Political Hero of the Week: Mo Ya


Typically when I talk about heroes and hacks of the week, I talk about domestic politics. This week I decided to broaden the scope and go global. This week’s hero is a Chinese writer and author by the name of Mo Yan. On Thursday, October 11, Yan recieved the Nobel Prize in literature, making him one of the few Chinese authors to receive it. More importantly, he is the FIRST Chinese author who is not opposed to the Chinese government to receive the award, thus making his receiving the award publicized in China.

Yan is a crafty writer that infuses fantasy with everyday Chinese life. His literary works are notorious all over East Asia for their truthful depiction of Chinese life while incorporating fictional and fantastical aspects. Although Yan supports the government, he has been known to, in his works, criticize social aspects of Chinese society such as forced abortions.

This brings me to why this is important politically. Yan has indirectly, yet obviously, criticized the social aspects of Chinese society. Even though this is the case, the Chinese definitely support him and his winning the award by publicizing this award and making Yan a type of cultural icon. Previous Chinese authors who have received the award were all open critics of the government and the Chinese government did not make public the authors receiving the nobel prize. Yan is all over Chinese media publications, which is a sign of the Chinese governmental support of him. This is so important for all of China for several reasons. First, it shows that the government is becoming less authoritarian and more open to blurring political party lines. In the past, the government would probably not have supported Yan because of his indirect criticism against Chinese society. Today he has the government support. I would say they are moving in the right direction

This is also important for Chinese culture all over the country. It further promotes expressionism in literature and shows citizens of China that they can express themselves in their own ways. The government supporting independent literature, rather than State approved, is a giant step to the government supporting individual expressionism, and in the end, personal freedom. This one award has shown the world that China may be turning a new leaf.



Information taken from Cnn.com, Foxnews.com, and the Associated Press

1 thought on “Political Hero of the Week: Mo Ya

  1. This is really cool! Do you know any titles of his books? I would love to read one of them. I like how he is having an affect on his society without being antagonistic. It shows us that change can be made, and you can be critical of a government, while still having friendly relations with that government. I think we should follow his example with regards to our civic engagement.

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