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Background to February 2005 vote[edit]

The Wikinews project was formally approved by the Board in December 2004 after the Wikinews/Vote showed a global majority in favor. However, many Chinese users expressed concern about the project -- see Wikinews/Vote/Zh. There's one specific concern that warrants the Chinese Wikinews receiving special treatment: censorship.

Some have put forward the argument that a Chinese Wikinews would put the Chinese Wikipedia at greater risk of being censored by the government, as it has been in the past. In this line of argument, news are considered more politically dangerous than encyclopedia articles, especially because the Chinese news media are rigidly controlled. A Chinese Wikinews project might therefore also attract activists who do not have a voice elsewhere, again increasing the risk of censorship.

The argument against this is that Wikipedia also covers current events in great detail, and it is mostly the nature of the coverage (summaries instead of in-depth articles about individual events and sub-events) which is different. The risk of Wikipedia being censored would then be not substantially greater with or without Wikinews in the long term. It is also questionable whether the government would treat Wikipedia and Wikinews the same way, or whether it would differentiate between the two.

Finally, some people believe that any attempt to censor Wikimedia content should simply be fought through activism, that Chinese users should be assisted in circumventing censorship, and that it should not be a relevant factor in Wikimedia's decision making process.

This poll was set up to decide whether Wikinews China should be launched in spite of the risks, or whether a larger community vote is needed first.

The deadline for the vote is February 18, 20:00 UTC. Please remember to log in before voting (by signing with four tildes: ~~~~), and please create a user page here on Meta that points to a Wikimedia project you are voting on. You can only vote for one option.

The vote is now closed. The result will be communicated to the board of trustees, and the decision will be deferred there.

Treat the Chinese Wikinews like all other Wikinews editions[edit]

Launch the project, since there is already sufficient support on Wikinews/Start a new edition.

  1. Eloquence 07:35, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  2. DV 10:13, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  3. Formulax 12:07, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  4. Silsor 18:16, Feb 8, 2005 (UTC)
  5. Aphaia | WQ2翻訳中 | talk 18:54, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  6. Andrewmackinnon 01:30, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  7. Ce garcon 03:56, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  8. Stefantastic 8:56, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC) Try it! Then see what happens...
  9. Try it, however that means we are going to have to let them come through proxies. - Ta bu shi da yu 10:01, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  10. China is not the only place where Chinese is spoken - I cannot allow the Chinese government to latently influence Wikimedia content in such a drastic manner. --Oldak Quill 12:53, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  11. dcljr 02:13, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC) - I sympathize with those who might lose access to Wikipedia, but IMHO not starting a Wikinews edition due to possible/probable/certain/past/current/future government censorship is just plain wrong. [Note: I'm more active on Wikipedia.]
  12. TimShell 03:38, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC) Do not compromise on fundemental principles.
  13. Dovi 16:08, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC) Agreed: Never compromise on freedom. There is already more than enough interest among the Chinese contributors themselves, so it would be terribly wrong for us, at Wikimedia, to censor those who want to spread unrestricted news in Chinese by making them subject to closure based on the votes (as suggested below) of those who are afraid of the government. If we respect freedom, then we will treat Chinese the same as all other languages.
  14. If the Chinese language Wikipedia is not setup like all the other language based Wikipedias then Wikimedia will have started a new direction where every countries' political or legal system may have to be considered which seems to me to violate the intent of this being a "neutral" or non-bias source of information. Each user has agreed to the first principle of this resource of only making "lawful contributions". I'm not sure if that is the law of the Wikimedia, the United States, the UN, Western principles of freedom of speech or if it also considers other governmental laws not outlined in the agreement. The people of China will have to decide for them selves what forms of communication work best for them under their current circumstances and this may not be the best form for them. Google and Yahoo have compromised to political pressure for business purposes, should we compromise the principles of this form to the same end? An alternative to language based Wikipedias could be specific political or national ones setup as to not to offend or to be lawful in those communities. I haven't understood that to be the intent or scope of this project. Dave 11:20, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  15. Felix Wan 22:59, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC) Let them have it when there is sufficient support. Let's deal with the "potential" problems when they materialize.
  16. Jacoplane 20:26, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC) Never give in to terro^H^H^H^H^Hcensorship
  17. Wolfram 22:19, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  18. IlyaHaykinson 23:29, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  19. Shizhao 01:12, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  20. Angela (second choice). If we can't have a global vote, it should be treated the same as the others.
  21. Dittaeva 08:54, 18 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  22. softssa 15:54, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)


