Mo Yan Has “Lost Faith in the Party”

Novelist and vice chairman of the state-run Chinese Writers’ Association, Mo Yan has met with praise and scorn in equal measure since he was award this year’s Nobel prize in literature. He and the Nobel Committee were sharply criticized for giving way to the Chinese Communist Party–until Mo Yan asserted his belief that fellow Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo should be freed from prison. This has not stopped the scrutiny, however. Weibo “VIP” @NoVforMe (@本人无V), who has over 16,900 followers, posted this comment on October 14:

NoVforMe: Call for Proof: This is Too Crazy–Pierre Haski, a reporter formerly based in Beijing for the French newspaper Libération, interviewed Mo Yan in 2004. During the interview, Mo Yan said that he is the child of a farmer. During the Great Leap Forward and Great Famine, he ate charcoal to keep from starving. He thanks the military and is still a Communist Party member–even though he’s lost his faith in the Party. When the reporter asked him when he lost his faith, he replied that from that year onward, he only retained his Party membership to avoid bringing on unnecessary trouble.

本人无V: 【求证:这个太猛了】法国解放报前驻京记者哈斯基04年走访了莫言 ,莫言在访谈中表示,他是一个农民的孩子,大跃进、大饥荒曾因饥饿难忍而吞食炭灰。他感谢军队,他依然是党员,尽管对党已经失去信心,记者询问何时失去信 心,莫言回答从那一年开始,他之所以继续保留党员证,是不想增添不必要的麻烦。

So far, the post has been commented on and reposted over 1550 times and remains untouched by both the author and the censors. Some have replied that @NoVforMe, and the public at large, should leave Mo Yan alone, while others redouble the call for verification of the interview. Still others are struck by the novelist’s courage and humanity, working within the Party system but not supporting it blindly. Indeed, many ordinary Chinese join the Party as a prerequisite to job promotion and for other non-political purposes. Party membership often has very little to do with an individual’s beliefs.

Some readers hang on Mo Yan’s mention of “that year,” a likely reference to 1989, the year of the Tiananmen protests. “That year” was blocked from Sina Weibo search results around the anniversary of the military crackdown this summer.

The following comments were selected by the CDT Chinese editors:

ZEDDD: He sure has the courage to speak.

ZEDDD:真敢说。

charlesxue: I want proof.

薛蛮子: 求证实

Hanjianggouxue: I just heard the same on Radio France Internationale.

寒江钓雪0529:刚也在法广上听到了

esrv: Even if this was proven true, what would you do about it?
esrv:就算证实了,你们又能怎样?

MrKeke: Don’t try to bring out all his dirty laundry just because he won a Nobel Prize. Let him be. Let us enjoy his work.

可可先生:得个诺奖,不要什么都掏出来吧。饶了莫言,让我们欣赏他的作品。

FattyCat: Go ahead and demand proof for this. This comes from a Pierre Haski interview. http://t.cn/zllX3De [link to Rue 89 article, in French]

猫大胖子:来,拿去求证吧。这来源于一个Pierre Haski的采访。http://t.cn/zllX3De

xiniuwangyue: Stop trying to take him down. What is there to prove?

夕牛望月V:别再害人家了,证实什么啊

hasange: You want proof for this thing? Isn’t this just someone speaking honestly?

哈三哥:这东西还要证实吗,这不是大实话吗?

chuguofuxing: Any normal person would say and do the same!

楚国复兴:是个正常的人都会这么说,这么做!

OceanBottomFish110: Even if he did say this, you can’t just bring it up to hurt the guy.

海底的鱼110:即使说过,也不能再提起而害人家了

shluyanling: Which year is that year?

鲁燕玲:那一年是指哪一年?

yogen: It’s definitely 1989.
国际游民林丹–致力室内环境净化:肯定是89年了

IndependentScholar2010: That year, the shadow of a “tractor.”
独立学者2010: 那一年,拖拉机的影子。

kingleiou: That year…
大藏布:那一年……

Wuhezizon: I feel the same way. @Dacangbu: That year…
乌合zizon:同感。//@大藏布: 那一年……

LoneWalker: It started from that year. That year was probably the most hopeless year of them all.
孤独漫步人:从那一年开始。那应该是最让人绝望的一年。

Limingqianye: China’s youngest, most courageous generation was trampled under the wheels of authoritarianism–history written in blood.
-黎明前夜:中国最年轻最勇敢的一代人倒在了专制的车轮下,血写的历史。

OldCowNight: With regards to the tragedy of ’89, I believe, anyone with a bit of a conscience would be like this. It’s nothing to boast about. That day, one of my teachers jotted down these four lines. They shake me to my core: “A night of thunderous turmoil. All were singing and dancing their praises. No one will speak of this again. Even the birds on the eaves make no sound.”
老牛之友: 89之难,我相信,任何稍有点良心良知的,均此,不值得夸耀。我一位老师,当日早上就写下四句,这才叫入骨的厉害:一夕雷霆勘动乱,万家歌舞颂英明。从此莫谈天下事,檐前鸦雀亦无声。

FieldHeart: Now I know why they gave him a Nobel Prize…
FieldHeart:终于明白为什么诺贝尔奖给他了。。。

IamWangFeiFeizhuliu: I never thought Old Mo and I would have the same awareness. But my feelings about this are particularly strong this year.
我是王妃非主流:没想到我跟老莫有着同样的觉悟,不过我这想法今年特别强烈

KneelLong: Chinese-style survival philosophy…
跪久了:中国式生存哲学……

baizhenxia: Authoritarian monarchs love smart elites who don’t cause any trouble!
尊严之子:这样聪明的不添麻烦的精英是每一个专制的君主都喜欢的人!

