News / Asia

China's Nobel Literature Winner Defends State Censorship

Mo Yan, Chinese winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, demonstrates Chinese calligraphy to a student during a visit to a high school in Lidingo, outside Stockholm, Dec. 7, 2012.
Mo Yan, Chinese winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature, demonstrates Chinese calligraphy to a student during a visit to a high school in Lidingo, outside Stockholm, Dec. 7, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese author Mo Yan, who has been criticized for his links to the country's Communist leaders, defended state censorship and avoided discussing human rights issues as he prepared to accept the Nobel prize in literature.

A visibly uncomfortable Mo, whose pen name means "don't speak," told reporters at a press conference in Stockholm on Thursday that censorship is sometimes necessary, comparing it to airport security checks.

"I've never given any compliments to the system of censorship, but I also believe that censorship exists in every country of the world," he said. "The only difference is the degree and way in which censorship happens."

The 57-year-old author, who will receive the Nobel prize Monday, suggested he would not sign a petition by 134 fellow Nobel laureates calling for the release of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner serving an 11-year prison term for inciting subversion.

Mo, who is reluctant to speak against Chinese leaders, surprised his critics in October when he said he hoped Liu could achieve his freedom as soon as possible. But on Thursday, he refused to support Liu again, saying he had already issued his opinion on the matter.

"I have always been independent," he said. "I like it that way. When somebody forces me to do something, I will never do it. When I want to speak, I will speak. When I am forced to express my opinion, I will not do it.

Joshua Rosenzweig, a Hong Kong-based human rights analyst, said in an interview with VOA that is difficult to tell Mo's stance on Beijing's political repression of dissidents and artists.

"Many people interpreted [Mo's remarks] as sympathetic, as saying he wished [Liu] could be released from prison," said Rosenzweig. "But others have interpreted that as he wished that Liu Xiaobo would not criticize the government and would repent of his actions and therefore be released by the government."

Rosenzweig also questioned Mo's comparison of state censorship policies to those meant to protect against terrorism.

"Censorship in China is designed primarily to protect the state from being criticized, whereas we get patted down on an airplane to protect us all from acts of terrorism or other dangers," he said. "The 'danger' here that the security laws and censorship laws in China are designed to prevent are dangers to the political regime, rather than danger to individuals."

Several Chinese dissidents, including artist Ai Weiwei and activist Hu Jia, have said that Mo is unworthy of winning the prestigious Nobel literature prize because of his political affiliations and reluctance to speak on human rights.

Mo, who was accompanied on the trip to Sweden by a Chinese government official, told reporters that he received the prize because of his literary works, not for his politics.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ChasL from: Seattle, WA
December 10, 2012 2:58 AM
Wow, this coming from VOA, a well known state sponsored propaganda outlet that routinely espouses position on behalf of US government?

Everything VOA says by definition is censored, how ironic.


by: Anonymous
December 08, 2012 7:31 AM
The country isn't equal to the nation.I don't think the PRC will last a long time, but the Chinese will.


by: Guillermo Pussetto from: Montreal
December 07, 2012 10:16 PM
The last thing I would have expected from the Nobel organization is giving the prize to a minor writer who supports censorship and looks away from human rights. For me, this is the lowest point in the history of the Nobel prize organization.

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 08, 2012 12:13 AM
Guillermo Pussetto from: Montreal, you are just another brain washed ignorant. Do you ever read? Did you read Mo Yan's novels?
How much do you know about China?
Let me ask you, in China's airport you dont need to take off your shoes, but in US you are forced to do it. So can I criticize US for violating human rights? yes you have thousands reasons to justify why they do it in US just like China has thousand reason to justify their decision.
again, keep your ugly politics with yourself, leave Nobel literature prize alone!

In Response

by: WEI from: china
December 07, 2012 11:49 PM
i tell you, there is also censorship in VAO!!!! I reply you but my comments was no appear

In Response

by: wei from: china
December 07, 2012 11:10 PM
i don't agree with you, actually in china any person can judge governments on the net. but you don't know the truth.


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
December 07, 2012 1:12 PM
nice said:"he received the prize because of his literary works, not for his politics".
can we keep the ugly politics away from prestigious Nobel price?

In Response

by: John from: USA
December 07, 2012 2:07 PM
The "prestigious" Nobel prize has always been about politics. Don't flatter that pathetic institution. They refused the Nobel in Literature to the Joyce and Borges on political grounds.


by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 07, 2012 10:22 AM
Mo Yan makes a ridiculouse analogy of censorship to airport security. Free speech is not the same thing as airline safety. People do not have a right to travel on an airplane w/o being searched. People do have an inalienable right to free speech. The Govt cannot censor speech & when they do, it's usually to for political reasons to protect their power. Mo Yan's work was not censored by China, but if it had been like so many other Chinese writers, I doubt he'd be such a supporter of govt censorship.

In Response

by: henryyeung from: davis
December 07, 2012 1:32 PM
do you know the saying "the frog at the bottom of the well", first, you have to understand that government security is related to individual security. secondly, a person with high quality has a peaceful heart, do not like to judge who is right and wrong, to some degree, wrong and right is the standard which is thought by the smart people to cheat stupid people. Mo is a real people with high quality. you judge him because you are low and you do
not have the ability to understand him.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid