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Wikipedia may delete entry on ‘mass killings’ under Communism due to claims of bias

·3-min read
Stalin
Stalin

A Wikipedia entry detailing “mass killings under Communist regimes” faces being purged from the platform over fears about bias.

The page outlining the deaths of millions in one-party states including the Soviet Union and China has been flagged for deletion, with some users responsible for maintaining the site taking issue with blaming mass murder on Communist ideology.

The dedicated entry listing the actions of figures like Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, and Kim Jong Il has been accused of putting forward a biased “anti-Communist” point of view, and site administrators will decide whether it should be removed.

The future of a page titled “Anti-communist mass killings” is not in doubt, however, as the entry outlining occasions on which Communists have been killed under other poltical systems has not been flagged over concerns about neutrality.

A heading on Wikipedia’s article on mass killing under Communsit regimes currently states “The neutrality of this article is disputed”, and “this article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia's deletion policy”.

‘As bad as Holocaust denial’

The page mentions crimes against humanity including Stalin’s man-made famine in the Ukraine, the Great Purge, the killing of kulaks (prosperous peasants), and the imprisonment of millions in the Gulag system.

Mao’s policies including the Great Leap Forward, which caused a famine which may have caused the deaths of up to 20 million people, is also explored with numerous citations on the page, along with the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

Excess deaths under regimes in Cuba, Yugoslavia, Romania, East Germany and North Korea are also cited, with numerous sources provided.

But one proponent of deleting the page has stated on Wikipedia’s discussion page that “the view that the ideology of communism is somehow inherently violent is … anti-communist [point of view] pushing”.

Another supporter of deletion claims the entry on the deaths under Communism, estimated by some historians to be in the region of 100 million people, should not resort to “simplistic presuppositions that events are driven by any specific ideology”.

‘This is morally indefensible’

It has also been argued by one of the host of users who update and maintain Wikipedia that the page on mass killings under Communist regimes “is enabling a narrative and supports some fringe ideas about history”.

The proposed deletion of the page of crimes under Communism has been criticised, with Cambridge historian Prof Robert Tombs arguing that downplaying the connection between genocide and ideology would also prevent the teaching of crimes under Facsism and colonialism

He said: “This is morally indefensible, at least as bad as Holocaust denial, because 'linking ideology and killing' is the very core of why these things are important.

“I have read the Wikipedia page, and it seems to me careful and balanced. Therefore attempts to remove it can only be ideologically motivated – to whitewash Communism.

“Already, this appalling history is downplayed: in Britain, schoolchildren are much more likely to study the Third Reich than the Soviet Union.

‘Murdered more than 100 million’

Cliff May, director of the Federation for the Defense of Democracies, said: “The Communist regimes of the world – the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, Cambodia, North Korea and others – murdered more than 100 million people.

“Those who attempt to erase this long and terrible history of criminality should be seen as accomplices after the fact, paving the way for more tyranny in the future.”

Some proponents of deleting the page claim that by combining different elements of research to create a “synthesis”, this constitutes original research and therefore breaches Wikipedia rules.

An administrator will decide, on the basis of arguments for and against which have been put forward by users, whether the page will be deleted.

Wikipedia has been contacted for comment.

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