Chinese Nobel laureate sued for “beautifying” wartime Japan soldiers

A Chinese blogger who calls himself a patriot has sued Nobel-winning novelist Mo Yan for beautifying soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army and insulting Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, according to his social media post.

In the suit, filed on February 20 and submitted to a Beijing court, the blogger demands that Mo apologize to the general public and pay 1.5 billion yuan ($209 million) in damages, equivalent to 1 yuan per Chinese national. Additionally, he requests the removal of Mo’s books from bookshelves.

The court has yet to accept the suit.

File photo taken March 2013 in Beijing shows Nobel-winning novelist Mo Yan. (Kyodo)

Mo Yan, the first Chinese author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012, is renowned for his novel “Hong gaoliang jiazu” (Red Sorghum). The story depicts bandit culture, the Japanese occupation and the hardships faced by impoverished farm workers in China.

Director Zhang Yimou’s film based on the novel won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1988.

The blogger claimed that Mo’s books “beautified” Japanese soldiers, “distorted” the history of an army under the command of the Chinese Communist Party and “smeared” Mao as well as the country’s heroes and martyrs.

Hu Xijin, a former editor-in-chief of The Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the Communist Party, defended Mo, saying the suit is a “farce” aimed at garnering online attention.

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