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.
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs