Shanghai -- Edgy Chinese author Han Han is fighting a court order to repay an advance for a rejected book, newspapers said Wednesday, in a case that questions whether writings posted on a personal Web log can legitimately be regarded as literature.
Edgy Chinese author Han Han is fighting a court order to repay an advance for a rejected book, newspapers said Wednesday, in a case that questions whether writings posted on a personal Web log can legitimately be regarded as literature. [baidu.com]
Publishing house Hantu claimed that Han's text for "Poison 3" fell short of the agreed length and mainly contained freely downloadable writings from his blog that had no commercial value.
Shanghai's No. 1 Intermediate Court this month upheld an arbitration committee's ruling that Han pay the publishing company a settlement of US$51,850.
"These scraps don't constitute a text worth almost US$115,000," Hantu's lawyer Huang Xiao was quoted as saying by the Shanghai newspaper Youth Daily, referring to the total amount Han was due to receive for the book.
Han, whose lawyer filed an appeal Tuesday to overturn the Shanghai court's decision, said his agreement with Hantu had specifically called for a compilation of his blog writings filled out with additional commentaries and drawings.
Han's blog comprises brief essays, diary entries, photos and other snippets of information.
Such works deserved to be published because they had "never been put to paper," Han was quoted as saying by the Youth Daily.
"However, the contract was extremely vague about the content and it's now become a matter of them interpreting it however they like," Han said.
Hantu rejected the text when it was delivered last July and won a ruling from a Beijing arbitration committee in December ordering Han to pay US$51,850 to cover the advance, a penalty and court costs.
When Han refused to pay, the publishers brought the case before the court in Shanghai asking it to enforce the ruling. A statement on the court's Web site said the ruling had been upheld and that Han was given a specific date by which to pay or face confiscation of his assets.
Hantu publishers had no listed phone number or Web site. Contact numbers for Han and his lawyers have not been released, although postings on his Chinese-language Web log said he believed he would win his appeal.
Han, 24, is among the stars of a loosely defined group of young authors labeled the "post-80s" generation, known as much for his irreverent novels as his outspoken personality. His volume of collected writings, "Five Years of Han Han" has been translated into French, Korean and Japanese.
In recent years, Han has launched a second career as a semiprofessional race car driver, causing many to question his commitment to the author's craft.
Last year, he engaged in a prolonged online spat with critic Bai Ye, who had called Han and other post-80s writers hacks whose works had little to do with real literature.