Taiwan demands correction, blames China for Venice film fest name change

Taipei (AFP) –


Taiwan on Tuesday said it has demanded a correction after Venice Film Festival organisers listed two films representing the island as being from "Chinese Taipei", allegedly under pressure from Beijing.

Director Tsai Ming-liang's documentary "The Night" and Chung Mong-hong's drama "The Falls" were submitted under the name Taiwan.

But organisers changed the name on the festival's official website "due to China's protest", Taipei's foreign ministry said.

Taiwan's representative office in Italy has requested an immediate correction and was yet to receive a reply, said Kendra Chen, deputy head of the ministry's European affairs department.

"We will continue to communicate with organisers and demand the correction through multiple channels to make sure that our films will not face unreasonable suppression and our sovereignty will not be dwarfed," she said at a virtual press briefing.

Films by Jane Campion, Pedro Almodovar and Paolo Sorrentino are among those competing at the 78th edition of the festival in September.

AFP has contacted the film festival organisers for comment.

Malaysian-born, Taiwan-based Tsai is one of the island's most internationally acclaimed directors.

His 1994 feature film "Vive L'Amour" won the coveted Golden Lion at Venice and "Stray Dogs" received the Grand Jury Prize in 2013.

But Taiwanese artists often find themselves frozen out of international events, or made to enter under names that Beijing finds acceptable.

Taiwanese athletes also must compete under the name "Chinese Taipei".

Authoritarian China claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

It balks at the use of the name Taiwan or its official title, the Republic of China, on the global stage.

International bodies that do not use Beijing's preferred name risk angering the government and being turfed out of its huge, lucrative market.

China has ramped up diplomatic, military and economic pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen as she rejects its stance that the island is part of "one China".

It has also pressured a growing number of international companies to refer to Taiwan as Chinese Taipei or "Taiwan, China" in recent years.