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Critic of the One-Child Policy Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Every baby is unique. It cannot be replaced. Will the bloodstained hands never be washed clean? Will the soul wracked with guilt never be free?

That’s from Wa, by Mo Yan.

All Girls Allowed announced on Thursday that the winner of the 2012 Literary Nobel Peace Prize is an outspoken critic of China’s one-child policy. Author Mo Yan from China spoke against the policy in his latest book, Wa.

The one-child policy has influenced Mr. Mo personally, as he encouraged his wife to abort their second child to protect his military career.  This was a decision that would later leave him with regret:

When I was serving in the army, I was promoted to the rank of officer… There was another officer in the army who lost his rank…because he had a second child. I was afraid I would receive the same punishment, so I chose not to have another child. If it were not for my own selfish ambition, I would have let my wife have a second or even a third baby. I used a very high-sounding rationale to convince her we needed to abort the baby: we had to follow the Party’s policy and nation’s policy. This has become an eternal scar in the deepest part of my heart. …It became a big shadow in my heart.

The New York Times reports that the national Chinese television station ran a special breaking news piece to present the news of the award to China’s citizens. This is heavily contrasted with the last Chinese winner of the Nobel, Liu Xiaobo, who was not allowed to leave the country to accept his prize.

In a 2010 interview, Mr. Mo explained how his life would have been different without the one-child policy:

I personally believe the one-child policy is a bad policy. If there were no one-child policy, I would have two or three children.

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