Han Han, China’s #1 Blogger, officially shut down his art magazine Party after only one issue and doesn’t know how the hell it happened apparently.
Han Han is a regular Chinese renaissance man. He races rally cars, writes novels that get banned, produces a solo album, writes one of the world’s most popular blogs and makes a habit of pissing off the Chinese government.
We don’t often hear of anti-authoritarian and dissident types coming out of China. However, this past year the imprisoned democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize, causing China’s state media to implement a media black out and use intimidation tactics against Norway in protest of Xiaobo’s award.
And Han Han attempted to parlay his popularity and provocateur status into the creation of a magazine called Party, which would feature dynamic, Gonzo-esque art and music writing from a range of Chinese creative types. According to an article in the Guardian, Han Han’s Party had to be severely edited as far as content before publication but it was extremely popular.
“Filled with 128 pages of freewheeling content from musicians, film directors and offbeat writers as well as extracts from Han’s novel “I Want to Talk to the World,” the first edition was repeatedly delayed on the orders of the authorities. But when it was released, it was immensely popular, selling 1.5m copies.”
Han Han had been at work on the second issue, but it seems that the state censorship process caused publishers to run for the hills (although Han suggested it might be a personal grudge), leaving Han without a means of delivering his content.
Mr. Han is on a mission to push China into a cultural avant-garde position, and though he has had some success, he has naturally come up against the long arm of the law.
In a New York Times interview earlier this year, Han said:
“The government wants China to become a great cultural nation, but our leaders are so uncultured… If things continue like this, China will only be known for tea and pandas.”
Indeed, Mr. Han. Indeed.