Han Han, one of the most widely read bloggers in a country that censors its independent voices, is a rebel who does not really seek to overthrow anybody, a troublemaker who does not want to cause too much trouble. He sees, with dismay, much the same limitations among his readers in China. Looking ahead to 2012, he sees harder times for the Chinese people, but he does not foresee any crisis, nor any hope for improvement from the coming new â€œarrangementâ€ of party leaders, because the people ultimately are willing to accept hardship.
The EconomistÂ interviewed Mr Han in Zaozhuang, at the mid-point of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail line. He had just finished second in a weekend rally race, two seconds behind first place. When he explains why the coming change in Communist Party leadership does not mean much in itself, he underscores his point with racing terminology.
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