In this photo taken Monday, Oct 22, 2007, Chinese writer Mo Yan speaks during an interview at a teahouse in Beijing. Mo won the Nobel Prize for literature Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Aritz Parra)
BEIJING (AP) -- Nobel Prize for literature winner Mo Yan has expressed hope that China's imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo will regain his freedom.
Mo told reporters Friday he hoped Liu could "regain his freedom very soon." While stopping short of an outright call for Liu's release, Mo's remarks put a dent in the ruling Communist Party's attempts to use his historic win to burnish their credentials.
Mo's statement also answers criticism from human rights activists who say he is compromising his artistic and intellectual independence by being a party member and vice president of the official writers association.
Mo is the first Chinese citizen awarded the literature prize.
Liu was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2009 for co-authoring a call for ending single-party rule and enacting democratic reforms.