CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Is Nobel Prize promoting censorship?

 

HONG KONG (UCAN): Not all Chinese people share the same taste as the Nobel Prize Committee. This was highlighted on October 13 when Mo Yan was announced as this year’s Nobel Laureate for Literature.

Mo, a pseudonym which translates as “don’t speak,” has been roundly criticised by mainland people for failing to support other Chinese writers who have been subjected to censorship by the government.

“In an interview in London, Mo Yan said censorship can help the writing of an author. He protested against mainland dissident writer Dai Qing’s appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair. He also copied the speech of Chairman Mao to commemorate an event for writers that Mao hosted in 1942,” Patrick Poon Kar-wai, the secretary of the Independent Chinese Pen Centre, said in Hong Kong.

“Mo Yan, as vice-chairperson of the official China Writers Association, is one of those who was responsible for censorship of other writers,” Poon, who is also a member of Justice and Peace Commission in Hong Kong, said, arguing that the prize should consider the conduct of the artist, not just the work.

The Swedish Academy hailed the 57 year-old writer for the hallucinatory realism that he merges with folk tales, history and the contemporary. It notes that he has created a world reminiscent of those forged by William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Mo Yan said in London in April this year, “Many approaches to literature have political bearings… a writer can inject their own imagination to isolate them from the real world or maybe they can exaggerate the situation—making sure it is bold, vivid and has the signature of our real world. So, actually, I believe these limitations or censorship are great for literature creation.”

His works include Red Sorghum, The Republic of Wine, and Life and Death are Wearing Me Out.

“Mo’s win brought joy to his supporters,” Xinhua News reported on October 13.

In a press conference at his hometown of Gaomi in eastern Shangdong province, the 57-year-old writer said he hopes his compatriot Chinese writer, Liu Xiaobo, “can achieve his freedom as soon as possible.”

Liu, a writer and political dissident, was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in 2009.

He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, at which time the Chinese Foreign Ministry dubbed the Oslo-based Peace Prize Committee a bunch of clowns!

 

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