East Asian Humanities Workshop: "Translation, Disinformation and Wuhan Diary: Anatomy of a Transpacific Cyber Campaign" by Michael Berry

Dr. Michael Berry
Tue February 6th 2024, 4:30 - 6:00pm
Event Sponsor
East Asian Humanities Workshop
East Asia Library, Room 224

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We are excited to announce the book talk featuring Professor Michael Berry’s most recent monograph Translation, Disinformation and Wuhan Diary: Anatomy of a Transpacific Cyber Campaign (Palgrave 2022; Kawada, 2023). Our discussant will be Yang Shuwen (EALC Ph.D. student, Modern Chinese Literature).  

This event will take place on February 6th, 2024, from 4:30-6:00 pm in East Asia Library room 224. Following the book talk, we will be hosting a dinner for all attendees in Knight Building room 102.  

If you would like to purchase Professor Berry’s book at a subsidized price of $10, please kindly RSVP by January 25rd, 2024. If you do not wish to purchase a book copy, please RSVP by February 1st, 2024.  


Translation, Disinformation and Wuhan Diary: Anatomy of a Transpacific Cyber Campaign   

by Michael Berry   

Abstract: During the early days of the COVID-19 health crisis, Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary provided an important portal for people around the world to understand the outbreak, local response, and how the novel coronavirus was impacting everyday people. But when news of the international publication of Wuhan Diary appeared online in early April of 2020, Fang Fang’s writings became the target of a series of online attacks by “Chinese ultra-nationalists.” Over time, these attacks morphed into one of the most sophisticated and protracted hate Campaigns against a Chinese writer in decades. Meanwhile, as controversy around Wuhan Diary swelled in China, the author was transformed into a global icon, honored by the BBC as one of the most influential women of 2020 and featured in stories by dozens of international news outlets.This book, by the translator of Wuhan Diary into English, alternates between a first-hand account of the translation process and more critical observations on how a diary became a lightning rod for fierce political debate and the target of a sweeping online campaign that many described as a “cyber Cultural Revolution.” Eventually, even Berry would be pulled into the attacks and targeted by thousands of online trolls.This book answers the questions: why would an online lockdown diary elicit such a strong reaction among Chinese netizens? How did the controversy unfold and evolve? Who was behind it? And what can we learn from the “Fang Fang Incident” about contemporary Chinese politics and society? The book will be of interest to students and scholars of translation, as well as anyone with special interest in translation, US-Chinese relations, or internet culture more broadly.