China’s Nobel winning novelist Mo Yan targeted by growing band of online nationalists

by Yuanyue Dang at

When Guan Moye – better known by his pen name Mo Yan – became the first Chinese citizen to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2012, he was the pride of the nation.
The prize seemed to defy what many in China regarded as the Nobel Foundation’s long-standing anti-Beijing ideology and its tradition of celebrating dissidents of the ruling Communist Party.

When Chinese-born Gao Xingjian won the prize in 2000, he was a French citizen whose work had been banned in China since the 1980s. He never returned to China after he offended Beijing by sympathising with the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Guan is no dissident. He is part of a state-funded association of writers and spent five years on the country’s top political advisory body.

His novels paint a nuanced portrait of Chinese society, and while they include criticism of China’s family planning policy, those works seem to have stayed within the red line set by Beijing.