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February 4, 2012

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Writer brings suit over authorship claims

POPULAR young writer Han Han yesterday brought a civil suit against "science cop" Fang Zhouzi at Putuo District People's Court over accusations he used ghostwriters to pen his books.

The court said Han's lawyer presented the lawsuit materials, which will be reviewed by the court to decide whether to proceed with the case.

Han did not appear in court.

Han said in his blog yesterday that he "will quit writing about the issue anymore."

But he reiterated that all the works were written by him and thanked people for their support.

Han added that he wanted to "leave this farce behind as soon as possible."

Tao Xinliang, one of Han's representatives, told Shanghai Daily that they have filed for defamation and violation of authorship.

Tao is renowned for representing clients in intellectual property rights cases.

Filing a case normally takes a week, but could be longer if the court requires more materials from the plaintiff, said Sun Chao, a court official.

The drama began last month when Fang published articles analyzing Han's writing and claimed he used ghostwriters.

Blogger Fang has earned his "science cop" nickname through exposing scientific fraud.

On January 15, blogger Mai Tian published an article raising questions over whether Han owed his success to ghostwriters.

Han responded by offering 20 million yuan (US$3.17 million) to anyone who could provide evidence he hired ghostwriters.

Mai then deleted his article and apologized.

But later Fang opened fire and the online battle spilled over to television interviews, with each questioning the other's credibility.

Han demanded a public apology from Fang and 100,000 yuan for damage to his reputation.

Fang had not responded to the suit by late yesterday, but has continued to make online attacks on Han.

"Writers are those who are most familiar with their works and should easily answer any questions about their works," wrote Fang on his blog.

Shanghai lawyer Fu Minrong forecast that the court will soon accept the case.

Han needs to provide proof that Fang has used words stating that he hired ghostwriters, said Fu.

Fang's job is to prove that all the accusations are real, added Fu. "One can criticise someone," said Fu, "but defamation is quite another thing."


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