called 打印机 in mainland China, but 印表機 in Taiwan.


To avoid this near-forking of the project, starting around January 2005, the Chinese began providing a server-side mechanism to automatically convert different characters and vocabulary items into the user's local ones, according to the user's preference settings, which may be set to one of two settings that convert the script only, or one of five settings that also take into account regional vocabulary differences:

Variant's name Chinese name iso Effect
Simplified 简体 zh-Hans
Traditional 繁體 zh-Hant
Simplified and using Mainland Chinese terms 大陆简体 zh-CN
Traditional and using Taiwanese terms 台灣正體 zh-TW
Simplified and using Singaporean and Malaysian terms 马新简体 zh-SG
Traditional and using Hong Kong terms 香港繁體 zh-HK
Traditional and using Macau terms 澳門繁體 zh-MO
NB: the user can also choose to read each article in whichever script it is stored in, without conversion
For more information, see :

meta:Automatic conversion between simplified and traditional Chinese.

Conversion is done through a set of character conversion tables that may be edited by administrators. To provide an alternative means to harmonize the characters when the server-side converters fail to work properly, a special template was created to manually convert characters and article titles in one specific page.

Furthermore, page title conversion is used for automatic page redirection. Those articles previously named in different characters or different translations have been merged, and can be reached by means of both Traditional and Simplified Chinese titles.

Differences with other versions of

According to a survey conducted between April 2010 and March 2011, edits to the Chinese were 37.8% from Taiwan, 26.2% from Hong Kong, 17.7% from Mainland China, 6.1% from United States and 2.3% from Canada.[8]

Many editing controversies arise from current and historical political events in Chinese-speaking regions, such as the political status of Taiwan, independent movement and autonomy movement of Hong Kong, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, issues of the Communist Party of China and Kuomintang.[citation needed]

Speedy deletion works in a similar way to the policy on the English, but proposed deletion is unavailable.

Wikipedias in other varieties of Chinese

The countries in which the Chinese is the most popular language version of are shown in blue. Other countries are shown in yellow.[9]
Chinese Page view ratio by country between March, 2012 to February, 2013.

The Chinese is based on written vernacular Chinese, the official Chinese written language in all Chinese-speaking regions, including mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore. This register is largely associated with the grammar and vocabulary of Standard Chinese, the official spoken language of mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore (but not exclusively of Hong Kong and Macau, which largely use Cantonese).

The varieties of Chinese are a diverse group encompassing many regional varieties, most of which are mutually unintelligible and often divided up into several larger dialect groups, such as Wu (including Shanghainese and Suzhounese), Min Nan (of which Taiwanese is a notable dialect), and Cantonese. In regions that speak non-Mandarin languages or regional Mandarin dialects, the Vernacular Chinese standard largely corresponding to Standard Chinese is nevertheless used exclusively as the Chinese written standard; this written standard differs sharply from the local dialects in vocabulary and grammar, and is often read in local pronunciation but preserving the vocabulary and grammar of Standard Chinese. After the founding of, many users of non-Mandarin Chinese varieties began to ask for the right to have editions in non-Mandarin varieties as well. However, they also met with significant opposition, based on the fact that Mandarin-based Vernacular Chinese is the only form used in scholarly or academic contexts. Some also proposed the implementation of an automatic conversion program similar to that between Simplified and Traditional Chinese; however, others pointed out that although conversion between Simplified and Traditional Chinese consists mainly of glyph and sometimes vocabulary substitutions, different regional varieties of Chinese differ so sharply in grammar, syntax, and semantics that it was unrealistic to implement an automatic conversion program.

Objections notwithstanding, it was determined that these Chinese varieties were sufficiently different from Standard Chinese and had a sufficiently large number of followers to justify the creation of sixs for different varieties.

