A majority of the western platforms haven’t actually played well with the Chinese government’s stringent privacy and cyber security policies. Its relationship with Wikipedia has been fairly rocky, with the initial blockade on the online encyclopedia being placed over thirteen years ago — stemming from concerns of censorship. And now, it no longer plans to administer an international service but build its very own Chinese encyclopedia.
Instead of adopting the free community collaboration methodology used by Wikipedia to collect and curate content on its website, the Chinese government is maintaining complete control over the content. Thus, this official adaptation of the online encyclopedia has around 20,000 scholars from universities and research institutes working to build this publication. It will include over 300,000 entries spread across more than 100 disciples — each of the curated articles being at least 1,000 words, reports South China Morning Post.
We have the biggest, most high-quality author team in the world. Our goal is not to catch up, but overtake.
In an official statement, Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project and the chairman of the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China has described the Chinese Encyclopedia as not being a book but ‘a Great Wall of culture’. This new initiative, launched by the government, will be the third edition of the Chinese Encyclopedia. Most resources are already available offline but their two digital Chinese iterations published in 1993 and 2009 respectively.
Though Chinese technology giants such as Baidu and Qihoo 360 operate their own web0bsed encyclopedia’s within the nation, they are not even in the ballpark of Wikipedia’s data resource. Thus, the government now desires to participate in the development of an official resource. This will be by far the largest project and is aimed at producing content that’ll guide and lead the public and society within the nation. Talking about the same, the primary aim of this project is to:
showcase China’s latest science and technology developments, promote historical heritage, increase cultural soft power, and strengthen the core values of socialism.
The Chinese government’s decision to build an encyclopedia of its own has been taken due to surmounting pressure from within, as well as the international community. The finished product, which will go live in early 2018 for the first time, is expected to be twice the size of the most-renowned Brittanica encyclopedia — which currently has 938,000 entries. We have no information on whether the said resource will be translated into international languages and made available outside the Great Firewall. It would definitely be interesting to read the content curated by the brilliant minds of the nation.