China Media Project on June 23 reported that on June 10, the website, a PLA news portal, published an 'attack' piece on the author Fang Fang, whose diary documenting 74 days under quarantine in Wuhan during the coronavirus epidemic was recently published in both English and German editions. Fang Fang’s Diary, in English titled Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City, is an insider’s account of events in the city of Wuhan, the epicentre in January this year of what would eventually become a global pandemic, and it offers details about the crisis and the official response that are highly embarrassing for China’s leaders. The article on the PLA portal titled “The Lightspeed Publication of “Fang Fang’s Diary” Will Only Expose the Truth About More Western “Pot Throwing", alleged that certain “bad domestic media,” principally Hu Shuli’s Caixin Media, have been responsible for pushing Fang Fang’s account and making it a tool for critics of China in the West. It said 'On April 8, the English edition of Fang Fang’s Diary that was promoted chiefly by Caixin Online began online sales on Amazon, and the German-language edition followed closely behind. Overnight, the public opinion maelstrom caused by this “diary” based on hearsay grew more and more fierce. The entire process of translation, proofreading and sales of the foreign language edition of this book was completed within just over 10 days. Behind this “rapid publication” are the obvious efforts of anti-China forces attempting to stigmatize the anti-epidemic efforts of the Chinese people'. The article on the PLA portal levelled five key allegations: (i) that Fang Fang’s Diary is hateful toward China and therefore an “anti-Chinese” work. (ii) that Fang Fang’s Diary was “promoted chiefly” by Caixin Online, suggesting that this widely respected news outlet bears responsibility for the attention given to the work to begin with. (iii) that the “lightspeed” effort to translate the book reveals that it is an attempt by “anti-China forces” to call into question the efforts of the Chinese people to fight the epidemic. (iv) the article disparages and seeks to discredit Fang Fang’s work as third-rate and little more than gossip; and (v) that other domestic media were complicit. The relevant passage states: 'Who could have guessed that this third-rate stage script could prompt such fierce attention domestically and overseas, something that is inseparable from the hyping and promotion done by certain bad domestic media. These bad domestic media promoted Fang Fang’s Diary through Weibo and apps, and even intentionally ran partial translations of Fang Fang’s Diary and interviews with the author on foreign websites, and the editor-in-chief even for a while promoted it once every day, fearing that traffic wasn’t yet sufficient, that things weren’t yet sufficiently chaotic."

(Comment: Such open attacks on domestic Chinese media are rare.)

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