  1. What, and let the commie bastards in china pwn us? No way jose. If we get blocked in China, it's called proxy servers, hackers, and basically anyone who can skirt China's filtering network. KirbyMeister 03:48, 19 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  2. Abab99 11:07, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  3. Wikimedia is not the Chinese government. Guanaco 21:20, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  4. Kst01 07:33, 27 July 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Is WikiMedia enforcing a self-censorship due to a possible censorship by China? Please note that the communist China is not the only country that uses the Chinese language. People in the democratic Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and countless communities in the rest of the free world also use this language. (See the Wikipedia article on Chinese language.) It doesn't make sense to deprive these free people of WikiNews in their own language just because the communist China uses the same language. If China wants to censor the site to "protect" its citizens, I'd say let them do what they want with their own people. Whatever they do in China should have no effect on us, the Chinese-speaking people of the free world. I don't think WikiMedia needs to worry about any legal issues as long as the servers are not physically located within the borders of the People's Republic of China. In fact, I'm surprised even to see WikiMedia worrying itself over this matter, and effectively practicing a self-censorship because of a goverment that has no jurisdiction over it. --Sam Chen 08:57, 5 October 2005 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Traroth 14:49, 6 February 2006 (UTC) What are we exactly waiting for, concerning the launch of a chinese edition of Wikinews ? They start creating pre-launch pages in May, 2005, and everything is done, now. I think a decision has to be taken, here. And I think we don't have to care if the PRC is happy about it or not. If we begin to follow that very path, in short time, self-censorship will become the rule on Wikimedia projects. If we modify our rules due to the PRC politics, we will prove a thing about censorship : it works. They are numerous, they are motivated. Just let them work ![reply]

Hold a global vote to decide whether the project should be launched[edit]

  1. Angela (first choice). Potential blocking of the Chinese Wikipedia affects the project as a whole, not only people working on zh. If there won't be a global vote, it should be treated the same as the others.
  2. +sj+ 12:37, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC) A global vote after a global discussion. I haven't heard many zh: users' opinions about this.v
    I don't understand why you say you haven't heard their own opinions. They have already expressed their own opinions more than enough right here! To make them subject to extra, unusual global vote is to sacrifice the freedom and fairness of Wikimedia at the very core.
    It doesn't seem as though there is any place for people /against/ the creation of the project to express their opinione; and those votes of support you point to came with no discussion (in any language). That said, I am sure that most of the votes from outside of the chinese wikipedia will be in favor of creating the project, unless the chinese voters are strongly against it. +sj | Translate the Quarto |+
  3. Lbs6380 07:41, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC) Ask and explain the situation to the chinese government, complete with responsive contacts and extra watchfulness for extreme views, to try to make it as NPOV as possible. host on seperate servers to reduce the effect of blockings?
  4. This definitely has potential effects for other wikipedias. Raul654 06:34, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Hold a vote among the Chinese Wikimedia community only to decide whether the project should be launched[edit]

