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Chinese students will study laureate's works (2)

By Cheng Yingqi and Luo Wangshu (China Daily)

08:31, October 15, 2012

The decision, made two days after the announcement of Mo's receipt of the prize, elicited praise from many teachers.

Zhang Ting, a Chinese literature teacher at the Beijing No 5 High School, said it is important that students be exposed to modernistic works written by Chinese authors.

"Many of my students love works of modern Western literature, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez," Zhang said. "It's absolutely OK for them to love modern Western literature, and there is nothing wrong with them choosing what kind of works they want to read. But students should know more about modern Chinese works."

The reading textbooks now in use in most Chinese high schools contain only a single article by a contemporary writer — Yu Hua's Leaving Home at Eighteen — and students are, as a result, less familiar than they should be with contemporary Chinese literature, she said.

"Now Mo has won the Nobel Prize," Zhang said. "I hope this is not only an achievement for Chinese literature, but also a chance for young people to receive an education in contemporary Chinese literature."

Some critics said the decision to place Mo's work in the textbook was not made for the right reasons, noting that it only came after he received the Nobel Prize.

"Mo's novella was published many, many years ago," said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a non-governmental research organization. "Why are these editors putting his work into textbooks only after he received the Nobel Prize?

"The Nobel Prize should not be the only criterion used to measure the educational value of teaching materials, but this seems to be how things are done now."

Zhou Limin, a writer from Shanghai, said on his micro blog on Sunday: "I'm not opposed to letting students read Mo's literature. I only dislike it that textbook editors are blindly chasing after the Nobel Prize without using their own judgment."

Another concern is that high school students will find it hard to understand Mo's works, which consist mainly of social commentary, critics said.

Besides seeing his work placed in textbooks, Mo can bask in a few other glories stemming from his receipt of the Nobel Prize.

His books have sold out at many bookstores, two of his works are to be translated into Russian and published before the end of the year, and stamps commemorating his achievement have been issued in Shandong province, where Mo was born and now lives.

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