Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fang Zhouzi Erased from China's Social Media

For the last decade, Fang Zhouzi has focused on his scientific writings and debunking efforts in the expanding cybersphere of China's social media. He has quickly acquired a huge fan base. His several accounts usually have hundreds of thousands followers.

Until last night (Beijing time).

A few days ago, China's President Xi Jinping (习近平) praised a relative unknown young author by the name of Zhou Xiaoping (周小平) as an exemplary artist of China, dramatically raising the latter's profile. His works are now being actively circulated and caught the attention of Fang Zhouzi.

It turns out that Zhou Xiaoping had previously written a blog post attacking Fang Zhouzi during the affair of debunking Dr. Xiao Chuanguo, which was well documented on this site. But more interestingly, Zhou Xiaoping had also written an essay titled "The American Dream Crashed," describing what he termed as the miserable realities of living in the USA.

Fang Zhouzi found the essay full of factual errors. He wrote a detailed rebuttal, accusing Zhou Xiaoping had "sleepwalked" America instead. Fang Zhouzi's article cites each of the "facts" from Zhou Xiaoping and debunks them with detailed references.

After Fang Zhouzi published his article, it started to circulate in the social media quickly. But almost as quickly, they started to disappear. Then, Fang Zhouzi found himself being denied access to his own social media accounts. Within half an hour or so, the accounts have been removed from across at least three major social media sites.

Quite literally, Fang Zhouzi has been erased.

Ironically and perhaps fittingly, the article Zhou Xiaoping penned years ago attacking Fang Zhouzi was titled "When the World is Rid of Fang Zhouzi, We will have Harmony" (当世上没有方舟子,天下就和谐了).

Fang Zhouzi has now moved to Twitter (@fangshimin), which is beyond the control of the Chinese government but also beyond the reach of his millions of fans inside the Great Firewall.