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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Fang's doubts

Fang said he was not the least interested in the dispute when Mai Tian accused Han of having others write on his behalf, but was later dragged into the fight.

"I had never read Han Han's works before. In my opinion, he's just another star in the entertainment industry. I didn't have the patience to read Mai Tian's articles either," Fang said, "until Han swore about his credibility, attacked Mai in his blog, and offered 20 million yuan to whoever can prove Mai's accusation is correct. Only an exasperated person in desperation would act this way."

War of words set for showdown

Looking through Mai's articles, Fang found that part of Mai's reasoning was indeed reasonable.

For example, Fang said, Han claimed that he wrote and published a dozen essays and pieces of fiction in one month when he was still a junior school student. Before that, he had not written anything, nor did he write afterward until he entered the essay contest when he was in senior high school.

Such descriptions sounded suspicious to Fang, who questioned Han's ability to write so many high-quality articles, above average for a writer at his age, in such a short time without showing any earlier sign of his talent. He said it is more likely that Han had someone else write for him and that he copied their stories in his own handwriting. Fang also said he thinks the life experience and social background shown in Han's early stories did not match his age.

Han on fiction

Applying so-called "academic analysis" to literary works is ridiculous, according to Han, because literature is not science.

"If a writer wrote in his story it is a sunny day while it actually rains, does that mean he has made a forgery?"

In one of his analytical articles, Fang Zhouzi questioned why Han wrote that he slept in the upper berth in his dormitory when he was a student, while in another story he wrote he slept in the lower berth.

"It doesn't matter which berth I slept in. This is a fiction," Han said. "I can sleep anywhere in my fictions and essays. If a person raises doubts in this way, there will be no fiction at all."

From his point view, Fang's criticism against him has crossed over the line of academic analysis.

"He concluded that I had someone else write on my behalf. For a writer, such an accusation is the most serious of all kinds. He is questioning my integrity and moral quality," Han said.

One of the doubts Fang raised against Han is why he and his father had different explanations for the title of his first novel, which was published nearly 12 years ago. Han said it is understandable that their memories faded in that time.

Beyond the arguments, Han said he has kept about 1,000 pages of manuscripts for two of his early works, which he considers proof of his innocence. He said he began to write on a computer starting with his third novel.

"I have manuscripts, witnesses, notebooks and letters I wrote to home. A typical writer would have none of these, for we all write in front of a computer nowadays," Han said. "If people support Fang Zhouzi, whoever makes a living by writing is likely to have rough luck once they pissed him off."