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Herta Muller calls Mo Yan's Nobel win 'a catastrophe'

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(Read caption) Since the win, Mo Yan, the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, has been accused of compromising his independence by being a member of the Communist Party and vice president of the official writers association.

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Nobel Prize laureates will always have their detractors – it’s a given considering the eminence of the award – but rarely have the detractors been as critical as those of Mo Yan. After the Chinese novelist’s 2012 win, critics have been emerging from the woodwork with regularity, accusing Mo Yan of complicity with Communist leaders.

The latest criticism comes from 2009 Nobel Prize laureate Herta Muller, who told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter this weekend that Mo Yan’s victory was “a catastrophe” and an “incredibly upsetting choice,” according to the Associated Press.

She accused the Chinese novelist of praising his country’s tough censorship laws and called his win “a slap in the face for all those working for democracy and human rights.”

Known for his depiction of rural Chinese life, and particularly its women, Mo Yan was compared to William Faulkner and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and praised by the Nobel committee for his “hallucinatory realism” that “merges folks tales, history, and the contemporary.”


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