For all the talk about Han Han being the voice of a generation and being too big to be silenced by the government, it sure seems like he’s been, well…silenced. There is no way to prove it’s the government silencing him, of course, but who else would it be?
First, there’s his magazine 独唱团, the first issue of which took over a year to get published and was met with fairly lackluster reviews ((See what I did there?)). But the second issue, which was meant to come out two months later, never appeared, for reasons that remain unclear. At this point, though, I don’t think anyone is expecting to see another issue of the magazine, ever.
Then there’s his blog. Once frequently updated, it has been remarkably quiet since his blog post on October 10 (the day Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize). The blog post didn’t say anything about Liu. In fact it didn’t say anything at all, it was simply titled October 10th, 2010 and the text read thusly:
Since then, he has updated just twice, but both updates were just brief remarks on the Shanghai fire, which the mainstream media was also reporting at the time (this was before the word came down from the “Ministry of Truth” to slow down reporting on the fire). He has not updated the blog once since then; it has now been over a month (although it’s possible he has attempted to update the blog but had his posts deleted; this is a theory being espoused by some commenters in the comments on his “latest” post).
In real life, he may not be faring much better. An acquaintance of mine in the media recently was attempting to contact Han Han for an interview, but after pursuing several different guanxi channels was finally told by Han Han’s agent that things were too “sensitive” and that Han Han was not accepting any interviews from foreigners, period.
So, has China’s most politically-inclined race car driver been muzzled by Zhongnanhai, or is something else going on? And while we’re talking about silence, Wang Keqin hasn’t updated his blog in over a month either. That could be a good sign though, as he occasionally disappears from the internet for a while and reappears later with a new, hugely important news story.
I promise this is the last time I will mention this project on the site in an begging-for-money way, but check out some info about our project in the Global Times and China Digital Times, and if you feel like it, make a donation!