The state media hoopla and government cheer contrasted with the last Nobel prizes given Chinese. Beijing disowned China-born French emigre dramatist, novelist and government critic Gao Xingjian when in 2000 he became the only other Chinese writer to win the literary prize.
After imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Peace Prize two years ago, the government heaped scorn on the award as a tool of the West and put diplomatic and economic relations with Norway, which awards the prize, into a chill.
The Swedish Academy parried suggestions that it had selected Mo to seek Beijing's favor.
"As we've been trying to, naggingly, say: This is a literature prize that is awarded on literary merit alone. We don't take other things in consideration," said Peter Englund, the academy's permanent secretary.
Mo writes of visceral pleasures and existential quandaries and tends to create vivid, mouthy characters. While his early work sticks to a straightforward narrative structure enlivened by vivid descriptions, raunchy humor and farce, his style has evolved, toying with different narrators and embracing a freewheeling style often described as "Chinese magical realism."
Among the works highlighted by the Nobel judges were "Red Sorghum" (1993) and "Big Breasts & Wide Hips" (2004), as well as "The Garlic Ballads." "Frogs" (2009) looked at forced abortions and other coercive aspects of the government's policies restricting most families to one child.
Mo has said that censorship is a great spur to creativity.
"In our real life, there might be some sharp or sensitive issues that (censors) do not wish to touch upon," he said in an interview with the literary magazine Granta earlier this year. "At such a juncture, a writer can inject their own imagination to isolate them from the real world or maybe they can exaggerate the situation - making sure it is bold, vivid and has the signature of our real world."