Baidu Baike, the Chinese repalcement of Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been blocked in mainland China for more than six months. Unlike former blocks, this one seems to be permanent. Like the blocking of Google in 2002, it produced a vacuum that local businesses are eager to fill, especially Baidu.

Immediate after the blocking of Wikipedia, Wiki China launched with government support and claimed itself as the biggest Chinese wiki encyclopedia. The coincidence, together with the GFDL violation of Wiki China by copying content systematically without credit Wikipedia, provoked many Chinese Wikipedians to blankout the pages they created. Ten days after the birth of Wiki China, hackers forced its shutting down by deleting its database.

Six months later, Baidu, the Chinese search engine benefited from the 2002 blocking of Google, launched Baidu Baike (sometimes translated Baidupedia), a collaborative online encyclopedia. Again, it is praised by Chinese media for education references, but is accused of the GFDL violation. Under the lure of Baidu Credit, a large amount of online articles, including many Wikipedia articles and even nonsense articles from Uncyclopedia are copied into Baidu Baike without crediting their sources. Worse, Baidu claimed the copyright in one help page, and credited the posters in another.

Although the growth of entries is impressive (10,000 a day), due to its self censorship, politically reactionary topics such as the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, human rights, democracy and Falun Gong are missing. Confronting the Great Firewall of China, efforts to creating these entries or even search for them resulted denial of services, like searches in other web sites.


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