• Sweden edition
 
2012 NOBEL PRIZES
Mo Yan to avoid politics at Nobel awards

Mo Yan to avoid politics at Nobel awards

Published: 05 Dec 2012 11:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Dec 2012 11:25 GMT+01:00

Mo Yan has been hailed as a national hero since the prize announcement in October, and his works have rocketed up China's best-seller lists. But he has also had to contend with criticism from activists who brand him a stooge for the ruling Communist Party.

State media reported the writer was leaving Wednesday for Stockholm, where he will give his Nobel lecture on Friday ahead of the prize ceremony on Monday.

Until the award Mo Yan had won critical praise but little mainstream fame for his works, which blend harshly realistic accounts of life in China's countryside with fantastical and sometimes grotesque satire, including cannibalism and orgiastic feasting.

But the announcement prompted Chinese readers to snap up his books, leaving retailers around the country with empty shelves.

He earned royalties of 21.5 million yuan ($3.5 million) this year, the second-highest of any Chinese writer, according to an annual survey.

Gaomi, his home town, announced $107 million in projects to honour him, including a "Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone" and the planting of swathes of red sorghum, in honour of his best-known work, a 1987 novella named after the plant.

State-run media was effusive, hailing him as China's first Nobel literature prize winner, even though Chinese-born Gao Xingjian - whose works were banned in China and who later took French nationality - won the 2000 literature award.

Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed in 2009 for calling for democratic change, was awarded the Peace prize the following year, but officials excoriated the decision as interference in China's internal affairs. The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was also awarded the 1989 peace prize.

Mo Yan himself was criticised for holding a senior role in the state-backed Chinese Writers' Association, and for joining a government-sanctioned walk-out of a German book fair in protest at the presence of dissident writers.

Yu Jie, an exiled dissident writer, was quoted by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle as calling Mo's award "the biggest scandal in the history of the Nobel prize for literature".

Romanian-born novelist Herta Mueller, who won the literature prize in 2009, called Mo's win a "catastrophe," saying: "He celebrates censorship. It's extremely upsetting."

But Mo surprised his critics when he mentioned Liu Xiaobo at a press conference in October. "I hope he can gain freedom as early as possible," he said.

He strove to separate his work from politics, saying that his Nobel win was "a literature victory, not a political victory".

Mo Yan has long trodden a fine line between criticising China's political establishment and cooperating with it, said Ma Xiangwu, a literature professor at the People's University in Beijing.

"For a long time Mo has occupied a position within the system, but not totally within it," he said. "His works are often very critical of society and politics -- he's too complex to be put in a box."

In keeping with that, he said there was "absolutely no chance" Mo would refer to Liu in his Nobel lecture.

"He won't mention sensitive issues during his speech. I think he will be quite moderate. I don't think he will directly criticise the government... but I also don't expect he will heap extravagant praise on China," he added.

In an open letter published Tuesday, more than 130 past Nobel winners urged the Chinese Communist Party's new chief Xi Jinping to release Liu.

The sensitivity of the issue is such that Wei Yingjie, an author and book critic, declined to mention Liu Xiaobo by name.

"It is possible that the Writers' Association and government officials will remind Mo Yan not to mention sensitive topics during his speech," he said.

"I don't think there is a big chance he will mention him of his own accord. He has already said more than Chinese web users are permitted to say online."

AFP/The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

17:59 December 5, 2012 by samwise
if he really doesn't like politics, why bother to be a communist official? by the way, calling communism evil is no politics, it's plain human conscience.
Today's headlines
Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing
Photo: AP

Zlatan scores hat trick in PSG thrashing

Champions Paris Saint-Germain thumped Saint-Etienne 5-0 as Bordeaux saw their 100 percent record at the start of the Ligue 1 season ended on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against Bastia. READ  

Sweden reports suspected case of Ebola
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden reports suspected case of Ebola

Officials at a Stockholm hospital reported that they had found a suspected case of the Ebola virus on Sunday night. READ  

Flash floods cause chaos in southern Sweden
A car in Malmö on Sunday. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Flash floods cause chaos in southern Sweden

The Skåne region of southern Sweden was hit suddenly by extreme rains on Sunday morning, with houses flooded, buses evacuated, and people having to swim to safety from their cars. READ  

Fit-again Ibrahimovic set for PSG return
Photo: TT

Fit-again Ibrahimovic set for PSG return

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to make his comeback for Paris Saint-Germain against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday after two weeks on the sidelines with an abdominal muscle injury. READ  

Military raises readiness level over Ukraine
Swedish soldiers in Afghanistan. File photo: Magnus Lindstedt/Armed Forces

Military raises readiness level over Ukraine

The Swedish military said Saturday it had increased intelligence gathering and called in extra staff to its headquarters over the crisis in Ukraine, as the prime minister compared Russia's current behaviour with the Cold War. READ  

Police injured in anti-Nazi protest in Stockholm
Police and demonstrators on Saturday. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

Police injured in anti-Nazi protest in Stockholm

Swedish police said three officers were injured Saturday as they faced a crowd of thousands protesting against a neo-Nazi rally in central Stockholm. READ  

Boy receives cancer vaccine by mistake
Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Boy receives cancer vaccine by mistake

A boy scheduled to be vaccinated against mumps, measles, and rubella instead received a vaccine against cervical cancer. His family has now reported the blunder for inspection. READ  

Sweden grants additional funds to jobs agency
Photo: Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

Sweden grants additional funds to jobs agency

The Swedish government has announced that it will increase funding to the jobs agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) in 2015, primarily to cover personnel costs but also to prevent long-term unemployment. READ  

Police 'powerless' against street racers
Police on E4 highway. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police 'powerless' against street racers

Stockholm police said they were powerless to react when streetracers took over at "insane speeds" on a large highway on Friday night. READ  

Saab carmaker wins receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker wins receivership

After initial rejection, a Chinese-owned company set up to take over Saab's assets after the troubled Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy said on Friday it had succeeded in being placed in receivership. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Politics
How immigration became a key election issue
Society
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

732
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se