News / Asia

Chinese Nobel Writer Takes on Critics

Mo Yan speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm December 7, 2012.Mo Yan speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm December 7, 2012.
x
Mo Yan speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm December 7, 2012.
Mo Yan speaks at the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm December 7, 2012.
William Ide
Chinese Nobel laureate Mo Yan lashed out at his critics during his Nobel lecture to the Royal Swedish Academy, just days before he receives the prestigious international award.  Criticisms of the author and what some argue is his support of China’s authoritarian government have been increasing in the run up to Monday’s Nobel award ceremony.

Since he arrived in Stockholm, Mo Yan’s march toward his Nobel award has been very much a balancing act, with some supporting the author’s long-held argument that he is independent, and others casting him as a pawn for the Chinese government.
 
There have been those who hoped he would say more about the plight of Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese citizen who launched a manifesto for democratic change called Charter 08. Liu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and continues to serve an 11-year sentence for his crime of speaking out.
 
China blacked out any coverage of Liu’s award, however, in China’s state-run media, Mo Yan has been treated like a national hero.
 
Herta Miller, the 2009 winner of the Nobel literature prize has called the jury’s choice of Mo Yan a “catastrophe.”
 
But there are those who argue that Mo Yan's work has been critical of Chinese government policies.

Mo's defense
 
In his speech, Mo Yan argued the criticisms are more about what others think about him and not who he really is.
 
Mo Yan says that the announcement of his Nobel Prize has led to controversy. He says that while he originally thought that he was the target of those criticisms, he realized in the end it was a person who had nothing to do with him.
 
The author says that if people really want to understand him, they should read what he has written.
 
He says that while words can be whisked off by the wind, the written word can never be obliterated. He says that he would like it if others could find the patience to read his books. Something, he adds, that he cannot force others to do, and does not believe it might necessarily change their view of him as well.
 
Most of Mo Yan’s address to the Swedish Academy focused on how he became an author and the sources of his inspiration for writing. He praised his illiterate mother several times during the address.
 
Mo Yan says that while his mother was a person who held people who can read in high regard, she also worried often that her son’s gift for talking could get him in trouble.
 
He says that his mother frequently cautioned him not to talk so much and urged him to be a more reserved, smooth and steady youngster. He says that while his stories brought his mother joy they also created a dilemma for her.

Official escort
 
Obviously, that dilemma is something Mo Yan continues to face. In addition to his family, several government officials are accompanying the author on his trip to receive the prize.
 
When asked about the official escort earlier last week, the Foreign Ministry did not confirm or deny that officials were with Mo Yan.
 
Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei says that Mo Yan loves his country and people, and that China congratulates him on winning the Nobel literary prize.
 
Despite concerns about what Mo Yan may or may not have said, his remarks, such as those during his press conference about how the award was given to him as an individual and was not an award for a country, generated a positive response.
 
Weibo chatter

One user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service praised Mo Yan for having the courage to speak the truth. The posting said that if Mo Yan just flatters officials all the time, he could never be capable of writing any good works.
 
Another user praised Mo Yan’s statement that his winning of the prize was not a political victory, but a literature award.
 
However, Mo Yan’s remarks at the same press conference about censorship sparked a different response. Mo Yan says that while he opposes censorship, it is sometimes necessary - like airport security.
 
One user called the remarks unbearable, while another noted that as long as there is systematic censorship the truth will become lies and lies the truth.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid