China to spend £70 million sprucing up Nobel Prize winner's hometown
One week after Mo Yan became the first Chinese author to win the Nobel prize, proud local officials rushed out a £70 million plan to transform his sleepy village into a "Mo Yan Culture Experience Zone". Until last week, the county of Gaomi in the eastern province of Shandong was a poor farming community. It was here that Mr Mo ate tree bark and scrabbled for wild vegetables to survive a tough childhood. When reporters tracked down Mr Mo, 57, to his family home in the wake of his prize, they found his 90-year-old father working the farm, unperturbed by the hullaballoo. But now, ambitious Communist party chiefs see a glorious future for the county as tourists flock to pay homage to the Nobel prize winner. On Tuesday, Fan Hui, a local official, paid a visit to Mr Mo's father to ask him to renovate the family home. "Your son is no longer your son, and the house is no longer your house," urged Mr Fan, according to the Beijing News, explaining that the author was now the pride of China. "It does not really matter if you agree or not," he added.