Mr. Yang, whose outspoken writing on public affairs has earned him the title “democracy huckster” among Chinese Web users, said in a public talk at Hong Kong University’s Journalism & Media Studies Centre on March 10 that the Internet has offered “grassroots writers” in China an unprecedented opportunity to make their voices heard.
“Based on my understanding of China’s political situation, I can guarantee that if the Web did not exist I would not find a place to express what I wished to express,” Yang said. “The Internet offers much greater freedom.”
A former official in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the People’s Government of Hainan Province, Yang writes from personal experience — as an institutional insider and later as an outsider living overseas — to reflect on issues ranging from government corruption in China to the country’s long-term development.
His critical eye has not always made him popular at home.