China is all set to launch the digitized version of its Encyclopedia in 2018, in a bid to take over Wikipedia. Although Wikipedia is functional in the country, it shuts off whenever any user enters a sensitive search query like "Dalai Lama" or "Xi Jingping". Consequently, China plans to roll out its native version of Wikipedia with censored content.
According to the officials, unlike Wikipedia, online Encyclopedia of China will be curated by selected scholars of the state-run universities rather than being openly editable by random volunteers. As More than 20,000 people have already been hired to work on the project, which will feature 300,000 entries on various disciplines (around 1,000 words each), according to BBC.
However, with all the censorship that would be incorporated in the project by the Government, it seems more like a barrier than a knowledge-pool.
The editor-in-chief of the project, Yang Muzhi's comment with the wall adage just added fuel to the fear. The Encyclopedia of China "is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture," said Muzhi, the man who clearly thinks Wikipedia to be a competitor and believes the China's "goal is not to catch up, but overtake."
The Encyclopedia of China was first published in 1993 in print and a second edition was released in 2012. The idea of the online version was approved in 2011 but the government didn't implement it, until now.
Notably, China has its own version of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Instagram too, namely Baidu, Weibo, RenRen, QQ Mail and Nice, respectively.