Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Chinese Dissident Blogger Stabbed During Bookstore Reading

Posted in censorship, internet by allisonkilkenny on February 15, 2009

Times Online

china_stretcher_487440aOne of China’s most famous bloggers was stabbed at the weekend.

Xu Lai, the writer behind Pro-State in Flames, was speaking at the One Way Street bookshop in Beijing on Saturday afternoon when he was attacked, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. He had been speaking for a couple of hours and was answering questions when a fracas erupted.

His wife said that two men forced Xu Lai into the men’s toilet. She chased after them and found that one was holding a vegetable knife and the other a dagger. The men escaped, leaving Xu Lai on the ground with a cut to his stomach.

A report on the English-language blog Black and White Cat noted that “Xu Lai may not have the megastar status of Han Han, but he’s very much an A-list blogger.”

The Southern Metropolis Daily said: “Xu Lai is a low-key sort of person and he’s just a science journalist who wouldn’t provoke anyone. However, there are many things on his blog that can touch a nerve and he has probably made enemies that way.”

The newspaper quoted a witness as saying that they heard one of his attackers say: “You brought this on yourself. You know why we’re doing this, don’t you?”

However, this could also refer to a personal feud as much as to any ideological vendetta over views expressed in his blog.

Mr Xu is famous for his biting and often sarcastic style in commenting on social and political issues. He is an editor at the popular Beijing News daily and his book Fanciful Animals was published last November. His blog is believed to carry many entries penned by other contributors.

Blogs are extremely popular in China, where newspapers are heavily censored. Cyberspace police patrol the internet, swiftly closing sites deemed too risqué, but they remain the most important medium for self-expression in China.