Taiwan's culture minister says she hopes Chinese novelist Mo Yan's winning of the Nobel Prize for literature will teach mainland authorities to be tolerant of diverse political attitudes.

Thursday's announcement brought an explosion of pride across Chinese media. It also won sweeping coverage in democratic Taiwan, which China claims to be part of its own territory.

The island's culture minister, Lung Ying-tai, on Friday called Mo "a man of humor" who has used that wit to avoid possible persecution.

Mo is known for challenging the status quo without offending the authorities. But some say he is too timid to confront a government that heavily censors artists and authors.

Lung, a noted essayist, said the prize may help Chinese "open up their minds and hearts" and engage the world through literature.