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.
    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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.