While many including China's Communist Party celebrated their countryman's receipt of the Nobel Prize for literature, others criticized the winner, Mo Yan, for failing to be innovative or independent.
Mo, who was once so destitute he ate tree bark and weeds to survive, is the first Chinese national to win the $1.2 million literature prize, awarded by the Swedish Academy.
He said the award made him "overjoyed and terrified".
Some of his books have been banned as "provocative and vulgar" by Chinese authorities but he has also been criticised as being too close to the Communist Party.
While users of a popular Chinese microblogging site offered their congratulations, dissident artist Ai Weiwei said he disagreed with giving the award to a writer with the "taint of government" about him.
Mo, 57, who grew up in the town of Gaomi in Shandong province in the northeast of the country and whose parents were farmers, sets his works mainly in the land of his birth.
Mo Yan is a pen name which means "Don't Speak". His real name is Guan Moye and he was forced to drop out of primary school and herd cattle during China's Cultural Revolution.
Speaking to the state-run China News Service, Mo said he was happy to have won.
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