Research and other investigations by Matthew Niederhauser out of Beijing, China.

The New Yorker Han Han/韩寒 Profile: China’s Bad Boy Blogger

"The Han Dynasty" clipping, featuring Han Han/韩寒, from the July 4, 2011 issue of The New Yorker

Han Han/韩寒 is China’s bad boy blogger, pop star, race car driver, lady killer and political-dissident-dabbler extraordinaire. His personal blog has garnered upwards to half a billion hits, and he ranked second in the 2010 Time 100 Poll for the most influential people in the world (granted there was a viral movement in China to boost his rankings). This week Evan Osnos profiled him in The New Yorker and my portrait accompanied the piece (there is a paywall, but Evan posted two related blog entries). Photographing Han Han in Shanghai was surreal. I think he is inured to contrived studio locations so he seemed a bit surprised when I met him on the street and started dragging him around to dirty internet cafes just off the Bund. Still, Han Han went with the flow and fully cooperated despite the ad hoc nature of the shoot. Quite frankly he is really easygoing and always down for a joke. A few people recognized him on the street and at the last Internet cafe we visited where I shot the published portrait, the manager flipped out that Han Han was present and allowed us to do whatever we wanted. Still, his popularity is a double-edged sword. Some people were scared to let them into their establishments while others couldn’t believe their luck.

After shooting Han Han in Shanghai I got to meet up with him one more afternoon at the Zhuhai International Raceway, just outside Macau. He was in full race mode. Bantering with the other drivers and strutting in and out of the pit, Han Han seemed at ease in the air conditioned confines of his sponsor tent. I feel Han Han is actually rather crowd averse. He mentioned that he was working on a new book, but otherwise seemed a bit resigned to his current daily routine – keeping things subdued ever since the crackdown on other outspoken activists around China. There is a boyish air to Han Han, and he is just as pleased to hone his skills behind the wheel instead of injecting caustic commentary into the Chinese zeitgeist. Despite the whirlwind of cars and speculation, Han Han is in no rush and has plenty of time to devise his machinations.

Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses on the Bund with Pudong in the background in ShanghaiHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in an Internet cafe in ShanghaiHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in a traditional longtang in Shanghai

Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, looks down the pit lanes at the Zhuhai International RacewayHan Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, poses with his helmet in the stands at the Zhuhai International RacewayHan Han/韩寒’, the most popular blogger in China and race car driver, looks down the pit lanes at the Zhuhai International Raceway

Han Han/韩寒, the most popular blogger in China, poses in a traditional longtang with some local pups in Shanghai

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5 Responses

  1. waityan

    那个是韩寒的妈妈吗?

    July 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  2. 表示 应该不是吧……

    July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

  3. 不是,在路上见面一个老太太

    July 7, 2011 at 3:26 am

  4. Gudrun Scott

    Hi I live in USA and I just read about Han Han and he is GREAT– I am reminded of the great Chinese philosopher Chuang Tsu who expressed the ideas of Tao. Chuang Tsu is very humble but thinks far into the future and also understands people and politics as well as the importance of nature and he has an excellent sense of humor.

    Doesn’t this remind you of Han Han?

    Mathew, I really liked the photo in the New Yorker of Han Han—- the ironic smile and solf eyes and Han Han is just plain a good as well as couragous person we all want to be.

    July 13, 2011 at 10:44 am

  5. Pingback: Meeting of Styles: Changsha Graffiti Gathering | matthew niederhauser | mdnphoto blog | beijing photographer

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