Goddess of Plagiarism, Vivibear


One of the ChinaHush readers Jackie wrote to me today suggesting me to write a blog post on Vivibear. So who is Vivibear? Her real name is Weiwei Zhang (张薇薇). Born in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, now married to Sweden, a Chinese-Swedish author became famous by “writing” internet novels. She published sixteen novels in Chinese. All of these novels were later found with various degrees of plagiarism!

Internet is booming in China for the past years, as more and more Chinese people got online, internet literature became very popular among the Chinese netizens. Talented writers can easily publish their articles, novels online and deliver them to the readers. Jackie shared her views on this.

One is the current phenomenon of internet literature, which is ordinary Chinese being able to publish their stories online for the first time, viewable by anyone who has an internet connection. It has lowered the barrier substantially for writing and publishing light novels — as you can see, even middle school students and 70 year old men can put their work up. If there is enough interest and popularity, these books have a good chance of being published.

In a sense it is both a blessing and a curse. Although it opened up more opportunities for aspiring authors, it also allows more trash to be published and read than before.

With the development of internet comes the problem of plagiarism, and Vivibear is an extreme though unsurprising result of this lack of quality control and ethics. Internet articles even blog posts were copied and pasted without trackback links and even without any mention of the original authors. These are common occurrences on the Chinese internet. What’s worse is even many of the novels are part copied from another early published work word for word. According to wikipeida Vivbear was able to avoid being discovered for plagiarism until January, 2009. Before that, “nine of her books have gone into print and prominently placed on bestselling lists at all major Chinese online book retailers. More than a million copies have been sold in less than 4 years.”

Jackie: I believe the stats on the wikipedia website is outdated. The number Vivibear copied has exceeded 400 authors and 500 articles, some of what she copied included requiems and eulogies. Her Taiwanese publisher immediately canceled her contracts, but the mainland publisher kept on renewing her contract, despite of protests from readers and fans of authors she copied. The publisher even tried to profit from the publicity she got when she was whammed for plagiarism by announcing, in their marketing piece for her new books, that she was reported by media worldwide.

This video posted on Sina blog told the story of how Vivabear’s plagiarizing was discovered.

[pro-player width=’400′ height=’300′ type=’video’]http://www.chinahush.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/vivibear.flv[/pro-player]

Vivibear publish over 10 bestseller novels like “Lan Ling”. Because of her writing of pastime novels, she was called “pastime queen” and “new generation female writer”. In last year’s popularity ranking of the Chinese original writers, she was ranked number one among 20 selected authors. Until Jan 30th 2009 one netizen posted a post on Tianya accused Vivibear of plagiarizing. Netizen said, when he was reading one of her novels he noticed the writing was mixed with Chinese simplified characters and Chinese traditional characters. He was curious, so he did a search on Baidu and Google. The result was shocking he found out not only her writing was similar with other published works but there are also paragraphs were copied word for word from other novels. For example Vivibear’s “Search for the Dragon” (寻龙记) had 13 places were plagiarized from famous internet novel “Those Things in Ming Dynasty” (明朝那些事). After this more and more netizens volunteered joining the comparison effort, to search for evidence of Vivibear’s plagiarizing. In less than a month netizens found Vivibear plagiarized 173 authors’ 203 literatures. Even though there were many plagiarizing incidents in China in recent years, plagiarizing in such large scale was the first. No wonder people say Vivibear might have broken the Gunnies world record of plagiarizing. All of her plagiarizing works were from works of internet writers, most of them are not very well-known. However diligent netizens still found the plagiarizing text and compiled a huge list of evidence.

The example exposed on the original post on Tianya was:

From the original novel “Those Things in Ming Dynasty” (明朝那些事)

vs in Vivibear’s “Search for the Dragon” (寻龙记)

Netizens posted a huge list of compiled evidence on Baidu forum. Here is one example.

======Vivbear’s novel《兰陵缭乱》对比================== 
Publish time:2007-09-01 19:31:46

======Original novel《有没有人和我一样?》================= 
Publish time:2007-05-21 14:59:31

So what are some of the actions taken for Vivibear’s plagiarism?

1. Jjwxc.net affirmed plagiarism, says clean up is impossible because portion of plagiarized text is too much. They deleted Vivbear’s account.

2. Myfreshnet: Accusation of plagiarism is confirmed. The accused would not give any apology or explanation. Zhang’s ID and personal column have been deleted.

3. Princess Monthly announced, Issues of Zhang’s latest novel “Fantasy Knight” and “101th Time Runaway Bride” have been delayed due to unspecified reasons.

4. Core Publishing Group: All unsold books by Vivbear have pulled off-shelf. From now on, we will not publish any more of her novels. Please stop all related discussions.

5. yueduji: The CEO has leaned the situation, the company reserves the right to sue Vivbear for plagiarism.

6. On April 26th 2009, Sweden media “The Local” posted “Swedish-Chinese author accused of plagiarism

According to wikipedia, Chinese Copyright Office has not given any replies when questioned about this. Due to difficulty of international lawsuit, no legal actions have been taken against Vivibear yet. On June 1, 2009, Ji Yi Fang (记忆坊), the brother company of Princess Monthly, together with Hua Wen Publisher (华文出版社), released Weiwei Zhang’s “Fantasy Knight”, which had previously been exposed for plagiarism. Marketing campaigns for the new book present news reports of Weiwei Zhang’s plagiarism in various media outlets as a sign of the author’s popularity. And Vivibear continues writing in her on-line blog as usual.

