It was a busy day on Monday for members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) discussing the work report of the last term of the top political advisory body delivered by 11th CPPCC National Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin.
As usual, the media appeared enthusiastic to "intercept" members deemed outspoken on social issues or areas of their expertise. Mo Yan, the 2012 Nobel Literature Prize Laureate and a a newcomer to the CPPCC, has drawn much media attention with his foray into the political spotlight this year.
As interest among foreign media in China's political events grows, Mo's appearance at the CPPCC session provided reporters with more topics to follow.
Among the three panel discussions held at the Railway Hotel on Monday, only the one featuring Mo attracted a swarm of eager reporters, some who queued for more than an hour to get a glimpse of the writer.
Obsession over him was unrelenting as reporters kept approaching Mo during the session to ask him either for an interview or autographs.
The rise of Mo's international popularity reflects the growing appeal of Chinese culture on the world stage. Though the Nobel laureate remained silent most of the time and politely refused reporters' interview requests, other members busied themselves by discussing problems linked to the internationalization of Chinese culture.
Xu Peidong, a famous Chinese composer who appeared at the same session as Mo, said that as art exchanges between China and foreign countries continue growing, more Chinese organizers have pursued commercial interests instead of artistic values.
"Even primary school choirs want to perform at music halls in Vienna to become famous. Fees to perform there have even increased from 10,000 to around 80,000 euros ($13,000-$105,000), all hiked because of us," Xu said at the gathering.
China's cultural industry was earmarked as an important driver of domestic economic growth in the 18th Party Congress report last November and continues to be a hot topic during this year's two sessions.
Members working in the field have seen challenges exposed by pressure from pop culture such as South Korean Pop star Psy, leading them to reconsider how to make traditional Chinese culture more attractive to international audiences.
They talked about current chaos in the market and also demanded the government change its current administration on the cultural industry.