Jimmy Wales, co-founder and occasional haunter of Wikipedia, has told the Wall Street Journal that his company “will always refuse to comply with government requests to restrict information,” China included. So there’s that.
Wikipedia has had a rocky history in China, and typically floats in a semi-censored space in which the standard version is censored but the encrypted HTTPS version is not. Since early June of this year, however, the HTTPS site has been blocked in China, forcing readers onto the government-approved version. This makes Jimbo angry, as WSJ reports:
Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales said he would rather have no Wikipedia in China than comply with any form of censorship. […]
Web activists have since called on Wikipedia to default to the encrypted version of their site, where outside sources cannot filter or track user behavior on the site. The move, they say, would force the government to decide between blocking Wikipedia outright and allowing access to the unfiltered version of the site.
Mr. Wales said he liked the idea, but said the company does not yet have the technical ability to do that right now in China, and that the company would not shut down the unencrypted version of the site.
A quick trip outside of VPN-land (the horror) reveals that articles on, say, various protests in various squares, are thoroughly blocked on the non-HTTPS desktop version of Wikipedia. This author has just discovered, however, that the articles are freely unblocked, in Chinese, on Wikipedia’s unencrypted mobile site. Chinese censors are apparently getting lazy.