Xishanqingyu: Does this mean he has a conscience, or that he doesn’t have a conscience?
西山晴雨:他这是有良心呢?还是没良心呢?[思考]

PoisonTongue: Oh, so he’s talking about “that year”! Haha! That sensitive year!
毒舌列文 :哦,原来是“那一年”啊,哈哈!敏感词的“那一年”![酷]

FatLittleSoldier2012: Haha! Let’s all work hard to force Nobel Prize winners get out or go in.
胖胖小兵2012:哈哈,大家努力把大陆诺奖得主不是弄出去,就是弄进去

junjunq: That day during the press conference, whether it was intentional or not, Mo Yan conveyed a sense of his dissatisfaction with and disapproval of the Chinese Communist Party.
JunjunQian–大爱清尘:那天的新闻发布会上莫言其实也有意无意表达这个意思,对gcd的执政不满意,不认同

WuShen: No matter if this news is real or not, anyone who lived through that time period would have lost their faith in everything. And that’s for certain.
Wu申:无论真假,谁经历那样的年代,无论对什么都会失去信心,这是肯定的。

Jingxiguqiao: Mo Yan is probably very conflicted inside. To live within the system, he must compromise his writing.
荆溪孤樵:莫言内心应该很矛盾,要在体制内生活写作必须妥协

TianmahangkongV88: How many other Party members raise their right hands as they take the oath and don’t think it counts?
天马行空V88:还有多少高举右手,捏着拳头宣誓不算数的在党内的人?

JiafeimaoBrother: Now this guy is what I call smart!
加肥猫大哥:他才是聪明人~~

OceanStone1981: Mo Yan wins a prize, and now everything is being dug up. Sigh. It’s tough to become famous in China–even dangerous.
海石1981:莫言获个奖,什么都被挖出来了,唉,在中国出名难,出名还危险

DanGirl61: I believe Mo Yan would say something like this. You can feel the weight of the Chinese people by reading his work.
丹娘61:我相信莫言会说这样的话,从他的作品中能读出中国人的沉重..

USAPrincePerv: Telling it like it is…
USA君子好色:实话实说 、、、

InteriorDesigner: Disaster comes from the mouth, Mo Yan!
装饰装修设计师:祸从口出啊,莫言!

Feichi: If it’s true, it would make people really admire him. On the one hand, he has thoughts like these. On the other, he was able to become the vice chairman of the China Writers’ Association.
廢癡:如果是真的,確實很讓人佩服啊,一方面有這樣的想法,一方面還爬到作協副主席的位置。

FeisiLi: Now I understand that Mo Yan is sick at heart. His name is attributed to all kinds of ideologies and philosophies. That has to be overwhelming. Who knows if one day while he’s asleep he’ll get shot. Show a little caring. Give him some love, and stop tormenting him.
菲斯李:我现在理解莫言的忧心忡忡了,各种思想观点都打着他的名号,让他不堪重负,说不定躺着哪天也被中枪了。保留一点爱心,给他一份关爱,别折腾他了。

GCDCoronationDay: Not wanting to create unnecessary trouble–there are many people who think the same way.
GCD登基纪念日:不想增加不必要的麻烦,也是很多人的想法。

TianmaxingkongV88: So the oath he took under the Party flag doesn’t count?
天马行空V88:在党旗下宣誓不算数?

Huajiuduoduo: You have to swear an oath to enter the Party. But if you wish to leave, it’s not that easy. Especially when your children enter school and look for work, you’re finished.
花酒多多V:入档都是需要赌咒发誓的,要是敢退档,可不是株连九族那么简单的事情,最现实的是在子女入学就业等方面有你好果子吃

EyeOfChild: If this is true, he’s nothing but an opportunist!
童眼稚翁:如果这是真的,那么他就是一个投机分子!

NoHKinHeart: I don’t care about this. The important thing is that he won an award.
心中无股HK:这个别太在意。重在的是他获奖了。

minchaow: It’s not everyday that a Chinese person wins a Nobel Prize. Whatever you do, don’t stop him from going to accept it.
天城云扬:咱中国出个诺奖获奖的不容易,千万别让他去领不了奖。

TianjinLiuTong: It makes sense, not wanting to add unnecessary trouble.
天津刘彤:这个说法靠谱,不想增添不必要的麻烦。

an4001_5lb: When will we be able to remove our masks and speak the truth?
an4001_5lb:什么时候可以摘掉面具公开说实话?

Translation by Little Bluegill.

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