On 15 July 2022, China blocked seven Wikimedia chapters from accreditation at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The same day, a broad coalition of 50 civil society organizations, including Creative Commons, International Council on Archives, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, and Education International, have issued a letter of support for Wikimedia chapters’ admittance to WIPO.
In addition to Wikimedia CH, the Wikimedia chapters of Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa,and Sweden applied as permanent observers to WIPO, the specialized United Nations (UN) agency that defines global policy norms on copyright, patents, and trademarks. Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects rely on open, flexible copyright policies to ensure knowledge can be accessed and shared freely across its platforms.
In May 2022, China denied ad hoc observer status to six Wikimedia chapters to the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), the body responsible for shaping the future of global copyright policy. In the recent July meeting of the General Assembly of WIPO, chapters applied once again for access to participate in WIPO, this time requesting permanent observer status to participate not just in SCCR meetings, but in all forums, events, and meetings of the international body.
At the 2020 and 2021 WIPO General Assemblies, China had already denied access to the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization which supports Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects globally. Read more here.