News / Asia

Chinese Nobel Laureate Mo Hopes for Liu Xiaobo's Release

Chinese writer Mo Yan gestures during a news conference in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, October 12, 2012.Chinese writer Mo Yan gestures during a news conference in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, October 12, 2012.
x
Chinese writer Mo Yan gestures during a news conference in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, October 12, 2012.
Chinese writer Mo Yan gestures during a news conference in his hometown of Gaomi, Shandong province, October 12, 2012.
William Ide
This year's Nobel prize winner for literature, Chinese author Mo Yan, is praised by admirers for his creativity and criticized by others for avoiding offending authorities. However, the author whose pen name means "Don't Speak" broke his silence on Friday and voiced his hope that jailed compatriot Liu Xiaobo - who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago and remains behind bars - would soon be freed.
 
Less than a day after receiving the Nobel Literature Prize, Mo Yan told reporters gathered in his hometown of Gaomi, that he hoped that Liu Xiaobo could "achieve his freedom as soon as possible."
 
In comments likely to be difficult for China's ruling leaders to accept, Mo said Liu should be able to carry on his work. He also hit back at his critics.

2012 Nobel Prize in Literature

Mo Yan


  • Born in 1955, grew up in Shandong province in northeastern China.
  • First short story published in a literary journal in 1981.
  • Breakthrough work was Touming de hong loubo, first published in Chinese in 1986.
  • Seen as one of the foremost contemporary authors in China.
  • The Royal Swedish Academy said his work "with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary."

Mo said that those who have criticized him in the past have not read his books and do understand that when they were written he took on a great deal of risk and pressure.
 
Mo is the vice president of the China Writers Association and a member of the Communist Party.
 
When Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, China criticized the decision calling it a desecration of the prize.
 
At that time the author shied away from commenting on Liu's imprisonment and was sharply criticized for his refusal to speak up.
 
So far, China has rejoiced in the news of Mo Yan's success. And unlike its response to Liu Xiaobo, Chinese newspapers put Mo Yan's story high on their front pages, and called the decision a "historic win."
 
Asked about this stark contrast, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the wide praise of Mo was because of his great reputation in China.
 
Hong Lei says Mo Yan's literary achievements are well known to all. Hong Lei says that two years ago the Norwegian Nobel committee made a decision which seriously interfered in China's internal affairs and violated China's judicial sovereignty. Lei says authorities had every right to firmly oppose that decision.
 
Among Mo's critics is artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who on Friday called the Nobel decision "shameful" because he says Mo Yan cooperates with China's system that Ai says is "constantly poisoning" its people.
 
Zhang Lijia, a Chinese writer who is based in Beijing says that while Mo Yan may have made compromises during his career, she disagrees with his critics.
 
"I don't agree with such views and personally I resent the over-politicization of literature," said Zhang.  "I think that literature should be treated as literature. For many years in China literature has been very politicized, it is part of a propaganda tool, literature should be just literature and his receiving of the award should just be based on literary merits."
 
Zhang says she hopes Mo Yan's prestigious award brings some vitality to China's literary scene, which lags behind the country's economic achievements.
 
Howard Goldblatt, the man who has translated many of Mo Yan's major works into English and helped the author reach a broader audience overseas says it was Mo Yan's life, growing up in northern Shandong's Gaomi that helped give rise to his gift of storytelling.
 
Goldblatt says that while Mo Yan dropped out of school at the age of 10 and grew up in poor surroundings, it was the stories his grandfather and uncles told him that served as his primary education and source of inspiration.
 
"These wonderful tales, all of which he's kept in his memory, all these years, tales of the fantastic, tales of the absurd, tales of boys and girls, these star crossed lovers," said Goldblatt.  "And those have been the core, that and his place, the place where he grew up, Gong Mi."
 
Goldblatt says that like the American author William Faulkner, Mo Yan's home town is the setting for virtually all of his novels.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: 9dharma from: China
October 15, 2012 11:53 AM
Mo Yan is a man deserving common people's trust. Thank professor for his fighting for democracy and human righs.

by: Jonathan Huang from: Canada
October 12, 2012 12:42 PM
Congratulations! Mo Yan, Good job!

I really love his novels. I learned from his Red Sorghum that Japanese were so bad and brutal. Every Chinese should read this book and remember this history.
In Response

by: deijun xiong from: Halifax Nova Scotia Canad
October 15, 2012 4:23 PM
I totally agreed that literature should be simply treated as literature. If western readers want to know more about China, especially what attitude Chinese people have to the hardship, I think the Common World written by Lu Yao should be the best choice. This book greatly influenced a whole generation born in 1970s and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.
In Response

by: Jason from: China
October 14, 2012 11:03 AM
I'm very shameful about that I had never heard him before he won the Nobel prize.But I think most Chinese were the same.Thank you all of you who are friendly to us.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More