Posted By Elias GrollThursday, October 18, 2012 - Foreign Policy
Last week's decision to award the Nobel Prize in literature to Mo Yan was national news in China as state broadcasters broke into the regularly scheduled evening news to make the announcement that a Chinese writer had finally won the prize, easing anxiety among the country's leaders regarding the Western world's recognition of Chinese cultural prowess.
But now the integrity of that prize has come under question in Sweden.
Göran Malmqvist, a sinologist and member of the Swedish Academy, was instrumental in Mo's selection, lobbying the academy to recognize the Chinese writer and providing Swedish translations of the writer's work to other members of the academy. Now he stands to benefit financially from those tranlsations. According to a report by Swedish Television, Malmqvist will provide his translations to a Swedish publisher for publication. And according to the head of that publishing company, Tranan, because of the intense interest on Mo's work as a result of his Nobel win Malmqvist will likely be able to name his own price.
According to an examination of the academy's policies carried out by Swedish Television, Malmqvist's actions in this case may be in violation of the Swedish Academy's conflict of interest rules, which are extremely strict in order to prevent this type of real or perceived impropriety. If there is even a slight indication of conflict of interest, the person in question is supposed to leave the premises during discussions regarding the candidate, and a member of the academy affected by a potential conflict of interst can "in no way participate in the handling of the question."
Full story at Foreign Policy