The International Online Defamation Lawsuit of Han Han

Chinese Blogger Han Han
Popular Chinese Blogger, Han Han, Filed An Online Defamation Lawsuit one day, and took it back the next. What Happened? Image Source:

Last week, international media outlets were abuzz over an online defamation lawsuit involving China’s Mario Andretti/Dave Eggers, Han Han and the Asian James Randi, Fang Zhouzi.

Millions of Millennial-gen Chinese are invested in the details of this cyberlibel lawsuit — and it’s sure to captivate anyone with even a passing interest in mega-celebrity, conspiracies or vanity lawsuits.

Tabloid Worthy Online Defamation Lawsuit: Who are Han Han and Fang Zhouzi, You Ask?

Meet Han Han

Han Han is a blogger/author/race-car driver who recently filed a few online defamation lawsuits against his Internet adversary, Fang Zhouzi, a self-styled Internet “science cop” who’s out to right the oh so scientific wrongs plaguing the planet.

Han Han is a big deal in China, a mega, dare we say, meta-celebrity. He’s not just any blogger, he’s the most prolific, most popular blogger in a nation of 1.4 billion people, possibly making him the most popular blogger in the world.

But, wait, he’s much more than even just that.  Hollywood triple threats — model/actress/singers and writer/producer/actors — have nothing on Han Han.  In addition to his blogging and rally-car driving, the impresario also dons the monikers best-selling author, literary magazine publisher, and singer…for now (surely, actor is soon to follow).

Suffice it to say, for more than 10 years, Han has “smashed his name” into Chinese literary history with five published novels, numerous essays, and a blog that receives some 300 million hits a month. He’s a super-star among the Post-80’s (children born in the first decade of the one-child policy from 1980-1989) “netizens” of China.

In September 2010, the British magazine, New Stateseman, declared Han the 48th “Most Influential Figure” in the world.

But Han Han has has some public relations problems, too. Sure, he’s got throngs of fans, articles of adulation, and a considerable amount of fame — a very resourceful high school dropout indeed. But alas, as is the case with many a celebrity, the attention has also brought criticisms and accusations of fraud.

Which brings us to Fang Zhouzi.

Meet Fang Zhouzi

A biochemist/popular scientific writer/founder of New Threads, Fang Zhouzi — not to be outdone in the triple threat category game — is also a muckraking science-cop who is sleuthing the academic world for alleged academic corruption.

Fang is his name and finding fraud is his game.

Tabloid Worthy Online Defamation Lawsuit: Fang’s Internet Hate-On For Han Han

By virtue of his many successful pursuits, Han Han has drawn criticism and speculation on his prolific oeuvre.  People wondered, “How can someone create such an abundant amount of writing with his many interests?”

Fang tried to answer this question with ghostwriting accusations, proposing that Han’s father, Han Renjun, a novelist and magazine writer, was the actual author of his son’s body of prose.

Inquisitive? Perhaps. But it’s not a far-fetched idea for China’s very own James Randi.  After all, let’s be honest, ghostwriting is done on a fairly regular basis among the celebrity elite — (I mean, have you noticed that Biden never gaffes in his emails?).

Tabloid Worthy Online Defamation Lawsuit: Han Initiates A Legal Fight With Fang

Best known for his writing and not to be taken lightly, Han Han has declared that critiquing him is one thing, but if you call him on ghostwriting, you’ve got a libel lawsuit coming your way.  True to his word, Han filed a defamation claim, against Fang and a second defendant, Liu Zeming, for the comments he made on the Fang’s website, in the Putuo District People’s Court. Not one to “go-small,” Han actually filed two defamation lawsuits against his opponents.

It was big news in Shanghai when the court accepted the suit. The online defamation duel between Han and Fang was on, but then Han pulled the claim one day later. Huh, Han?

Tao Xinliang, an attorney for Han, explained in a statement the reason for reversal: Han “didn’t want any ordinary netizens to be involved in the case because they just commented or forwarded microblogs.”

However, now, the status of the second lawsuit is in question.  According to court officials at Jinshan court, where the new claims were to be filed, all the court materials have been withdrawn.  The defamation lawsuit against Fang seems to have materialized and disappeared, like an illusion.

I’m sure this is not the end of this online defamation showdown. To keep up with all the juicy tid-bits, slap your email address on our Internet law-newsletter sign-up form and get the latest Han Han updates delivered directly.

(Oh, and of course, if you’re in need of an online defamation lawyer, give me a shout.We’ve helped many with their various Internet defamation issues.)


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