O-pen magazine (大方) was set up in March 2011 by Annie Baby (安妮宝贝), a popular novelist who got her start on the Internet. On November 1, however, she announced on her Sina microblog that they had received a notice to stop publishing.
The first issue of O-pen is the beginning, the second is the end. The third was going to include poetry and special features. It won’t be unveiled, though. Even though a time is set for a goodbye, the collaboration between colleagues, the searching around to establish a magazine and the support from readers, these have all been valuable gifts. We tried our best. This is something in itself. Thanks again for your support.
In China, magazines need a national periodical registration number, which is a way for the government to control magazine output. Just like other magazines that never got a registration number, Annie Baby opted for an ISBN from a publishing house.
O-pen did not publish anything considered controversial in its first two issues and many of the writers were western or Japanese authors. But some are speculating on the government having other motives for shutting Annie Baby down.
Over the past week, The Beijing News took the view that shutting down Annie Baby’s magazine because she had the wrong registration code was only a pretext.
Its not the first time an online magazine has been shutdown. China’s No. 1 blogger Han Han (韩寒), also a novelist, launched Party in June 2010. But it was shut down after only one issue.
On November 2, Han Han wrote a blog post that was later taken down by the authorities. However, University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project were quick enough with a translation.
I’ve been involved in this work of writing for around 13 years now, and I now understand just how powerless and of no account cultural workers really are. Owing to a richness of restrictions, people in this line of work are unable to produce anything truly special.
Only if you obtain a book license can you publish, only publishing houses can issue book licenses, only the authorities can operate publishing houses, and so from the very fountainhead publishing freely is impossible.