Edition name WP code Variety Writing system
Cantonese zh-yue: Yue, using Cantonese (i.e. the Guangzhou/Hong Kong/Macau dialect) as its standard. Traditional and Simplified
Minnan zh-min-nan: Southern Min, using Taiwanese as its standard. Latin (Pe̍h-ōe-jī) and
Mindong cdo: Eastern Min, using Fuzhounese as its standard. Latin (Bàng-uâ-cê) and Traditional[10]
Wu wuu: Wu, using the Shanghainese, Suzhounese and classical literary Wu as its standards. Simplified
Hakka hak: Hakka, using the Siyen dialect as its standard. Latin (Pha̍k-fa-sṳ) and
Gan gan: Gan, using the Nanchang dialect as its standard. Traditional and Simplified

Finally, requests were also made, and granted, to create a Classical Chinese (zh-classical:), based on Classical Chinese, an archaic register of Chinese with grammar and vocabulary drawn from classical works and used in all official contexts until the early 20th century, when it was displaced by the Vernacular Chinese standard.

All of the aboves have sidestepped the Traditional/Simplified Chinese issue. The Wu uses Simplified Chinese exclusively, and the Classical Chinese uses Traditional Chinese exclusively (The Gan and Cantoneses default to Traditional, but have a conversion function similar to the Chinese). The Min Nan uses Pe̍h-ōe-jī. The Mindong and Hakkas currently use Bàng-uâ-cê and Pha̍k-fa-sṳ respectively, which can be converted to Traditional Chinese characters, thus avoiding the issue completely.

Blocking of

The People's Republic of China and internet service providers in Mainland China have adopted a practice of blocking contentious Internet sites in mainland China, and Wikimedia sites have been blocked at least three times in its history.[12]

On May 19, 2015, Chinese was blocked again within mainland China.[13]

First block

The first block lasted from June 2-June 21, 2004. It began when access to the Chinese from Beijing was blocked ahead the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Possibly related to this, on May 31 an article from the IDG News Service was published,[14] discussing the Chinese's treatment of the protests. The Chinese also has articles related to Taiwan independence, written by contributors from Taiwan and elsewhere. A few days after the initial block of the Chinese, all Wikimedia Foundation sites were blocked in mainland China. In response to the blocks, two moderators prepared an appeal to lift the block and asked their regional internet service provider to submit it. All Wikimedia sites were unblocked between June 17 and June 21, 2004. One month later, the first Chinesen moderators' meeting was held in Beijing on July 25, 2004.

The first block had an effect on the vitality of the Chinese, which suffered sharp dips in various indicators, such as the number of new users, the number of new articles, and the number of edits. In some cases, it took anywhere from 6 to 12 months in order to regain the stats from May 2004. On the other hand, on today's site, some of the articles are put under protection which may last for a month or more without any actions.

Second block

The second and less serious outage lasted between September 23 and September 27, 2004. During this 4-day period, access to was erratic or unavailable to some users in mainland China — this block was not comprehensive and some users in mainland China were never affected. The exact reason for the block is a mystery. Chinesens once again prepared a written appeal to regional ISPs, but the block was lifted before the appeal was actually sent, for an unknown reason.

Third block and temporary unblocks

The third block began on October 19, 2005, and there was no indication as to whether this block was temporary or permanent, or what the reasons or causes for this block were. According to the status page currently maintained on the Chinese, the Florida and Korea servers were blocked, whereas the Paris and Amsterdam servers were not. Dozens of editors from across mainland China reported that they could only access using proxy servers, although there were isolated reports that some users could access without using a proxy. Most Chinese people were not able to connect to the site at all.

During October and November 2006, it first appeared that the site was unblocked again. Many conflicting reports came from news outlets, bloggers, andns, reporting a possible partial or full unblocking of. Some reports indicated a complete unblock; others suggested that some sensitive topics remained blocked, and yet others suggested that the Chinese was blocked whereas other-language versions were not. From November 17 onwards, the complete block was once again in place.

On June 15, 2007, China lifted the block for several articles, only to then block an increasing number of articles. On 30 August 2007, all blocks were lifted, but then a block was placed on for all languages on 31 August 2007.[12] As of 26 January 2008, all languages of were blocked,[12] and as of 2 April 2008, the block was lifted.[15]

By 5 April 2008, the Chinese became difficult to access from the Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou. Connections to the Chinese were completely blocked as of April 6, 2008. Any attempt to access the Chinese resulted in a 60-second ban on all Wikimedia websites. However, users were able to log on to the Chinese using https. All other languages were accessible, but politically sensitive searches such as Tibet were still blocked.

