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Friday, 13 October, 2000, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Beijing attacks 'political' literature award
Gao Xingjian Nobel laureate
Gao Xingjian in 1987 after he fled China for Paris
Beijing is furious that this year's Nobel Literature Prize has been awarded to exiled dissident writer Gao Xingjian.


It is a great happiness, a great luck. I have not had time to realise what this will mean for my life

Gao Xingjian
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said: "[This] shows again the Nobel Literature Prize has been used for ulterior political motives, and it is not worth commenting on".

Mr Gao, whose works are banned in China, is the first ever Chinese-language writer to win the Nobel award.

But Jin Jianfan of the pro-Beijing Association of Chinese Writers, said: "He [Gao] is French and not Chinese and the reason he won the award is more political than literary.

"There are hundreds of Chinese writers who are better than him, which proves that the committee is very ignorant."

Mr Jin admitted he had not read any of Mr Gao's works which include Soul Mountain and The Other Shore.

Banned

Mr Gao, who left China in 1987, will receive a prize of just under $1m.


I cut all links with China so that my friends would not have any trouble and be able to speak freely

Gao Xinjiang
The academy said his work showed "universal validity, bitter insights and linguistic ingenuity, which has opened new paths for the Chinese novel and drama".

Asked if he thought the Nobel would help to have China's ban on his books lifted, Mr Gao replied: "It's not for me to decide. It's for them".

He added that he had cut all links with China so that his friends would not get into trouble.

Mr Gao ran into trouble with the Chinese communist leadership in the early 1980s for his avant garde ideas.

His play Bus Stop was denounced as "the most pernicious play since the creation of the People's Republic [of China]".

The Other Shore was banned in 1986 in a crackdown on foreign influence in the arts.

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See also:

12 Oct 00 | Europe
Chinese writer wins Nobel prize
12 Oct 00 | World
Profile: Gao Xingjian
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