Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China

Pen America's report looks at a variety of questions, including the impact of social media censorship on China's fiction writers. Here's an excerpt:

Case Study 3: Chinese Novelist Murong Xuecun

Murong had 8.5 million followers on his Weibo microblog accounts before they were shut down. He attempted to set up new accounts, which were repeatedly shut down as well. The effort of continually trying to evade the censors, Murong shared with PEN America, eventually “wore him out.” Supporting himself with his writing might have been possible if he had continued to toe the Party line through self-censorship. But having made the choice to speak out, Murong’s once-promising literary career is on indefinite hold.

“I sell fresh fruit online and deliver the fruit to my customers now,” he said. “My online store is called ‘Murong Mai Gua’ (Murong sells melons). I am working on my next novel, but I don’t know if it can be published. Four years ago, all my previously published books were pulled off bookstore shelves and I lost the ability to make any money from writing in China,” he told PEN America.


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