As Mo Yan accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature this week - the first Chinese author to receive it - while carefully attempting to stay out of political controversy, it may be appropriate to post this, which I wrote a couple of years ago but never got round to completing at the time:
Beijing, 8 October 2010 - Foreign Office spokeswoman Jiang Yu, her characteristic beaming smile even broader than usual, today expressed the Chinese government's pleasure at the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo. "The entire nation shares in congratulations on the award of this great honour to Liu, whose tireless work for human rights and democracy in China has endeared him to so many of our people" Jiang said. "A prestigious international honour given to any Chinese citizen is a matter of national pride for China."
Sadly the above is of course not the way it went - instead the stern-faced Jiang delivered her usual predictable lecture about not interfering in China's international affairs, and how it was shameful that such an honour should be given to someone China regards as a criminal. (Curious how many Nobel Peace Prize winners have been regarded as criminals by their own country's governments in their time - Nelson Mandela, for example - not that I agree with all the Prize Committee's dubious decisions.) Incidentally, if China considers Tibet part of China, then wouldn't that make Liu not the first, but the second Chinese national to receive the Nobel Peace Prize - the first being another notorious "criminal", the Dalai Lama?