  1. Yann 13:00, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  2. Daniel Mayer (we already had a global vote on Wikinews - now it is just up to the Chinese-speaking community to decide since a Wikinews in their language is going to affect them far more directly than any any other language.)
  3. Elian 22:42, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC) - actually, I can't really understand why a global vote is needed to let chinese users decide if they want a chinese wikinews.
  4. Anthere
  5. Fruggo (I agree with Daniel and Elian)
  6. Eclecticology 17:53, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC) Pointless to start this without support from the involved community.
  7. GeorgeStepanek 22:00, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  8. Jun-Dai 02:35, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  9. -- Forseti Talk E-mail 11:08, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC) - Let the Chinese decide if they are willing to take the risks since they know them best.
  10. Wellparp 13:58, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  11. Louisana It's only their dicision if they want to take the rsik of censorship.
  12. R3m0t 17:42, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  13. RoseParks 19:31, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  14. user:zanimum They're the only ones who should decide whether or not they want to risk loosing Wikimedia forever from China.
  15. .:Ajvol:. 16:02, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  16. Samaritan 23:46, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC) I agree with the comments above.
  17. SV 00:23, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  18. Aphrael 01:03, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC). This is something the Chinese-speaking wikipedia community should decide, and the rest of us should support them in their decision.
  19. Duk 05:51, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  20. notafish }<';> 15:44, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  21. en:User:Vacuum 16:57, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  22. Thue 19:32, 17 Feb 2005 (UTC)


  1. --Tooto 16:20, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC) There the ones who are going to use it, let them deside (oh, acctually, hold a vote on chines wikipedia, not meta... reason, there will be more chinese speakers there than on meta
  2. 13:24, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC) Speaking as someone who has lived under communism and understands what it takes to live in freedom under that kind of government, Let the Chinese decide, they know the terrain better than we do. We have no right to endanger this pipeline to free information for them.
  3. They are really the only ones who have the necessary awarness of the situation in China to make an effective decision. →Iñgólemo← (talk) 03:43, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  4. 周济是猪04:10, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Other comments[edit]

