A generation of political activists have been transformed by new tools developed on the internet. Here, a leading net commentator profiles seven young radicals from around the world

Han Han a professional rally driver, bestselling author, singer, creator of a literary magazine and China’s most popular blogger. Photograph: Ym Yik/epa/Corbis

The 28-year-old Chinese professional rally driver, bestselling author, singer, creator of a literary magazine and China’s most popular blogger – indeed, possibly the most popular blogger in the world.

What are your greatest criticisms of the Chinese government and the current political climate there?
The Chinese Communist party puts keeping their political position first above everything. Of course, this is the wish of many political parties around the world. For the Chinese government, the reality is that regardless of whether the people are satisfied or unsatisfied, the party’s position will always be secure. However, they are sometimes nervous, sometimes arrogant and this attitude has caused many tragedies.

What impact do you hope your web activity will have on the political system?
Although China has many idealistic journalists and media figures, the media are still controlled and censored. Although the internet is controlled, when compared with traditional media it better reflects reality. Rather extreme views or false information may sometimes appear on the internet, but it’s only because traditional media fail to take the responsibilities they should take. The government might think the internet is really annoying, but I think it actually helps the government.

How do you think internet-based social change is different in China?
The only difference is English-speaking countries treat the internet as technology, while Chinese-speaking countries treat the internet as medicine.

How did you decide the internet was the best mouthpiece for your views? You already had a profile in traditional media, so why not use them?
It’s faster and more direct. It’s almost impossible to publish sensitive articles in traditional media. Even though others might delete your writing online, at least you can publish your opinion completely. I don’t write articles to oppose a specific party or government; my articles could criticise any party. I’m a writer. How can I call myself an intellectual if I can’t write and publish words as I wish?

Why do you feel you can get away with statements against the government that other people wouldn’t?
The atmosphere is not as terrifying as people in the west may think. Sometime my articles do get censored, but besides those who advocate policy changes and democratic reform, the government actually doesn’t often control or censor writers. The writers here have become smarter: they know what to write and what not to write.

How have you dealt with resistance from your detractors, in particular the Chinese government?
They can only censor my articles, not my thoughts. I can accept this type of censorship. It’s a game, and I’m playing by other people’s rules. I don’t think the government disagrees with the ideas in the articles that were censored; they are afraid of the ideas spreading.

What effect do you feel you are having on the political psyche of China’s youth?
I can’t really influence them in any way, but I hope that when the country is one day in their hands they will remember the past and take good care of this nation. In that world there is no capitalism, socialism, communism or feudalism; there is also no westernisation or easternisation. There is only right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, good and evil.

Where will the most radical change brought about by the web be felt in 10 years?
I’ll answer this question in 2013, when we have confirmation that the world still exists. Otherwise my answer now will be rubbish.