• By The Financial District


A book that recounts life in the central Chinese city of Wuhan while under a strict coronavirus lockdown has been effectively banned in China, its author said in a recent written interview with Kyodo News.

Chinese critics and state officials have been trying to thwart publication of the book titled "Wuhan Diary," whose English version has received international recognition, although the country's authorities have not officially prohibited it, said the 65-year-old local novelist known as Fang Fang, who has been tagged as a “traitor” in Beijing.

The book is a collection of 60 posts from her account on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, regarding daily life during the so-called world's harshest coronavirus lockdown between Jan. 23 and April 7 in Wuhan and what she described as the dark side of the authorities.

In her posts, she expressed distrust in the Chinese authorities, lambasting them for having concealed information about the human-to-human transmission of the virus in the early stages of the city's outbreak. A publisher had prepared to distribute the book domestically but shied away from doing so out of fear of getting pressure from critics, she said, adding that her ability to earn a living as a writer has also been threatened. "The virus spread, thousands of people died of disease, and numerous families collapsed," Fang Fang said. The virus that causes respiratory disease COVID-19 has so far sickened more than 83,500 people in mainland China and killed over 4,600.