Monday, July 6, 2020

Fang Fang, Wuhan Antigone

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BEIJING LETTER

Chinese writer Fang Fang in Wuhan on February 22. STR / AFP

Like the Greek heroine who did not want to sacrifice her family for the reason of state, a Chinese writer, Fang Fang, is today dedicated to the gémonies to offer to her brothers of Wuhan, died of Covid-19, the only epitaph worthy of them: the truth.

Fang Fang, 64, is by no means a dissident. Until her retirement, she was even the president of the Hubei Province Writers Association, of which Wuhan is the capital. Most of her books recount with humor and tenderness the life of the "little people" of this city where she has been living for forty years and of which she has become one of the outstanding personalities.

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Prominent journalists and police are among his friends. His latest novel, Soft funeral (L'Asiatèque, 2017), received a prestigious distinction, the Lu Yao Prize, before being severely criticized by the neo-Maoists, who did not support this simultaneously subtle and severe denunciation of the land reform undertaken by Mao in the 1950s.

Authorities on alert

This time, critics didn’t even wait for the book to go on the attack. The mere announcement by Fang Fang on January 25 that she would publish a newspaper in Wuhan, a city under quarantine, on social media, alerted the authorities.

It is true that, by January 26, more than 20 million Internet users had read his first blog, 30 million the following day. As the whole world discovers, hallucinated, this unprecedented confinement of a city of 11 million inhabitants, that no one believes the official media and that doctors are ordered to keep silent, this newspaper appears as the best source of information " inside ". As the social network Weibo closes his account from time to time, Fang Fang finds refuge in the blog section of the online magazine Caixin. For its part, a Chinese woman who lives abroad, Er Xiang, also relays them on the WeChat network.

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Fang Fang will end the newspaper on March 24, when authorities announce the city's reopening on April 8. In her sixty posts, she denounces the lack of masks, overwhelmed hospitals, the carelessness of leaders …

On March 10, the day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Wuhan, she noted: "Don't talk to me about victory. Only an end. "

“There are four parts in his journal. It first describes the weather and its moods, in a very classic way. Then she denounces the attacks against her by ultranationalists who, according to her, can only be protected by highly placed people. She talks a lot about the disease, what she knows about it, thanks to the testimonies she collects and, finally, she talks about her, about her confined life ", testifies Geneviève Imbot-Bichet, who, with Frédéric Dalléas, translates this text which will be published by Stock at the start of the school year, under the title Wuhan, walled city.

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