On 3 July 2008, the government lifted the ban on accessing the Chinese. However, some parts were still inaccessible. On July 31, 2008, BBC reported that the Chinese had been unblocked that day in China; it had still been blocked the previous day. This came within the context of foreign journalists arriving in Beijing to report on the upcoming Olympic Games, and websites like the Chinese edition of the BBC were being unblocked following talks between the International Olympic Committee and the Games' Chinese organizers.[16]

Fourth block

Since May 19, alls rely on direct to HTTP to HTTPS link, because Chinese censors cannot see what page a individual is viewing and make it more difficult to block a special specific of pages (such as Ai Weiwei). As a result, both the encrypted and unencrypted Chinese-language versions of were blocked.[17]

Self-censorship allegations

In December 2006, the International Herald Tribune Asia-Pacific[18] published an article saying that sensitive topics got subdued treatment on the Chinese.

But on sensitive questions of China's modern history or on hot-button issues, the Chinese version diverges so dramatically from its English counterpart that it sometimes reads as if it were approved by the censors themselves.

For some, the Chinese version of was intended as just such a resource, but its tame approach to sensitive topics has sparked a fierce debate in the world of online mavens over its objectivity and thoroughness.

On the evidence of entries like this, for the moment, the fight over editorial direction of in Chinese is being won by enthusiasts who practice self-censorship.

On December 1, 2006, The New York Times published another report by Howard W. French, titled "lays bare two versions of China's past."

Some say the object should be to spread reliable information as widely as possible, and that, in any case, self-censorship is pointless because the government still frequently blocks access to for most Chinese Internet users. 'There is a lot of confusion about whether they should obey the neutral point of view or offer some compromises to the government,' said Isaac Mao, a well-known Chinese blogger and user of the encyclopedia. 'To the localns, the first objective is to make it well known among Chinese, to get people to understand the principles of step by step, and not to get the thing blocked by the government.

The report was subsequently repeated by CBS[19] and by Chinese-language media outlets such as the Apple Daily in Taiwan.

Some Chinesens then tried to clarify the situation. One Chinesen sent a comment that was subsequently published in the Apple Daily in Taiwan. The comment stated:

... control over our content does not stem from any political motive, and we try to the extent of our abilities (even if we cannot do it perfectly) to prevent the influence of ideology; the motive, goal, and standards of control are very clear: to create an encyclopedia with rich content, good quality, and open copyright. All of our editing and deletion policies stem from this. There is no doubt about this point, and this will not change under any political pressure or personal beliefs.

Regarding the description of Mao Zedong on the Chinese, one can simply go online and see for oneself; in order to understand the operation of or to edit it oneself, just a few more mouse clicks would suffice. As continues to attract awareness, the number of users is increasing, and the media has increased interest in as well. Unfortunately, even a reputable international media source such as the New York Times was unable to find out the actual situation before passing biased judgment on. We can also see here that in quoting media overseas, even a notable one, one must still be cautious and check once again for oneself. (Translated)[20]

In another email addressed to the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list, a Chinesen stated:[citation needed]

1) Chinese has and conforms to a high standard of NPOV, and Chinesens take this policy seriously.

2) There is no such thing called "self-censorship" at Chinese; indeed any intention for such practice at Chinese will be denounced by most Chinesens.

3) Chinese is written by people from various places of the world, including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Asia, America, Europe, etc. Indeed, editors from Mainland China are disproportionally scarce because of the current block obviously imposed by the PRC government (though it never admitted that).

