Chinese Nobel literature winner Mo Yan stated on Thursday that he believes censorship is as necessary as airport security checks. Mo, known for his relationship with China’s Communist Party, also suggested that he has no plans to join an appeal that calls for the release of 2012 Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is in jail.
Mo has been heavily criticized for his refusal to defend freedom of speech as well as for being a member of the Communist Party-backed writers’ association, reports CBS News.
The comments he released from Stockholm on Thursday are unlikely to gain him any new friends among human rights activists. Mo Yan received additional criticism by former Nobel winners when he was named the literature winner for 2012.
The 2009 literature winner, Herta Mueller, stated that the jury’s choice of Mo was a “catastrophe” during a recent interview. She also asserted that the Chinese author protects China’s censorship laws.
The Huffington Post notes that Mo Yan believes that censorship shouldn’t keep the truth from coming out, but at the same time he thinks that any defamation or rumors “should be censored.” He added, “But I hope that censorship, per se, should have the highest principle.”
Mo also declined to answer many questions about fellow Chinese peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo, the Peace Prize winner who was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison after he co-authored a call to end the country’s single-party rule and enact democratic reforms.
China has rejected the honor that was given to Liu, but it has welcomed the latest prize — and author — with open arms, saying that the win reflects “the prosperity and progress of Chinese literature, as well as the increasing influence of China.” Mo Yan will receive his Nobel prize during a ceremony including winners in medicine, physics, chemistry, and economics.