Fang Fang

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Fang Fang
Native name
BornWang Fang (汪芳)
(1955-05-11) May 11, 1955 (age 68)
Nanjing, China
Alma materWuhan University
Years active1982–present
Notable worksFeng Shui (万箭穿心)
Bare Burial (软埋)
Wuhan Diary
Notable awardsLu Xun Literary Prize
Chinese name

Fang Fang (Chinese: 方方), pen name of Wang Fang (汪芳; born 11 May 1955), is a Chinese writer, known for her literary depictions of the working poor. She won the Lu Xun Literary Prize in 2010. Born in Nanjing, she attended Wuhan University in 1978 to study Chinese. In 1975, she began to write poetry and in 1982, her first novel was published. She has since written several novels, some of which have been honored by Chinese national-level literary prizes.[1] Fang garnered international attention for her Wuhan Diary, documenting the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, and has used her platform to call for an end to internet censorship in China.[2]

Wuhan Diary[edit]

During the 2020 Hubei lockdowns, Fang Fang used social media to share her Wuhan Diary (武汉日记), a daily account of life in the locked-down city of Wuhan. In addition to her own writing, Wuhan Diary utilized anonymous interviews with other people in the city.[3] The account drew international public attention.[4] In the west, Fang Fang was met with almost unanimously positive reaction. Fang Fang’s publishing house, HarperCollins mentions that her work is a display of courage to expose social injustice, corruption and sociopolitical problems that hindered the response to the pandemic.[5]


Fang Fang—a member of China Writers Association and the former chairwoman of the officially affiliated Hubei Writers’ Association—was considered to be a "politically trustworthy figure".[5][6] However, her daily diary entries that were posted on Weibo, during the 2020 Hubei lockdowns, were met with harsh criticism and ridicule by Chinese netizens. One of Fang Fang's critics is Zhang Boli—a Traditional Chinese Medicine physician— who spent 82 days working in Wuhan's front lines. Zhang criticized those who had expressed "distorted values," including Fang Fang, in an online speech he gave on May 12, 2020, about the national struggle to fight the virus. Fang Fang then contacted Zhang on Weibo for an apology, which prompted a heated debate on the social media platform. Netizens argued that Fang Fang, who resided in her villa and posting her diary online, did not have as much credibility compared to Zhang, who was a doctor in the front lines.[7]

In Wuhan Diary (2020), and also other sources, Fang Fang continuously insists that her diary is not in any way aimed against the Chinese government. In an interview for Caixin, she makes a point that "there’s no tension between me and the country, and my book will only help the country" and that her "diary is by no means about the so-called negative things in China or deliberately peddling misery as misinterpreted by extremists. They take it out of context"[5][8]

Within China, Fang Fang has faced criticism, being labelled as a liar and "traitor" by users on social media platforms such as Weibo due to her perceived criticism of the Chinese government. She has continued writing, however, despite the fact that some of her works have been blocked from publication.[9]


Fang Fang was on the list of the BBC's 100 Women announced on 23 November 2020.[10]

Translated works (English)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^, Article on Fang Fang (in Chinese, Google English translation)
  2. ^ Kiki Zhao (14 February 2020). "The Coronavirus Story Is Too Big for China to Spin". The New York Times.
  3. ^ 方方再发声:关于我日记里的那些“听说” [Fang Fang spoke again: about the "heard" in my diary]. Wenxuecity. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021.
  4. ^ Adlakha, Hemant (23 March 2020). "Fang Fang: The 'Conscience of Wuhan' Amid Coronavirus Quarantine". The Diplomat.
  5. ^ a b c Jandrić, Petar (1 October 2020). "Review of Fang Fang (2020). Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City. Trans. M. Berry". Postdigital Science and Education. 2 (3): 1025–1030. doi:10.1007/s42438-020-00173-w. ISSN 2524-4868. PMC 7376275.
  6. ^ "Fang Fang -". Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  7. ^ Tao, Yingnian (September 2021). "Who should apologise: Expressing criticism of public figures on Chinese social media in times of COVID-19". Discourse & Society. 32 (5): 622–638. doi:10.1177/09579265211013116. ISSN 0957-9265. S2CID 236563309.
  8. ^ "Blog: Wuhan Diary Author — There Is No Tension Between Me and the Country - Caixin Global". Retrieved 20 November 2022.
  9. ^ "Fang Fang: Author vilified for Wuhan Diary speaks out a year on". BBC News. 19 January 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  10. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2020: Who is on the list this year?". BBC News. 23 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City". HarperCollins.
  12. ^ "The Walls of Wuchang". Sinoist Books.
Cultural offices
Wang Xianpei [zh]
President of Hubei Writers Association
Li Xiuwen (李修文)