Apparently China’s copy right law is still deficient. Internet literature is yet another category among many other types of intellectual properties that needs to be better protected.

Jackie: I think for internet literature to further develop, it needs to redefine and reorganize itself. For example, a lot of sites now actually allow writer to post fan fictions for commercial purposes… i.e. one must pay to read this. I am fairly certain these writers haven’t paid their royalties to the original authors, and if this occurred in any other continent, they would have gotten their pants sued off.

Thanks Jackie for the suggestion and comments on the interesting Vivibear plagiarism phenomenon. “It reveals so much of the mentality of some of Chinese youths, the government stance on issues like this, and the mode of operations for a lot of business in China”


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  2. The world record holder for plagarism. Now thats an accomplishment! Is there anyone who can out do her? Someone to step up to the challenge? Infamy also has its rewards!

  3. So, not having read her novels, what’s the difference between her and Shakespeare, who stole nearly every idea in his plays from other sources? Forgive the ignorant…

  4. @Jay

    I doubt anyone can beat her record. For plagiarism this massive, her editors and her publishers had to have known, but instead they just kept quiet. You won’t meet many publishers like that. Or I hope there aren’t.


    The differences are without the plagiarized tracts, she writes about as well as an fifth graders, and she copied entire paragraphs word for word, in addition to “ideas”….if mass produced romance can be said to have “ideas”

  5. Acctually, the number of authors has reached 400 and that of literatures 500 according to the new comparaison.

    1. I think you should check the meaning of plagiarism first…then you would understand that they are not “her” novels…

  6. Why do you criticize vivibear? Ordinary people can not copy that good . If the original author well written, why they not famous?

    They should be grateful famous vivibear “copy” their work. If vivibear not copy, who knows what they are?

    Are you jealous of her? I still like her.

    1. r u kidding me? u should not say someone else is a great person just by ur guessing right?
      by the way, how do u know all of those 400+ original writers r not as popular as she does?? in addition, do u have any evidence to prove that those 400+ original auters are willing to let vivibear copy their works?
      well, even what u said is ture, some of these original writers are not famous, but it doesn’t mean that what she did is right!! everyone knows that she had no right to copy anyone’s books and works to her own books without the annotation!!
      so, the evidence is the evidence!
      i searched all of those evidences online.the evidence shows that vivibear sucks, because she is a plagiarizer, and she’s refusing to apologize to original writers and their fans. as an adult, she is the absolutely shameless one!!!

  7. Vivibear is my idol, you say there was evidence that she copy? On what basis? I say that at best is a reference work. Many people copy other people’s, right? What is your right to criticize Vivibear? You are only jealous of her talent! You dare to swear that you do not copy? Strongly despise those who criticize Vivibear, support Vivibear! What’s your phone number?! No matter what you say, Vivibear in my mind was the best!

    Even if vivibear copied, those original author should thank her. If not for the well-known vivibear fancy their works, they now have no name.

    1. You did not see the “plagiarism list” and the evidence clearly, did you?
      More than 400 authors whose over 500 novels had been plagiarised by Vivibear, and the list can be found if you enter the keywords –“vivibear 抄袭” in Google Search Engine or go to the sina blog whose link had been showed in this news. A news would not tell you the detail, some work should be done by yourself, ok?
      I don’t agree with your idea that “Many people copy other people’s” just because plagiarism will deny the low, and most of people is observe law and discipline. Vivibear has no shamed that she plagiarized so many novels and she even abused the original authors as “fool””rubish””korkad”.
      Also, the readers have the right to criticize Vivibear, because she is the “author” and she cheat the readers! I think you can read Chinese words since you admire her, therefore, you can see the evidence by yourself, and you will get the reason that why people call her “goldness of plagiarism” instead of “normal plagiarism”.
      If she has the talent, she had no use for plagiarism, ok? No one would jealous a cheater, and your accuse of jealous can only reflect your timid.
      You are so pitty, “No investigation, no right to speak”, dare you analyze all of her news and plagiarism evidence?
      You are so pitty, “those original author should thank her”, the one who has been stolen by a theif should thank the thief? Maybe you are come form an abnomal place where crime is commended. Well, what a pitty!

    2. what kind of losers asking ppl’s phone number instead of finding the truth by themselves???
      it’s pathetic for a person live in a lie, but maybe it great for you!
      u know, at least you don’t need to open ur mind or use your brain to think ~~ great huh?

    3. well-known vivibear?

      What does the “well-known” mean for you?
      For me, J. K. Rowling is one of the well-known writers. vivibear? Never!
      It seems that you haven’t read many books except hers. Maybe you don’t have many friends too, or only a few friends who just as naive as you do. That’s why you think she is a well-known writer.
      Tell you the truth, there are much more people don’t even know who she is before the news reported her plagiarizing. I’m one of them. Besides, most of my friends have never heard about her before. So, I don’t think she is that kind of “well-known” to us!
      Then, you can take back your stupid thinking! Because no one is going to thank what she did!She only can be the most notorious thief who stole hundreds people’s work!!

  8. greatvivi,
    U R NC LOLI!!!!!!!!!!!
    THAT’ ALL!!!!!!!


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