Han Han, or better known as China’s most prolific and popular blogger, is a celebrity both in the world of Chinese social media and China in general. The New Yorker has written a lengthy article titled The Han Dynasty, which details Han’s rise to fame and provides some insight into Han’s choice to be so unique and outspoken, in a country that is anything but. He has become what I would determine as simultaneously famous and infamous, because his popularity is due to him writing about his disagreement with the Chinese government and other political issues-which are popular amongst the masses and not so much with authoritarian leaders. It seems that Han’s visibility is due to both writing these things and gives him the ability to write these things, whilst also being famous for his career in racecar driving. But it seems that this other career rests almost entirely on the popularity of his writing, which has funded this pursuit. However interestingly, this career seems somewhat conflicting ethically with his writing career, amid all the sponsorships, but yet the careers have melded to transform Han Han into one of the most influential celebrities in China.
Han’s Weibo account (which I used an online translator to read) has nearly 600 million views and is strangely conflicting when you view it. The first thing you see is an advertisement for Subaru, and its followed by these written accounts about the injustice of the Chinese government system.
However Han’s influence, popularity and power as a celebrity and voice for the voiceless becomes strikingly evident when I viewed the first post, which if you can’t see it, is just a full stop. The views and comments are astounding for something so simple.
Han has even gone to the lengths of choosing to publish his work at times where it is less likely to get censored. In a way his role is that he gives a voice to the voiceless, but at the same time somewhat prevents others from airing their own views because they will not be heard amid his popularity and outspokenness. In a sense the government almost let Han get away with his radical views because it prevents others from trying to do the same. Freedom of speech to me doesn’t seem that radical living in Australia, where we are relatively free from censorship, but I can understand the impact and celebrity status Han Han has in China.