• Sweden's news in English

Nobel laureate slams Mo Yan literature award

AFP/The Local · 24 Nov 2012, 15:37

Published: 24 Nov 2012 15:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Herta Mueller, who won the prize in 2009, told the daily Dagens Nyheter that she wanted to cry when she heard Mo Yan had been given the prestigious award.

"The Chinese themselves say that Mo Yan is an official of the same rung as a (government) minister," the Romanian-born writer said.

"He celebrates censorship. It's extremely upsetting."

She noted that the laureate had copied by hand a speech by late Communist ruler Mao Zedong for a commemorative book this year. In the speech Mao says art and culture should support the Communist Party.

Mueller, 59, added that handing the prize to the vice-chairman of the government-backed China Writers' Association, while 2010 peace laureate Liu Xiaobo remains in jail, was "a slap in the face for all those working for democracy and human rights."

Liu is serving an 11-year prison term for subversion after he called for democratic reforms to China's one-party system.

The day after his prize was announced, Mo Yan told reporters that he hoped Liu could be released from prison "as soon as possible."

"He should have said that four years ago, or at least two weeks before receiving the prize," Mueller said.

Story continues below…

Mueller was persecuted by Romania's Communist-era secret police for refusing to become an informant, and her work was censored at home. She emigrated to Germany in 1987.

Her novels, notably "The Appointment" and "The Land of Green Plums", describe the terror and humiliation she said she suffered under Nicolae Ceausescu's regime.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:46 November 24, 2012 by redfish
I thought the Nobel Prize for literature was supposed to be about the author's literary contributions, and not their political opinions, no matter what they be. The concept of the Nobel Prize gets tarnished the more politics gets brought into it, so I have to say Ms. Mueller's arguments win no favor with me. I have no idea about Mo Yan's writing though, and why he was chosen for the prize in the first place.
08:20 November 25, 2012 by rolfkrohna
Herta Mueller sounds just another moaner who squeaks and creaks and should probably never have been given the Nobel Price anyway. It is supposed to be a price for skills, not a political lever for agitators. MoYan is highly respected in all quarters in China, even people who don't like his writing speaks highly of him as a person. He is a storyteller, not a political activist. A person who respect others, and in return is respected.
10:41 November 25, 2012 by bluerain303
Has she read any of MoYan's books? What she should criticise about is what he wrote. It is not a Nobel price on peace or human rights,it is literature. Isn't she selfish enough to force every body to hate the communist party because she does?
18:19 November 26, 2012 by samwise
I thought literature has something to do with truth and morality. Maybe I'm totally out of date on that.

By the way, recognizing the evilness of communist regimes is not merely a political view, it's a moral judgement as well.
Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available