Coronavirus: Chinese writer hit by nationalist backlash over diary about Wuhan lockdown

Coronavirus: Chinese writer hit by nationalist backlash over diary about Wuhan lockdown

  • Award-winning novelist and poet Fang Fang accused of fuelling Western criticisms of China’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak
  • Her Wuhan Diary, first published online, is now set to be released in both English and German

A Chinese writer who published an online diary about her life in Wuhan during the Covid-19 lockdown is facing a nationalist backlash on social media with people accusing her of empowering Western critics of Beijing’s handling of the crisis.

Fang Fang, an award-winning poet and novelist, was called a traitor after it emerged that her book, simply titled Wuhan Diary, would be published in English and German. Observers said the controversy reflected the rising nationalism in mainland China, especially among the younger generations.

Fang began writing her diary on January 25, just two days after the central China city in which the coronavirus outbreak was first identified, was put under lockdown.

In it she describes the difficulties of life in quarantine, as well as the spread of the disease and how it wreaked havoc, taking lives and breaking up families and homes.

Her work quickly attracted a large following but she also came under heavy fire, with people accusing her of betraying her country and trying to stir up trouble by giving China’s critics ammunition with which to attack it.