Novelist Han Han to sue fraud crusader for libel

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 January, 2012, 12:00am


Best-selling mainland author Han Han is suing self-proclaimed 'Science Cop' Fang Zhouzi, who recently accused Han of hiring ghostwriters for most of his works, says Han's agent.

Lu Jinbo, Han's agent, wrote on his microblog account yesterday that the 30-year-old popular novelist and blogger was filing a lawsuit against Fang, who is also known as Dr Fang Shimin, demanding an apology and 100,000 yuan (HK$122,800) in damages.

The lawsuit follows Fang's claims that the author of The Three Doors - Han's first published book, by which he gained national prominence - might have been someone else. Fang implied that the ghostwriter could have been Han's father.

Han is widely seen as a liberal-minded intellectual and a bold critic, particularly as The Party, a prominent literary magazine he edited, was apparently forced to close under political pressure after the publication of just one issue in the summer of last year.

To bolster Han's case, Lu said Han would seek help from the official notary department to verify a stack of his manuscripts, as thick as 1,000 pages, to determine whether they were written in his handwriting between 1997 and 2000. The documents would then be presented as evidence proving Han was the author, Lu said.

In a series of comments he made on his blog since January 18, Fang, 45, also challenged Han's proficiency in terms of literature, history and writing, citing numerous alleged inconsistencies he found in Han's writing styles in different periods.

The issue quickly became a hot topic of discussion among millions of mainland internet users, as Han and Fang are both celebrities who boast hundreds of thousands of fans and supporters.

Fang appeared defiant yesterday in the face of impending legal action. After publishing a long blog about the incident, Fang issued a statement saying he had the right to criticise Han, adding that his articles had not damaged Han's reputation.

In addition, Fang claimed that Han and his supporters had instead tarnished his reputation by attacking him publicly and spreading lies about him and his family.

'The lawsuit will hardly have the slightest impact on my intention to further analyse those articles carrying Han's signature,' Fang said.

Widely known as a crusader against academic fraud, Fang was once assaulted by thugs in Beijing in August last year.