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During democracy protests, Chinese authorities scrub the internet faster than Wikipedia editors censoring natural cures


Democracy protests
(NaturalNews) To many, censors in China are no different from editors at Wikipedia because, they say, both are responsible for preventing the free flow of information that would allow people to decide for themselves what is best.

In recent weeks Chinese censors have been working overtime to block certain messages on Weibo, the country's huge Twitter-like micro-blogging platform, according to Foreign Policy (FP) magazine. Recently, the censors had their busiest day ever, blocking the flow of information during student-led demonstrations in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong Sept. 26.

The protestors were demonstrating against what they perceived to be too much encroachment into the city -- which was managed by the United Kingdom until July 1, 1997 -- by China's ruling communist government, though Beijing has previously promised to maintain separate forms of government.

On Sept. 28, FP reported, police in Hong Kong attempted to break up the demonstration using tear gas, pepper spray and batons; this was a major shock to a city that is traditionally very peaceful, because residents are not used to seeing police violence.

Wikipedia's editors censor and control information they don't like, just like the Chinese government

FP continued its report:

While protester ranks swelled as Hong Kong residents joined the demonstrations, China's small army of online censors burst into action in China's digital public square, quickly deleting related photos and comments posted to Weibo, a Chinese social platform with 46 million daily active users. Weibo censorship hit its highest point this year at 152 censored posts per 10,000, according to Weiboscope, an analytics project run by the University of Hong Kong.

Indeed, "Hong Kong" and "police" were the top censored terms of that day, FP said.

To give that a little perspective, the censorship rate on Sept. 28 was more than double that of June 4 -- the 25th anniversary of the Chinese government crackdown on the student movement in Tiananmen Square; that event is "so meticulously censored in both traditional and social media that many of China's younger generation" don't know anything about it, FP reported.

But the encroaching authoritarianism and censorship hasn't stopped there. In recent months, Hong Kong managers have grown more concerned over the unsettled question of universal suffrage: Beijing has said it would only allow that if the candidates for the city's chief executive -- it's top official -- are chosen by a committee that would bend to communist Chinese interests, instead of being selected by open nomination processes.

What authorities in China are doing -- censoring free speech and thought, cutting access to historical events and rigging elections -- are akin to what editors at Wikipedia have done when it comes to the free exchange of ideas on that site. As Natural News has reported, the site has been a source of ire among activists and experts seeking to better inform the general public about alternative medicines and the holistic approaches to healthcare.

'Some groups 'squat' on articles so they can change them'

In fact, one of the site's co-founders, Larry Sanger, left after realizing that its editors were being completely biased toward conventional medicine by limiting or changing information pertaining to alternative approaches.

"In some fields and some topics, there are groups who 'squat' on articles and insist on making them reflect their own specific biases. There is no credible mechanism to approve versions of articles," he has said.

And that's why most serious institutions of higher learning will not approve Wikipedia for use by students researching topics for academic papers and projections: The site simply cannot be trusted.

A recent petition against the site noted this form of censorship when it stated:

These pages are controlled by a few self-appointed "skeptics" who serve as de facto censors for Wikipedia. They clothe their objections in the language of the narrowest possible understanding of science in order to inhibit open discussion of innovation in health care. As gatekeepers for the status quo, they refuse discourse with leading edge research scientists and clinicians or, for that matter, anyone with a different point of view. Fair-minded referees should be given the responsibility of monitoring these important areas.

That petition is here: Change.org.

Sources:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.change.org
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