  1. It is a though choice, I certainly do not know what the right one would be. I have experience with oppressive regimes. And yes I admit we should never let ourselves be censored. But I know what the repurcussions can be. That is why I doubt myself I would ever contribute a Thailand article to Dutch or any wikinews. Unless I am allowed offcourse to have a second username whose true identity is known to the ones who need to know but not publicy. It is a very very though call this one! Waerth 07:42, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  2. Before voting, I would like to see comments from users in China. If none comment, I see this as a non-issue anyway. 08:10, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
    Agreed. What do the Chinese users think, today, not in December. Are the people who signed up then ready to uphold the Chinese Wikinews ? notafish }<';> 10:41, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  3. I'd like to see this put through a global vote first, and then a vote among the Chinese Wikimedia community. The final call must rest with them. While I'm on record as supporting creating a Wikinews in just about every language, Chinese is a special case. I also note that when the Chinese government has taken action in the past, it has been to block all Wikimedia sites, so I don't think the argument that they would deal with Wikinews seperately is going to fly. I don't think I'm in a position to be voting, as it is the decision of the Chinese editors, but I'm quite concerned that this is one time when creating a new Wikinews would be a bad idea. Ambi 09:09, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  4. It's so easy to say no when it's not in person, isn't it?
    Could anyone stand in the same room, face to face, and look a Chinese contributor in the eyes and say, "Sorry, you can't have a Wikinews site"?
    If enough Chinese contributors want to set up a Wikinews site, they should be allowed to do so just like contributors in any other language.
    Restricting the privileges of Chinese contributors due to fear of the mainland government doesn't seem very free or open to me. Treating a Chinese Wikinews differently is even more wrong for the many potential Chinese contributors who don't even live on the mainland. — DV 10:16, 7 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  5. It is not our fault that Wikipedia was censored. The decision on whether or not to censor Wikipedia rests solely with the Chinese government. Wikinews should not be censored based on the POSSIBILITY that the Chinese government will censor it. Besides, not all Chinese contributors or readers live in mainland China. Andrewmackinnon 01:36, 9 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  6. Isn't the final option in this poll critically flawed. It is not simply about asked "Chinese Community" but the "Chinese speaking community" - China is not the only place in the world where Chinese is spoken. No government should have a monopoly on language and what should be done within a language. --Oldak Quill 12:54, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  7. I don't understand where the issue is. If enough people want a Chinese Wikinews, then there should be a Chinese Wikinews. What is this debate about? -- 08:44, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
    The outcome of this debate will determine whether or not the Wikimedia Foundation will appease the mainland Chinese government to avoid censorship.
    The noble goal of allowing any Chinese contributors to publish news in a free and open forum, in their own language, appears to be a secondary issue, given that there are enough interested contributors to open a Chinese language Wikinews right now.
    I find the notion of conducting a "global vote", that will allow non-Chinese voters to dictate to Chinese language contributors whether or not they can participate in Wikinews to be rather odious and offensive. Could anyone on this site who is not Chinese stand face to face and tell a Chinese contributor, "I know what's best for you"? The "global vote" option wouldn't have even been presented if every one was physically in the same room, because we'd all be too ashamed to look the Chinese contributors in the eyes while it was being announced.
    As for holding a vote within the "Chinese community", this is also doomed to failure, as obviously a small minority of the Chinese Wikipedia contributors are interested in starting a Wikinews site. The majority of Chinese Wikipedia contributors who want to avoid any possibility of censorship by the mainland government will easily outnumber those contributors who are interested in participating in Wikinews, even if there are enough contributors to start a viable and vibrant Chinese Wikinews.
    If the apartheid regime was still in place in South Africa, and some African contributors wanted to start a Wikinews, it would be considered cowardly and perhaps racist to prevent an African Wikinews from starting up for fear of censorship, as clearly the African contributors would be worthy of having their own Wikinews site.
    Is this situation really all that different?
    It's a shame that a potential Chinese Wikinews is being treated in this manner. I was really looking forward to showing off a Chinese Wikinews to my wife, but it now looks like she is doomed to continue reading Chinese state-controlled news or the pathetically self-censored Chinese Yahoo. — DV 10:08, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  8. Wikinews in Chinese may need to deal with the same situation Google News dealed with: the political problem.--Kourge 08:35, 13 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  9. I can't believe how disgusting this situation is. If enough people want a Chinese Wikinews, let them start a Chinese Wikinews. Having seen how pathetically so many Western-based corporations have danced to the Chinese Communist Party's tune, I was hoping that at least the Wikimedia Foundation would stand firm. We can't start letting theoretical threats from outside compromise our independence. Supposing the CCP does decide to ban all Wikimedia sites; at least we'd be able to say we did the upstanding and appropriate thing. If the ChiComs block Wikimedia, I would support any efforts by the Wikimedia Foundation to preserve the free flow of information into China. "Because information wants to be free!" Let's not end up like Chinese Google and Yahoo!, tiptoeing around the Chinese leadership. Let's let the Communist Party do whatever they do, and let's do what we do (distribute free and unbiased information). We've heard this argument before. When Yahoo! signed up to a Chinese voluntary pledge of "self-discipline" for the internet community, the argument they used was that "by giving free and fair information about the outside world, Yahoo! serves as a check on the Xinhua News Agency". It's a circular argument. Once we let the man influence what we do and don't write, we're letting them win. Rather than having to balance up whether or not to launch Wikinews on fear of all Wikimedia projects being blocked, let's do our job and if the CCP wants to block Wikimedia, surely the Wikimedia community, with so many contributors, could think of a way to ensure that Chinese users can access Wikimedia. As a matter of fact, not only are we obligated to "provid[e] free knowledge to every person in the world[]" but, should the Party decide to block Wikimedia entirely, are we not under an obligation to fight attempts to stop the provision of "free knowledge" in whatever way we can? --Ce garcon 10:46, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but, why should it be up to the english speakers to deside on the outcome of another language? have you notaced that its only us, in the west away from any harm that have botherd to vote in this small poll. quite frankly it dosnt matter what we think, its the chinese speakers who are going to make or kill the project. ( or the chinese goverment). whats the point in creating it if no-one is going to use it??? Tooto 16:25, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I am a Chinese speaker, so I have as much of a stake in this as the next guy/gal.
There are enough people who want a Chinese Wikinews that it should be launched. We didn't have an endless debate when the Swedish / Romanian etc. Wikinews sites were opened, why do we need one now? More than 6 people have indicated their interest, I don't see why anyone else should be able to stop us if we want one. --Ce garcon 10:51, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)