The Internet’s Cyber Radicals: Heroes of the Web Changing the World

As part of a piece profiling seven young “radicals” who use the Internet for political activism, the Observer interviewed blogger Han Han:

What impact do you hope your web activity will have on the political system?
Although China has many idealistic journalists and media figures, the media are still controlled and censored. Although the internet is controlled, when compared with traditional media it better reflects reality. Rather extreme views or false information may sometimes appear on the internet, but it’s only because traditional media fail to take the responsibilities they should take. The government might think the internet is really annoying, but I think it actually helps the government.

How do you think internet-based social change is different in China?
The only difference is English-speaking countries treat the internet as technology, while Chinese-speaking countries treat the internet as medicine.

How did you decide the internet was the best mouthpiece for your views? You already had a profile in traditional media, so why not use them?
It’s faster and more direct. It’s almost impossible to publish sensitive articles in traditional media. Even though others might delete your writing online, at least you can publish your opinion completely. I don’t write articles to oppose a specific party or government; my articles could criticise any party. I’m a writer. How can I call myself an intellectual if I can’t write and publish words as I wish?