HU FAYUN (1949— )
HU FAYUN (1949— ). Fiction and prose writer. Born in Wuhan, Hu Fayun graduated from Wuhan University with a B.A. in Chinese. He has worked as a welder, an accountant, and an office worker, and has spent several years in the countryside. Among his stories are “Si yu hechang” (Death from a Chorus), “Yinni zhe” (The Recluse), “Laohai shizong” (The Disappearance of Laohai). His best-known work is Ruyan@sars.com, a novel hailed by some critics as the most profound work of literature in China today and its author as the conscience of the Chinese intellectual. The protagonist is a middle-aged widow whose writings published on the Internet jeopardize her relationship with the man she loves since they pose a threat to his political career. While SARS plagues Chinese cities, a struggle unfolds between the powers of the government on the one hand and the liberal, antiestablishment forces on the other. The most severe criticism, however, is reserved for China’s educated elites and their cynicism and cowardice. For its condemnation of Chinese politics and culture, Hu initially had difficulty finding a publisher willing to take the risk, and the novel only came out in book form three years after it was first posted online.