Chinese author Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday, causing a great sensation on the Internet. We should give our congratulations to this mainstream Chinese writer.
Ordinarily, we should treat the Nobel Prize with indifference, as past prizes have tended to be politicized, just like the peace prize.
However, it seems that Chinese society has attached a great deal of attention to the Nobel Prize in Literature and other Nobel prizes. We are surrounded by Western culture's soft power. Previously, Peace prizes for the Dalai Lama and Liu Xiaobo conveyed very unfriendly and even hostile massages.
Gao Xingjian, a Chinese-born French citizen, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000. Chinese people generally believed that Gao was awarded this prize because of the political leanings in his literary works.
Unlike those three people, Mo is a local author in China, and also one of the Chinese mainland's mainstream writers. His win will amend Chinese people's attitudes toward the Nobel Prize. However, a sense of trust toward the prize will not be established anytime soon in Chinese mainstream society.
The award recognizes Mo's literary achievements and status. But could the decision also be a sign of the Nobel committee seeking to mitigate tensions with China after awarding the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo in 2010?
The Literature Prize is not as direct as the science prizes. As China and the West have a delicate relationship, it's natural the award will touch our nerves whether a Chinese citizen is awarded the Nobel Prize or not.
The prize indeed carries some significance. Chinese are granted more awards in non-science fields. This reflects the greater attention the West is giving China. The Nobel Prize is closing the distance with China in its own way.
Mo is a mainstream Chinese writer. This suggests that the West doesn't only embrace individuals that are against the Chinese system. It cannot reject the Chinese mainstream for long. No matter what inspired the award this time, it is a welcome decision. We hope such appreciation of Chinese mainstream ideas can extend further.
China has created many miracles in the past three decades, including lasting economic growth without incurring any wars. This should be recognized by the Nobel committee, which shouldn't only focus on the fringes of Chinese society. It doesn't add to the glory of Nobel Prize if it is at odds with China for long.