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Chinese dissident labels recent Nobel Literature Prize winner a 'state poet'

Published time: October 14, 2012 10:20
Edited time: October 14, 2012 14:20
Chinese author Mo Yan (AFP Photo / Ed Jones)

Chinese author Mo Yan (AFP Photo / Ed Jones)

Dissident Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, who lives in Germany, reportedly described his celebrated compatriot Mo Yan, China's first Nobel Prize-winning author, as a "state poet" cozy with the ruling communist regime.

­Mo Yan is "a state poet [who] withdraws to his world of craftsmanship whenever necessary," Liao said in an interview with Der Spiegel. “I was shocked.”

Liao said he was asked by friends in China whether "the West sees itself as an extension of the Chinese system" after the the coveted Nobel Literature Prize was awarded to Mo Yan, an ardent defender of Communist Party founder Mao Zedong.

Mo Yan has come under a flurry of criticism from activists who accused him of being a government mouthpiece. He has publicly defended Mao Zedong, founder of the country's ruling Communist Party, who wrote that Chinese art must serve the party,  AFP reported.

The Swedish Academy earlier explained that Mo Yan's work “merges folk tales, history and the contemporary with hallucinatory realism."

"He has a large readership and he addresses the human condition in a way in which the Nobel Committee likes to see," Swedish Academy head Peter Englund said.

'Mo Yan' is a pen name, translated as “don’t speak.” Born Guan Moye in 1955, the wordsmith won international acclaim for his book 'Red Sorghum: A Novel of China.' The story chronicled the brutal events of the Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s, and was adapted for silver screen. The movie version won the Golden Bear at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival.