A state-run Chinese daily wondered on Friday if writer Mo Yan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature was "a sign of the Nobel committee seeking to mitigate tensions with China after awarding the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo in 2010".
Chinese author Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.
An article in the Op-Ed section of Global Times said: "Ordinarily, we should treat the Nobel Prize with indifference, as past prizes have tended to be politicized, just like the peace prize."
"However, it seems that Chinese society has attached a great deal of attention to the Nobel Prize in Literature and other Nobel prizes. We are surrounded by Western culture's soft power. Previously, Peace prizes for the (Tibetan spiritual leader) Dalai Lama and Liu Xiaobo conveyed very unfriendly and even hostile massages," it said.
Liu Xiaobo co-authored a manifesto that calls for political reform and greater rights in China. He won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Gao Xingjian, a Chinese-born French citizen, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000.
"Chinese people generally believed that Gao was awarded this prize because of the political leanings in his literary works," said the daily.
It said that Mo's win "will amend Chinese people's attitudes toward the Nobel Prize. However, a sense of trust toward the prize will not be established anytime soon in Chinese mainstream society".
"The award recognizes Mo's literary achievements and status. But could the decision also be a sign of the Nobel committee seeking to mitigate tensions with China after awarding the Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo in 2010?," it asked.
It went on to say that as China and the West have a delicate relationship, "it's natural the award will touch our nerves whether a Chinese citizen is awarded the Nobel Prize or not".
"The prize indeed carries some significance. Chinese are granted more awards in non-science fields. This reflects the greater attention the West is giving China. The Nobel Prize is closing the distance with China in its own way," it added.
Noting that Mo is a mainstream Chinese writer, it said this suggests that the West "doesn't only embrace individuals that are against the Chinese system".
"It cannot reject the Chinese mainstream for long. No matter what inspired the award this time, it is a welcome decision. We hope such appreciation of Chinese mainstream ideas can extend further," it added.