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Chinese citizens turn to GitHub to archive coronavirus outbreak events in a bit to avoid censorship

Volunteers are working to archive the truth.
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By all accounts, the outbreak of coronavirus – a particularly nasty strain of some previous flu viruses, but as yet with no discernible means to fight it through inoculation, or an end in sight – looks like it could be leveling out in its country of origin, China.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world may yet experience the brunt of the respiratory disease caused by the virus. 

But while in other countries we seem to be concerned mostly about sneezing into our sleeves, washing our hands often, and not congregating in large crowds – all these being officially recommended anti-coronavirus measures – over in China, people appear to be ready to think beyond the day-to-day horror they experienced, and long-term.

Such like – preserving the memory of those who perished in the viral outbreak that first hit China.

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As ever with any loss or grievance, we have on one hand the human desire to forget bad experiences in order to be able to move on with your life – and on the other, the urge to keep some memories, regardless of how traumatic they may be.

In China, this is even more involved and difficult, as citizens are racing to preserve coronavirus memories against censors. And on GitHub, as it happens to operate both in China – and “beyond the Great Firewall.”

When GitHub first launched – it was little more than a neatly front-ended online hosting and syncing service, making very good use of the free and open-source version control software known as Git. 

It was intended for anyone with some code who needed an easy way to keep it updated, but also shared and developed by and with the community of others, who had something to contribute to it.

But times have definitely changed. Not only is there now a new strain of coronavirus ravaging parts of the globe – but GitHub is no longer just some clever startup serving a developer community niche – it’s in the meantime become an acquired property of the old-school US tech giant Microsoft.

The GitHub project to preserve memories of coronavirus victims (in China) was the work of seven volunteers based around the world.

“The purpose of the page is to serve as a database for researchers, such as those studying epidemic prevention and natural language processing, as well as internet users,” says the GitHub entry.

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