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He will speak at the UN meeting – China stopped him at the last minute

Of course, it is sad to go to a conference where you are not allowed to make your voice heard, says Eric Loth, project manager at the non-profit Sweden Wikimedia.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is a United Nations body that deals with intellectual property rights at the international level. Among other things, they host a week-long meeting twice a year in which member states participate.

In normal cases, civilian representatives are also welcome to give their opinions on copyright issues – but on Monday Wikimedia Sweden and its counterparts in several other countries suspended Wikipedia together.

China: ‘Contains a lot of incorrect information’

We believe that some Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, contain highly incorrect information that goes against the “China” principle, said the representative of China.

“China” refers to the country’s view that Taiwan belongs to mainland China.

common phenomenon

The phenomenon that China prevents NGOs from participating in various UN meetings has become increasingly common in recent years, according to Bjorn Caplin, an analyst at the National Knowledge Center of China. He refers to a study that examined the phenomenon during the period 2016-2019.

– It shows China was behind about 25 percent of cases when an NGO’s application was delayed, he said.

Taiwan button was intercepted

Most of the banned organizations work with human rights. One example is the British organization The Conflict and Environmental Observatory. China objected to allowing a user to choose Taiwan as a separate country on its website in connection with donations to the organization.

One of the most common reasons behind China’s obstruction is the “one China” principle. Other similar profile issues are the view of Tibet or Xinjiang. They want to silence or restrict voices that convey messages that go against China’s perception.

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The biggest problem, says Björn Kapelin, is that the measure limits opportunities for civil society to participate in the work of the United Nations.

— and there is no indication that China will slow down in this business, he says.