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Taiwanese author protests Man Booker listing his nationality as ‘Taiwan, China’

Wu Ming-yi, whose book The Stolen Bicycle is among the 13 books longlisted for Man Booker International Prize, said his nationality on the Man Booker website had been changed from “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China”, and this does not reflect his “personal position on this issue”.

books Updated: Mar 30, 2018 16:21 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Man Booker International Prize,The Stolen Bicycle,Wu Ming-yi
Taiwanese author Wu Ming-yi. Taiwan has been self-ruled since splitting from the mainland after a 1949 civil war, but China continues to claim sovereignty over the island. (Chen Meng-Ping/Penguin Random House website)

A Taiwanese author whose novel is nominated for the renowned Man Booker International Prize said he will protest to the awards organiser for changing his nationality to “Taiwan, China.”

Wu Ming-yi’s The Stolen Bicycle is among the 13 books longlisted for the prestigious award.

The author said his nationality on the Man Booker website had been changed from “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” since the list was announced.

The incident follows Beijing’s rebuke of foreign firms – including Zara, Marriott, and Delta – for listing Taiwan as a separate country on their websites. Taiwan has been self-ruled since splitting from the mainland after a 1949 civil war, but China continues to claim sovereignty over the island.

Beijing has increased pressure on Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen as she has refused to acknowledge the island is part of “one China.” Wu said on his Facebook page he cannot agree Taiwan is part of China.

The book has been translated by Darryl Sterk.

“My nationality on the web page has been changed from Taiwan to Taiwan, China, which is not my personal position on this issue,” he said. “I will therefore seek assistance in expressing my personal position to the awards organisation,” he wrote.

The Man Booker organisers said they were advised “Taiwan, China” was the “correct, politically neutral form.” They added they were seeking clarification from Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “We are aware that Wu Ming-yi defines himself as Taiwanese and have kept him informed throughout the process,” they said in a statement Friday.

Wu’s book, written in Chinese and translated into English, is about a novelist searching for his missing father’s bicycle.

The shortlist for the prize will be announced on April 12 and the winner on May 22.

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First Published: Mar 30, 2018 16:21 IST