China axes ‘Wuhan Diary’ writer from literary body for ‘handing a sword’ to Western forces


Chinese novelist Fang Fang, who recorded the daily lives of local residents during the lockdown in Wuhan, has been removed from the latest members’ list for the 10th National Congress of the Chinese Writers Association (CWA).

After the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan in 2019, which led to the lockdown of the city, Fang started to write what is now known as the ‘Wuhan Diary’ from January to March 2020, describing what she saw and heard during the lockdown and her personal reflections.

According Chinese mouthpiece Global Times, the writing was based on “rumours and innuendo”.

Former vice head of CWA, Zhang Kangkang, who once supported Fang, also disappeared from the list. A new leadership was elected at the meeting of CWA on Thursday. Fang and Zhang were on the list for the 9th National Congress of the CWA in the 2018 version, Global Times reported.

On the Tuesday opening of the 11th National Congress of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (CFLAC) and the 10th National Congress of the CWA, President Xi Jinping said that writers and artists should not become slaves of the market.

Fang attracted public resentment in China after announcing that her ‘biased’ 60-episode diary will be published overseas, which is regarded as ‘handing a sword’ to Western anti-China forces just for her own fame, Global Times reported.

Zhang, who served as a member of the 10th to 12th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, had publicly defended Fang several times.

Many Chinese netizens said Zhang is “even a worse traitor than Fang”, as she once surprisingly showed off her “superiority” as the vice-chairman of the CWA, saying that “the crowd is always the dumbest”.

Some Chinese analysts said that writers like Fang and Zhang, who call themselves critics, also need to tolerate being questioned and criticised by others, the report said.

A recent damning 82-page document that demonstrates the acceleration of China’s violations against its own international commitments to freedom of opinion and expression. The report, by Reporters Without Borders, reveals the unprecedented campaign of repression led by the Chinese regime in recent years against journalism and the right to information worldwide.

Covid-19 as an excuse for increased repression has been used by China. At least ten journalists and online commentators were arrested in 2020 for the simple act of informing the public about the Covid-19 crisis in Wuhan. To this date, two of them, Zhang Zhan and Fang Bin, are still detained.

The UN Human Rights Commission said that it is very concerned about the rapidly deteriorating health of Zhang Zhan, whose life is reported to be at serious risk from a hunger strike she is currently conducting in protest against her conviction in December 2020 for documenting the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic in Wuhan.



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