November 9, 2006 saw the complete
unblocking of Wikipedia in China,
resulting in a four-fold increase
in new user registrations. Though it
is still subject to URL- and page-level keyword blocking, the vast
majority of the site is freely accessible.
Why was it finally unblocked?
In the end, I believe consensus among
the Chinese authorities determined the benefits of Wikipedia far
outweigh the risks, and signals an understanding of the benefits of a read-write Wikipedia.
The complete argument goes like this: With Wikipedia blocked, China
suffers because its ranks of knowledge workers cannot access the top
reference site in the world, and the world suffers from not having
China's expertise and input in Wikipedia. This is
Wikipedia as the ultimate implementation of "read-write
" culture, and provides both an economic and cultural incentive for China to
open participation to Chinese netizens.
And in the end, if you think about it, doesn't it make complete sense
that the People's Republic of China would embrace the people's
encyclopedia of Wikipedia?