‘Chinese Taipei’ fails to satisfy MOFA

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 - Page 3

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said it was still unsatisfied after organizers of the 68th Venice International Film Festival changed the designation of the origin of a Taiwanese movie, Seediq Bale (賽德克巴萊), from “China, Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei,” in line with the Olympic model.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman James Chang (章計平) said the designation change, which came after Taipei protested to the festival’s organizers, was unsatisfactory.

“We are not satisfied with the change and want it [the film] to be labeled under either the official name of the country — ‘Republic of China’ — or ‘Taiwan,’” he said.

Chang said the ministry would continue to negotiate the matter with the Italian government and the organizers of the festival, which opens today.

The designation change was made to the online list of the -festival’s feature films at 2am yesterday morning.

However, on the list of countries represented at the festival, the nation is referred to as Taiwan.

Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), the director of Seediq Bale, left for Italy yesterday to attend the festival.

Seediq Bale has been nominated for the Golden Lion award at the festival.

The movie, shortened to 150 minutes from its original four-plus hours for an international audience, is scheduled to make its world debut at 5pm tomorrow.

Before leaving, Wei addressed the controversy, saying it was better to fight back with action than with words.

“If the main response is simply to protest, then people would have nothing to see,” he said, preferring instead to use his movie to give people an understanding of Taiwan’s history and culture. “The most practical thing to do is to introduce Taiwan to the world. There’s no need to say so much.”

Taiwanese director Ang Lee’s (李安) film Lust, Caution (色戒), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2007, was identified as being from “Taiwan, China,” after efforts by the government to have the designation changed failed because of opposition from Beijing.

Prince of Tears (淚王子), directed by Hong Kong-based Taiwanese director Yon Fan (楊凡) and nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2009 festival, was labeled “China-Taiwan, Hong Kong” and then “Taiwan-Hong Kong, China” following protests by Taipei.

Additional reporting by CNA