October 12, 2012 / 7:44 AM / 5 years ago

China Nobel winner Mo Yan hopes for jailed laureate's freedom

GAOMI, China (Reuters) - Chinese Nobel Literature Prize winner Mo Yan said on Friday he hoped jailed compatriot Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize two years ago, would be freed soon.

“I hope he can achieve his freedom as soon as possible,” Mo told reporters in his hometown of Gaomi in the northern province of Shandong.

Mo, 57, said he had read some of Liu’s literary criticisms in the 1980s, but that he had no understanding of Liu’s work once it had turned towards politics.

Mo Yan is a pen name which means “don’t speak”. He had come under fire from dissidents for shying away from commenting on Liu’s plight.

Liu, jailed in 2009, is serving an 11-year sentence for inciting subversion of state power.

A number of rights activists and other writers have said Mo was unworthy of the prize and denounced him for commemorating a speech by former paramount Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Sui-Lee Wee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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