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  • Jul 26, 2014
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Mo Yan

Mo Yan, born on February 17, 1955, is a renowned Chinese author. He is the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012. Mo is best known in the West for two of his novels which were the basis of the film Red Sorghum. He was appointed a deputy chairman of the quasi-official Chinese Writers' Association in November 2011. 

NewsChina

China Nobel winner Mo Yan defies critics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 7:59pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 7:59pm

Nobel literature laureate Mo Yan has hit back at critics who accused him of being too close to China’s government, saying in a newspaper interview he does not write on behalf of the ruling Communist party.

The writer scooped the Nobel in October for what judges called his “hallucinatory realism” and has won praise from literary critics, but is also fiercely attacked by Chinese dissidents who brand him a Communist stooge.

I have emphasised repeatedly that I am writing on behalf of the people, not the party

“I have emphasised repeatedly that I am writing on behalf of the people, not the party,” he said in an interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, adding: “I detest corrupt officials.”

Mo Yan hit out at exiled-Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu, who called him a “state poet”.

“I know (Liao) envies me for this award and I understand this. But his criticism is unjustified,” he said. “My political views are quite clear. One only has to read my books.”

In a style influenced by the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mo Yan’s works deal with some of the darkest periods of China’s recent history, and are often infused with politics and a dark, cynical sense of humour.

His latest novel, 2009’s Frog, is considered his most daring yet, with a searing depiction of China’s “one child” population control policy and the local officials who ruthlessly implement it with forced abortions and sterilisations.

Literary critics have said he has dodged censure by deftly avoiding overt criticism of the current authorities. He is also vice-chairman of the officially endorsed China Writers’ Association.

The author is among the estimated 80 million members of China’s Communist party, and re-iterated his insistence that literary merit is separate from politics, rejecting dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s early criticism of his Nobel victory.

Which intellectual can claim to represent China? I certainly do not claim that.

“Which intellectual can claim to represent China? I certainly do not claim that. Can Ai Weiwei?” he asked, adding: “Those who can really represent China are digging dirt and paving roads with their bare hands.”

Mo Yan repeated a statement made after his Nobel victory that he hoped Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, jailed in 2009 for calling for democratic change, could “regain his freedom as soon as possible”.

But he said he was frustrated with repeatedly being asked about Liu’s case, saying that the requests reminded him of “rituals of repetition in the Cultural Revolution”.

“If I decide not to speak, then not even a knife at my neck will make me speak,” said the author, who was born Guan Moye but whose pen name means “not speak”.

Mo Yan said his recent work tackled the question of individual responsibility for crimes committed during China’s tumultuous 20th century. “Few people ask themselves, though: ‘Have I also hurt others?’” he said.

“I was jealous of the achievements, the talents of other people, of their luck. Later, I even asked my wife to have an abortion for the sake of my own future,” he said. “I am guilty.”

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This article is now closed to comments

Camel
meaning, the criteria to be a honest writer is to oppose the CCP. Thats what the public wants.
Hollander323
We all know that Nobel Prize awards are meant to be political in particular for its peace prize. President Obama was awarded peace prize before he has done anything on world peace, Dalai and Liu Xiaobo were awarded peace prize because they were against the communist regime of China, a regime a lot of the westerners don't like.
Nobel Committee thought Mr. Mo Yan was another person like Dalai or Liu who they can exploit to bash China, but somehow Mo has chosen to bring out the problems of China through his story in a rather subtle way. The committee must now be regretting over their decision in picking Mo who is just not someone they have wanted to be.
There are a lot of inadequacies with the Chinese government, but I just don't like the way some westerners treated China with such indiscriminate bashing. These bashings are mostly politically driven.
 
 
 
 
 

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