From China Digital Space
Fāng Fāng 方方
Fang Fang is the pen name for Wāng Fāng 汪芳, a Chinese writer based in Wuhan, Hubei Province. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020, she used social media to share her daily experiences under the lockdown in Wuhan, drawing wide public attention. Fang Fang was later attacked on Chinese internet for her decision to have her Wuhan Diaries translated and published in the United States.
Born in 1955, Fang Fang obtained her bachelor’s degree in Chinese from Wuhan University. In 2020, she was a winner of the Lu Xun Literary Prize, a prestigious literary award in China. She served as the chair of Hubei Writers’ Association.
On January 25, 2020, two days after China launched an unprecedented lockdown in Wuhan, Fang Fang began her first hand chronicles of life in the original epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. While not overtly critical of the Chinese government, her firsthand account from inside the sealed city has at times contradicted the official discourse. Fang Fang is also clear on her belief that free expression is essential for both public safety and dealing with trauma. Speaking to her fellow writers, Fang Fang publicly cautioned against praising the government.
The Wuhan Diaries has resonated with many Chinese, who view Fang Fang’s accounts as a voice of rare authenticity. However, it also drew fierce criticism from others who feel that her stories harm China’s reputation.
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