The other day, I posted a screen cap of two Google results that popped up when I searched for “Mo Yan”, the most recent Nobel laureate in literature. If you don’t feel like clicking through, it shows two stories: one is “Mo Yan’s Nobel was a ‘catastrophe,’ says Romanian-German laureate” over at the New York Daily News‘ book blog, Page Views. The other, posted a day later, is a story from Chinese news agency Xinhua called “Mo Yan’s works draw praise from Romanian critics”. Unsurprisingly, the report from the government-funded press agency doesn’t mention Herta Müller’s objections.
Some believe manipulations like that are the least of Xinhua’s sins, with allegations being put forward that their reporters in Canada have collected information for the Chinese government. Maybe those fears are unfounded; just yesterday, it was decided that Xinhua’s membership in the Canadian parliamentary press gallery wouldn’t be revoked, thanks to a lack of evidence. The guy making the accusations wouldn’t appear before the executive committee deciding on Xinhua’s status.
With any luck we won’t have to get mired in arguments over freedom of the press. (Or at least not in this blog post.) Instead, I can go back to regarding Xinhua as the kind of outlet whose articles are worth a quick Google.
At least in countries where one is allowed to do that.