The Man Booker Prize organisers have changed the nationality of Wu Ming-yi back to “Taiwan” after the previous categorisation of “Taiwan, China” sparked a backlash.

In a statement on Wednesday, spokesperson for the literary prize Truda Spruyt said that changes will be made to the materials so that Wu’s nationality will be listed as Taiwan.

Wu Mingyi
Wu Ming-yi.

The decision came “following correspondence with stakeholders and additional guidance on the appropriate terminology from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” Spruyt said.

“The prize is not about defining nationality; all global citizens are eligible, provided they are published in translation in the UK,” Spruyt added.

Wu said last week that his nationality was changed from “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” and that it was not his personal position. He also said he would express his stance to the awards organisation.

A cached version of the Man Booker Prize webpage shows that Wu was listed as being from “Taiwan” on March 15, before it was changed to “Taiwan, China.” Wu’s entry is now shown as “Wu Ming-Yi (Taiwan)” once again.

Screenshot of Man Booker Prize website.

Wu Ming-yi’s The Stolen Bicycle is amongst 13 books which have made the long list for the renowned awards. The book was translated by Canadian scholar and translator Darryl Sterk.

Taiwan says China is repeatedly seeking to restrict its space in the international realm and in cyberspace. Beijing considers the island-nation to be a renegade province.

Last month, more than 13,000 people signed a petition against the Sweden Tax Agency’s move to reclassify Taiwan as a “Province of China.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.