Betting agencies are putting Chinese author Mo Yan in the top two places of possible winners for the Nobel Prize in literature, said a state-run Chinese daily, noting that "the names of Chinese authors have been absent from the list of winners" for over 100 years.
This year's Nobel Prize season kicks off Monday.
An article in the Op-Ed section of the Global Times said: "This year, for the prize in literature, betting agencies such as British bookmaker Ladbrokes and Sweden's Unibet put Japan's Haruki Murakami and Chinese author Mo Yan in the top two places as possible winners."
Speculation of Mo being among the top candidates has drawn much attention and caused much excitement among some Chinese.
"For over 100 years, the names of Chinese authors have been absent from the list of winners for the Nobel Prize in Literature," it said.
The daily quickly added that the "prize for 2000 was awarded to Gao Xingjian, a French-Chinese dissident writer who left China in 1987. But Gao, whose works were criticized by some as favoring the West and catering to Western values, was greatly controversial domestically".
"Mo, however, is one of the most widely read writers in China and is a typical Chinese author in the traditional sense. His works reflect a vivid and real grass-roots China," it said.
The daily went on to say that the non-scientific Nobel prizes, especially the peace prize, "have been increasingly tainted with politics in recent years".
"The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the (Tibetan spiritual leader) Dalai Lama and Liu Xiaobo, and also to US President Barack Obama in 2009, are all examples that were very controversial in the world," it added.
Liu Xiaobo co-authored a manifesto that calls for political reform and greater rights in China. He won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
"Chinese should be aware that by selecting the winning author the Nobel Prize in Literature has a strong influence over the political and cultural life of one country, as elements such as values, aesthetic and moral standards and national spirit are the core of the works," it said.