10/15/2012, 00.00
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The PEN Centre sides with Mo Yan, but asks him for "more commitment" for freedom

The prestigious group, which brings together the best contemporary Chinese writers "unaffiliated" with the government welcomes the call for Liu Xiaobo's freedom pronounced by the new Nobel prizewinner for Literature. But invites him to clarify his life and the dichotomy between the great realist writer and the "too offical" author.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese PEN Centre, the independent organization that brings together the best writers of contemporary China "unaffiliated" with the government, praised the Nobel prizewinner for Literature Mo Yan and his call for the release of his "colleague" Liu Xiaobo, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. However, the group, of which Liu is honorary president, has also asked Mo to "clarify" some of his positions and to "resolve" the contradictions between his work and his personal life.

Immediately after the proclamation of the award of the Prize to Mo - known for such masterpieces as "Red Sorghum" and "Transformations" - some overseas Chinese dissidents criticized Stockholm's choice, defining the writer "too close" to the communist regime. Among the most vocal critics is the architect Ai Weiwei and the author of the "Democracy Wall", Wei Jingsheng. The next day, Mo responded by asking the Chinese government for the release "as soon as possible" of Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned since December 2010.

A statement issued this morning by the PEN reads: "Our organization would like to thank Mo Yan for his call for the release of Liu Xiaobo. We also ask the writer to join us and focus on the freedom of speech and expression in China, especially in regard to other writers such as Liu Xiaobo, who have been jailed."

In conclusion, the group "noted with regret" that Mo Yan had been "neglecting for a long time the PEN Centre's purpose of safeguarding the freedom of speech for writers. There's a big difference between the realistic tendencies of his works and the political personality of an official writer. It is a contradiction that needs to be clarified, because it has caused wide controversy after his winning of the Nobel Prize."



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