China, Taiwan at loggerheads over edits in Wikipedia


If Google or Siri was searched for Taiwan, the answer would be ‘a state in East Asia’. However if the same question was asked earlier in the month of September, the answer provided would be ‘province in the People’s Republic of China’.

An editorial clash happened in Wikipedia where the existence of Taiwan changed a number of times in one day. The board member of WikimediaTaiwan, Jamie Lin has said that many Taiwanese Wikipedians were attacked. Entries on Wikipedia can be written or edited by anyone and there are a group of Wikipedians in every country to protect as well as to contribute to this. Lin and colleges said that Wikipedia is under attack now. This is just one among the many issues which has been faced by Wikipedia. The page on Hong Kong protests saw over 65 changes in a day. Senkaku Islands’ English entry describes them as ‘islands in East Asia’ however in the Mandarin equivalent it changed to ‘China’s inherent territory’. Although difference of opinion occur on Wikipedia all the time, Lin and team considers this to be quite different.

Most of the attacks on Wikipedia are not on its content but on the Wikipedian community. Lin said that the personalinformation of some of the people has been released as they had different thoughts. Death threats were also directed at some of the Taiwanese Wikipedians. A senior lecturer in digital cultures at University of New South Wales, Heather Ford said that she was not at all surprised and that she was surprised all this took this long.

Taiwan is locked in messaging war with the Chinese with their geopolitical facts and many of those misconceptions might be real to those who make changes to them. The growth of online power of the stateswhich struggle to define the truth now extends to place like Wikipedia which has become very important in the present world.

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