A housewife in China is said to have spent the last decades of her life writing hundreds of fictional Wikipedia articles on Russian history.
For internet users, Wikipedia is probably one of the most useful websites as it contains almost all of mankind’s knowledge on all different issues and fields. What’s even better, Wikipedia’s content is made up of user contributions. However, this policy of encouraging users to contribute content does not always bring good results, as the story has just been revealed in China recently.
According to online reports from several long-established news aggregators in China, an unnamed woman is being held responsible for contributing more than 200 fabricated articles related to medieval history. of Russia for the Chinese Wikipedia page. It is worth mentioning that the locations, events, and characters in this person’s writings are purely fictitious. Articles have been submitted to Wikipedia for the past 10 years.
The person who discovered this vandalism was Yifan, a Chinese fantasy novelist. Not long ago, Yifan looked for inspiration for a new book on Chinese Wikipedia. He focused on the medieval history of Russia and came across a large silver mine of this period called Kashin, which was originally owned by Tver, an independent state that existed for about a century. 13 to 15. After that, this silver mine belonged to the Grand Duchy of Moscow, until it was closed in the 18th century, when the resources were increasingly depleted.
The Wikipedia article describes the history of the Kashin silver mine very interestingly, it was once home to about 30,000 slaves and 10,000 freed. Besides, it also deals with large-scale wars as well as a series of economic stories surrounding it. Yifan was intrigued by this landmark and sought out more information about it. However, most of the information he found was only available on the Chinese Wikipedia. Therefore, Yifan turned to Russian Wikipedia, but he was surprised to discover that the Russian Wikipedia pages even had short or long content or mentioned completely different content than the Chinese page. This is extremely bizarre, because Yifan does not believe that the Russian Wikipedia page provides inaccurate information about Russia’s history.
While being fascinated by the story of the Kashin silver mine, Yifan told the story of it to all his friends, but none of them had ever heard of the site. A few people said they had heard of a town in Tver Oblast, Russia with such a name, but it wasn’t a silver mine, or even still in operation. The ambiguity between the sources made Yifan feel that something was amiss with the Chinese Wikipedia. He decided to spend some time researching all the information related to the Kashin silver mine and discovered that all the articles were fictitious products submitted by a user.
“The entries of the Chinese Wikipedia are more detailed than the English Wikipedia and even the Russian Wikipedia,” Yifan shared on the Zhihu Q&A platform. “Chinese Wikipedia has many characters that do not exist in the English-Russian Wikipedia, these characters are mixed with real historical figures, making it difficult to distinguish the real from the fake. Even the Moscow-Tver war over the Kashin silver mine is not real.”
Writer Yifan’s response went viral on the internet, prompting Wikipedia to open an investigation into the incident. The results surprised many users, as it turned out that over the past 10 years, one user wrote down millions of Russian historical fictions, created more than 200 Wikipedia articles, and contributed information to hundreds of articles. other. Complicated stories, wars and characters, all woven into very long articles that the reader cannot verify and let go.
The author of this fiction is Chinese, her nickname is Zhemao. Zhemao claims she is the daughter of a diplomat who worked in Russia and holds a degree in Russian history, but after Zhemao’s decades-long hoax was exposed, she confessed that she herself just a housewife with a high school education, with a rich imagination.
Zhemao expressed her regret as follows: “It’s hard to make up for the trouble I’ve caused, so a permanent ban is probably the only option. My current level is not enough to make a living. So in the future I will learn a profession, work for an honest salary and not do such futile things.”
According to sources, Zhemao started active on Wikipedia in 2010, she wrote false articles about visiting Hoa Than during the Holy Dynasty. In 2012, she began to turn to Russian history. Zhemao began by editing pre-existing articles about Tsar Alexander I of Russia, then began composing fictional articles, recounting Russian history from his own imagination.
Currently, most of Zhemao’s fabricated articles on Russian history have been removed from the Chinese Wikipedia, while others have been updated to reflect the actual situation. Zhemao’s edits on other articles have also been removed. She posted an apology letter on her English Wikipedia account, claiming to do this just to be motivated to learn about the history…
Although the editors of Wikipedia say that this work of Zhemao has damaged the reputation of the current Chinese Wikipedia, the public is so fascinated by Zhemao’s story and writing ability, they are seemed so “real” that for more than 10 years no one recognized the truth.
“Fictioning a whole line of history with details like clothes, money, and gadgets like that would be great too.” One Weibo user said.
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