China is going to launch an online version of its national encyclopaedia next year, to compete with Wikipedia.
Officials said more than 20,000 people had been hired to work on the project, which will feature 300,000 entries at about 1,000 words each, reports the BBC.
Unlike Wikipedia, it will be created by selected scholars from state-run universities rather than being openly editable by volunteers.
Wikipedia is available in China, but some of its content it blocked.
The Encyclopaedia of China “is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture”, Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project, who chairs the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China, said in an update earlier in April.
Yang – who has listed Wikipedia as a competitor – also said China was facing international pressure to produce its own platform to guide “the public and society”.
The Encyclopaedia of China was first published in 1993, in paper form, with the support of scholars, and released a second edition in 2012.
But critics said the government-funded works omitted or distorted some entries for political purposes.
The idea for an online version was approved in 2011, but work on it began only recently.
Currently, users on the mainland can read some Wikipedia content, but searches for sensitive topics such as the Dalai Lama and President Xi Jinping are blocked.
Last week, Turkish authorities blocked access to Wikipedia within the country without giving a reason.
In 2014, Russia also announced plans for an alternative version of Wikipedia, with the stated aim of providing better information about the country than was available on the platform.
BDST: 1950 HRS, MAY 1, 2017