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China Daily Website

Literature a matter of memento?

Updated: 2013-04-16 08:03
( China Daily)

During the Tomb Sweeping holiday, more than 1,000 tourists visited the former residence of Nobel Literature laureate Mo Yan within three days. But the visitors were anything but civilized in their behavior, scraping walls to remove bricks and digging up soil to carry home as mementos, says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

Last year, visitors dug up some saplings and radishes from near Mo Yan's former residence. But this year, they actually caused damage to the structure itself by removing bricks and digging up the soil in the courtyard. Many of the visitors said they did so in the belief that the mementos will help them improve their literary acumen.

But such behavior reflects not only people's superstitious beliefs, but also the spread of celebrity worship in China. The acts of the visitors to Mo Yan's residence were no different from people who carve or write their names on cultural relics and historic sites, which is against the law. Such acts should, therefore, be investigated by competent authorities and the culprits punished to deter others from doing the same.

Chinese people should respect and be proud of a Nobel Prize winner. But they have no right to damage historical sites. If people really adore literature, they should read more books and work hard to improve their writing skills, instead of falling prey to superstition. And local authorities should refrain from unnecessarily promoting the homes of celebrities as tourist attractions.