China to launch national encyclopedia to compete against Wikipedia
Over 20,000 authors from universities and research institutions across China have joined a project to write an authoritative online Chinese encyclopedia in an effort to promote China’s historical heritage and soft power.
The digital encyclopedia, which is the third edition of the Chinese Encyclopedia, will feature more than 300,000 entries, each with an average length of 1,000 words. It will be twice as large as the Encyclopedia Britannica. The online encyclopedia will cover more than 100 disciplines and be put into use in 2018.
“The Chinese Encyclopedia is not a book, but a ‘Great Wall of Culture,’” Yang Muzhi, the project’s editor-in-chief told senior scientists at a meeting held in Beijing in April. “China faces challenges from every corner of cyberspace, so it should have its own online encyclopedia to lead public opinion.”
According to Yang, the new encyclopedia’s top rival is Wikipedia. The goal of the project is to surpass Wikipedia rather than play catch-up to it.
“People think Wikipedia is correct and authoritative, while it claims to be a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. The idea is alluring, but we have the world’s largest group of authors so we can do better,” said Yang.