Han’s fans have made a strong push in the rankings, and they’ve sworn to send their icon into the top 10. But the overwhelming voter turnout shows Han’s influence among his fans, rather than a much larger population across China.
Whether or not the Internet is really a trustable channel to understand China is in question. Han’s blog has registered over 300 million hits since it was started in 2006.
According to the latest Statistical Report on China’s Internet Development released by CNNIC in January, China had 384 million netizens at the end of 2009.
In other words, nearly 1 billion people in China don’t surf the Web, not to mention read Han’s blog. In a nation where most people have never logged online and don’t know how to read a blog, can you really say a popular blogger is that influential a figure?
See also “Han Han is hardly a hero of our times” from Shanghai Daily and “Han Han Included in World’s Influential People: Time Magazine Deeply Nearsighted?” from People’s Daily (Chinese, h/t Inside-Out China).