Dissidents attacked Mo Yan’s (莫言) Nobel Prize in Literature as a disgraceful vindication of the Chinese Communist Party’s control of creative expression yesterday, accusing the author of being a “stooge” of officialdom.
However, Mo Yan defended his Nobel prize yesterday and expressed hope for the early release of jailed fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).
While China continued to bask in the reflected glory of the prize with an outpouring of pride that contrasted with the fury that greeted other Nobel awards linked to the country, opponents of China’s government branded it a shameful validation of state controls on publishing.
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) attacked Mo Yan as a government stooge and ridiculed the official response by Beijing, which criticized earlier Nobel Peace Prizes for the Dalai Lama and Liu.
“He will always stand on the side of power and he will not have one bit of individualism,” Ai said, referring to Mo Yan.
Prominent Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng (魏京生), considered by many to be the father of China’s modern democracy movement, criticized the prize as an effort to appease Beijing, which lashed out in 2010 over Liu’s peace award.
Wei praised Mo Yan, 57, as a writer, but questioned actions such as his copying by hand of a speech by late Chinese leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東) — delivered to the Communist revolutionary base at Yanan during China’s civil war — for a commemorative book this year.
In the speech, Mao states that art and culture should support the Chinese Communist Party.
“Just look at the elated hype on the Nobel prize by the Chinese government before and after the announcement. We could tell that this prize was awarded for the purpose of pleasing the communist regime and [it] is thus not noteworthy,” Wei said.
China’s government mouthpieces went into overdrive to praise Mo Yan and his prize.
“Chinese authors have waited too long for this day, the Chinese people have waited too long. We congratulate Mo Yan,” the People’s Daily said.
However, Yu Jie (余杰), an exiled dissident writer, was quoted by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle as calling the award “the biggest scandal in the history of the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
“That an author who copied Mao Zedong’s Yanan text and sang the praises of Mao Zedong can earn the prize — the number of people Mao Zedong slaughtered surpasses even that of Stalin and Hitler,” he reportedly said.
However, Mo Yan stood his ground in a press briefing likely to anger both sides.
He dismissed his detractors, saying they probably had not read his books.
“Some say that because I have a close relationship with the Communist Party, I shouldn’t have won the prize. I think this is unconvincing,” Mo Yan said.
He called his award “a literature victory, not a political victory.”
Mo Yan also defended Mao, who wrote that Chinese art must serve the party.
“I think some of Mao’s remarks on art were reasonable,” the author said.
Looking relaxed and confident, he also courted official anger by saying he hoped that Liu could be freed soon.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a