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‘Edit Wars’ Between Pro-CCP And Pro-Democracy Wikipedia Editors

November 10th, 2021 14:41

UK media is report­ing about “edit wars” on Wikipedia between pro-Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP) and pro-democ­ra­cy edi­tors on issues relat­ing to Hong Kong, large­ly on the Chi­nese-lan­guage site but also on the Eng­lish ver­sion. Accord­ing to a BBC article:

Octo­ber 30, 2021 The inves­ti­ga­tion by BBC Click uncov­ered “edit wars” between pro-Bei­jing and pro-democ­ra­cy edi­tors on issues relat­ing to Hong Kong, large­ly on the Chi­nese-lan­guage site but also on the Eng­lish ver­sion. “Pro-Bei­jing peo­ple often remove con­tent that is sym­pa­thet­ic to protests, such as tear gas being fired and images of bar­ri­cades. They also add their own con­tent,” says a Hong Kong-based edi­tor named “John”, who want­ed to remain anony­mous because of fears of intim­i­da­tion.  But he acknowl­edges that “edit wars” hap­pen on both sides.  “Pro-democ­ra­cy edi­tors tend to add con­tent to shift the bal­ance or the tone of the arti­cle, but in my expe­ri­ence, the pro-Bei­jing edi­tors are a lot more aggres­sive in churn­ing out dis­in­for­ma­tion,” he says.  “It’s now unfix­able with­out exter­nal inter­fer­ence. Some­one is try­ing to rewrite his­to­ry.”  He says many of the pro-Bei­jing edi­tors are patri­ot­ic cit­i­zens liv­ing out­side Chi­na, while those edit­ing from with­in the main­land are using meth­ods like VPNs (vir­tu­al pri­vate net­works) to cir­cum­vent the gov­ern­men­t’s block on the site.

One exam­ple of the “edit wars” is an arti­cle in the Chi­nese-lan­guage Wikipedia about an inci­dent in Hong Kong in 2019, referred to as the Yuen Long attack.  It took place amid the Hong Kong protests, when around 100 white-shirt­ed men, thought to have links with the pro-Bei­jing camp, attacked peo­ple at a trans­port sta­tion.  One of two pic­tures — a screen grab from a video that shows the white-shirt­ed men walk­ing with Hong Kong police — which ini­tial­ly appeared side-by-side on the page, was removed.  This was fol­lowed by at least 123 edits made to the text of the arti­cle with­in the space of two days in August 2020.  Words such as “rur­al fac­tions” to describe the men would be edit­ed to “ter­ror­ists”. And “con­flict” and “ter­ror attack” would be inter­changed to describe the situation.

Read the rest here.