We almost never judge British and American writers on their politics alone. It would seem absurd to us if the Somali, Yemeni or Pakistani victims of Barack Obama’s drone assaults, miraculously empowered with a voice in the international arena, accused the US president’s many literary fans of trying to put a human face on his unmanned killing machines; or if they denounced Ian McEwan, who once had tea with Laura Bush and Cherie Blair at 10 Downing Street, as a patsy for the Anglo-American nexus that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions more. Nevertheless, they would not be wrong to detect an unexamined assumption lurking in the western scorn for Mo Yan’s proximity to the Chinese regime: that Anglo-American writers, naturally possessed of loftier virtue, stand along with their governments on the right side of history.
To all websites nationwide: In light of Mo Yan winning the Nobel prize for literature, monitoring of microblogs, forums, blogs and similar key points must be strengthened. Be firm in removing all comments which disgrace the Party and the government, defame cultural work, mention Nobel laureates Liu Xiaobo and Gao Xingjian and associated harmful material. Without exception, block users from posting for ten days if their writing contains malicious details. Reinforce on-duty staff during the weekend and prioritize this management task.
Of course I care about politics, and I write about things that I see that I think are wrong – but I also think that the writer should not just be a political activist, a writer should be a writer, first and foremost.