Who turned out the lights on Han Han?

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.


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0 thoughts on “Who turned out the lights on Han Han?”

  1. It would be pretty damning if there was any ‘pressure’ going on, because here’s a guy, not on any of the Western Blog/Twitter sites, basically just an interesting provocative patriotic smart Chinese guy, and he’s not ‘talking’ to Westerners (beyond a handful of Sinophiles in Beijing). Chinese pressure against Western Blogsites makes sense (from their mindset) but pressure against Han Han would really be a kick in the nuts to any up and coming Chinese blogger/author/writer/creative who aspires for any kind of notoreity. Let’s hope he’s just partying, and will be back to posting shortly.


  2. Based on news from Twitter, Han Han’s wife has born a girl in the past month,I think this is the reason why Han did not update his blog. As to Nobel Prize, Han may think that whatever he write about this news, it will be removed from Sina.com, the sponsor of his blog. A good example is the accident on Taizhou, where nine children were killed in a kid-garden. Han’s post was soon deleted. As a resistance, Han post another one-sentence-blog,saying that “Grandpas, please go ahead” (or something like that). One can say that Liu Xiaobo accident is so sensitive for PRC government and press that any comment from opinion leader like Han would be deleted presumably.


  3. He’s just popped up in an interview with FTChinese:

    FTChinese: If you were an American, would you criticize the US government in the same way you criticize the Chinese government?
    Han Han: Of course. Criticizing the US government is enjoyable for everyone. It’s a lot of fun and is relatively risk-free. Internationally, the Chinese government and the US government are the easiest governments to criticize. The US government has 6 billion people who can criticize it at will; the Chinese government is next, with 4.7 billion.


  4. I don’t think *all* the lights were turned out … just the other day I saw Han Han on a giant LCD screen in a subway station, selling some kind of product. That said, hoping the best for him! Han Han, 加油!


  5. Very much muzzled. Case in point: “Since then, he has updated just twice… 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.”

    I can say for sure that he’s written at least one post in the past few months that was immediately “harmonized.” I saw “我们不会上当” myself when it was posted but set it aside for later and didn’t have the presence of mine to save it; that night, it was gone. There have been doubts posted in comments about this version – http://twiyia.com/link_show.php?id=1700438 – but my Chinese friends at college tell me it’s definitely the original, and they’re well-connected enough that I’m inclined to believe them. (The fact that you need a VPN to access the site is another good argument for their theory…)


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