War of words set for showdown

Updated: 2012-02-01 08:59

By Jiang Xueqing, Wang Yan and Mei Jia (China Daily)

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Famous writer takes on blogger, Jiang Xueqing, Wang Yan and Mei Jia report in Beijing.

A fight between Titans of the written word has broken out as a best-selling author, one of Time magazine's "100 most influential people in the world" in 2010, launches a legal battle against a wildly popular micro-blogger known for exposing academic fraud.

Han Han, a 29-year-old novelist and champion amateur race-car driver, submitted a bill of prosecution to the court on Tuesday, his publisher said. Han is suing blogger Fang Zhouzi for libel because Fang claimed Han's works may be ghostwritten.

The lawsuit fuels an already heated dispute that, as of Tuesday afternoon, had sparked more than 14.8 million micro blogs on weibo, China's largest micro-blogging platform, since it started on Jan 15. Han's supporters outnumbered Fang's about 4-to-1. Numerous bloggers, intellectuals and celebrities also voiced their opinion.

In an interview, Han Han said he thinks it is unlikely he would lose the case in court. "If you read the micro blogs posted by Fang Zhouzi concerning his accusation against me, you will find clear evidence of actual malice," he said on Monday.

Fang told China Daily he had not intended to disparage Han. "Why should I bother to defame him? I don't even know him. There is no grudge between us."

The clash began when a popular blogger, Mai Tian, claimed Han's works might have been written by his publisher, Lu Jinbo, and said there is a team of ghostwriters behind Han.

Han responded the next day, offering 20 million yuan (nearly $3.2 million) to anyone who could prove his works were ghostwritten.

War of words set for showdown 

Fang Zhouzi (left), known for exposing academic fraud, has questioned the work of Han Han, one of the best-selling writers in China. Han is suing over Fang's stated suspicion that Han's works were ghostwritten. Provided to China Daily 

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