By Tenzin Dharpo
Wu Ming-Yi, pictured in Taipei in 2016. Photograph- Wu Ming-Yi_EPA
DHARAMSHALA, April 5: International literary award foundation, Man Booker Prize has taken a U-turn, restoring the nationality of a Taiwanese author Wu Ming-Yi to “Taiwan” from “Taiwan, China” following international outcry and protest from the author whose translated novel is nominated in the long list for the 2018 honor.
On Wednesday Man Booker announced that the nationality of the author has been reverted to the original following a meeting with UK government and other concerned parties. Truda Spruyt, a spokesperson for the Foundation said, “Following correspondence with stakeholders and additional guidance on the appropriate terminology from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, changes will be made to the Man Booker International Prize materials.”
The country/territory of longlisted authors and translators will appear, and Wu Ming-Yi will be listed as being from ‘Taiwan’. The prize is not about defining nationality; all global citizens are eligible, provided they are published in translation in the UK.
Ming-Yi’s historical novel, ‘The Stolen Bicycle’ translated by Darryl Sterk is among the 13 authors long-listed for this year’s Man Booker Prize.
The foundation’s controversial decision last week to change the nationality of the author was followed by international outcry and protest from the author himself. Netizens say the foundation caved in to pressure from Beijing after its decision to act upon a complaint from the UK Chinese Embassy.
“Since the publication of the longlist for this year's Man Booker International award, my nationality on the webpage has been changed from Taiwan to Taiwan, China, which is not my personal position on this issue. I will therefore seek assistance in expressing my personal position to the award organization,” the Taiwanese author posted on his Facebook account on March 29.
In the last few months, International brands such as Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Zara, among others, have caved in to pressure from Beijing which claims recognising Taiwan as a separate nation undermines its sovereignty.
Taiwan, a self governed democracy is claimed by China as its territory. Beijing has been vocal in its intention for Taiwan to “reunite with the motherland” despite stern objection from the Taiwanese masses and its ruling government.