By most measures, Tang is a model citizen. The spunky, 4-foot-10 Sichuan native who lives in Shanghai loves her country, pays her taxes, volunteers at a school for migrant workers’ children and is a major fan of one form of traditional Chinese opera. She grew up the eldest of three girls in a rural area where she says the schooling was weak but she taught herself by reading everything she could get her hands on, from Japanese novels to political treatises about the Middle East.
She posted a blog entry in December titled, “I signed my name after a good cry,” which Chinese censors have repeatedly knocked offline. Nevertheless, it has been widely circulated via e-mail and on Web sites outside China.