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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Because Fang Zhouzi still has credibility among certain people, Han Han said, he believes his reputation and interests have been damaged, although it is hard to put a price on it.

Han's publisher Lu, who also represents well-known writers including Wang Shuo and Anne Baby, told China Daily on Tuesday that he thinks Fang's actions and series of blog articles have hurt Han's reputation.

"It's OK that others say a writer writes badly," Lu said. "But it gets serious and becomes a harm when someone claims the writer had others write for him, with no hard evidence and illogical proof."

Lu said they expected to learn on Thursday whether the court would accept Han's lawsuit.

Han Han may find it difficult to win a libel suit against Fang, according to Yao Xinshi, a lawyer at Beijing Tianyuan Law Firm.

He defined libel as the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business or product a negative image.

"If Fang is just making a conclusion based on facts, including Han's books or interviews, this is hard to be defined as a libel suit," Yao said.

If the case is not accepted for trial under criminal law, it could be addressed in a civil suit as infringement of reputation rights.

Yao said that every citizen has the right to protect his or her credibility, reputation and privacy. If Han's books are proved to have been his own work, Fang's indictment could be considered an infringement of Han's reputation as a writer.

'Like a game'

Publisher Lu has his own view of why the Han-Fang fight has involved so many actively over more than two weeks.

"It's like a fun soccer game," he said. "When the two sides are balanced in power, the audience feels the most excitement.

"Both Han and Fang have a large number of fans who love them, and a large number of people who dislike them," Lu said.

"And it's not breakthrough events that have clear lines between the black and the white."

Yang Wanli contributed. Write to jiangxueqing@chinadaily.com.cn,

wangyan3@chinadaily.com.cn or meijia@chinadaily.com.cn.

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