China's leading web search company, Baidu.com, Baidupedia, has launched an online encyclopedia modelled on the US-based Wikipedia, which is blocked by Beijing. < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
The new service from Baidu.com, Baidupedia, is heavily self-censored to avoid offending the Chinese government. Wikipedia had become increasingly popular in China until blocked in 2005. China has strict laws on Internet use and blocks content it deems a threat, including references to the Tiananmen Square massacre and notable dissidents. This service was launched last month. The number of Internet users in China is set to top 187 million in two years.