Previous proposals to self-censor the Chinese in light of the P. R. Chinese government's censorship policies have been made before, but were overwhelmingly rejected by the community.[21]

In April 2010, Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reported the large-scale censorship of contents about Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and other Hong Kong related contents in which an administrator named "Shizhao" ("百無一用是書生" a.k.a. "時昭") was involved.[22] The report also mentioned the failed recall of the administrator.[22]

In a follow-up, Ming Pao interviewed Shizhao and stated that he was not a member of the 50 Cent Party.[23] He added that for controversial topics such as the 1989 protests, he should be a little more cautious.[23] In the interview, he denied that he had attempted to delete an article about the Concert For Democracy In China (民主歌聲獻中華), and stated that he merely questioned the notability of the concert by adding a template to the article.[23]

However, he had started a vote to delete an article about a song criticizing the Hong Kong government (Chinese: 福佳始終有你; pinyin: Fú jiā shǐzhōng yǒu nǐ) in 2007, enraging many Hong Kong netizens.[23] Shizhao added that, at the time, he had already edited more than 50,000 times, deleting several articles including Manual for Librarians. He joked about the incident, saying, "some may consider that is a kind of hate to libraries and hence is not suitable for monitoring."[23]


On April 20, 2006, the online Chinese search engine company Baidu created Baidu Baike, an online encyclopedia that registered users can edit, pending administrator reviews. The content of the encyclopedia is self-censored in accordance with the regulations of the People's Republic of China government. Within weeks, the number of articles in Baidu Baike had surpassed that of the Chinese.

As of October, 2009, Hudong Wiki surpassed Baidu Baike as China's largest online encyclopedia in terms of number of articles it owns. Hudong has since been renamed to Baike, not to be confused with Baidu Baike.

Baidu Baike and Hudong are both commercial products. Whereas the Chinese is released under the GNU Free Documentation License, Baidu Baike and Hudong are fully copyrighted by their ownership; contributors forfeit all rights upon submission. However, Baidu Baike has been accused of "widespread copyright infringement" by mass-copying pages and incorporating them into Baidu Baike pages since 2007 (see Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks/Baidu Baike for details).[24][25]

See also




  1. ^ https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-May/000116.html
  2. ^ https://www.theverge.com/2015/9/4/9260981/jimmy-wales-wikipedia-china
  3. ^ "Files". SourceForge.net. 2005-04-20. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  4. ^ "我也来写百科全书." (Archive)
  5. ^ Zhai, Ivan. "Wiki reboot: Chinese makes comeback after early censorship." South China Morning Post. Monday August 5, 2013. Retrieved on March 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "MDBG.net". MDBG.net. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  7. ^ Tsoi, Grace. "China Becomes Front Line for Views on Language and Culture." The New York Times. October 27, 2013. Retrieved on October 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "Page Edits Per Language". statswikimedia. 
  9. ^ Erik Zachte (14 November 2011). "Wikimedia Traffic Analysis Report - Page Views Per Country - Trends". Wikimedia Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  10. ^ cdo:上古漢語
  11. ^ hak:百度百科
  12. ^ a b c Schwankert, Steven (2007-09-06). "Blocked in China Again". IDG News via PCworld. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  13. ^ 中文维基百科被屏蔽NetEase,Retrieved 2015-05-19.
  14. ^ "PCworld.com". PCworld.com. 1989-06-04. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  15. ^ Barak, Sylvie (2008-04-03). "China uncensors". The Inquirer. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  16. ^ "Beijing unblocks BBC Chinese site", BBC, July 31, 2008.
  17. ^ Smith, Charlie (2015-06-18). "We Had Our Arguments, But We Will Miss You". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-30. 
  18. ^ "Chinese-language presents different view of history" by Howard W. French, The New York Times, Published: November 29, 2006.
  19. ^ "Is China Really?" Posted by Brian Montopoli at 11:45 AM, November 30, 2006
  20. ^ 大家都誤解了維基百科 (in Chinese)
  21. ^ 关于维基百科中国大陆本土化的建议 (on the Chinese)
  22. ^ a b 維基用戶罷免爭議管理員失敗 轟政治審查 過濾「六四」「席揚」. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  23. ^ a b c d e 險遭罷免維基管理員:我非五毛 編輯方針不變. Ming Pao (in Chinese). Hong Kong. 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  24. ^ Nystedt, Dan (2007-08-06). "Baidu May Be Worst Copyright Violator". 
  25. ^ Chao, Loretta (2011-03-29). "Baidu Takes Authors' Fire". The Wall Street Journal. 
  26. ^ List ofs - Wikistats by S23

External links