China v. Taiwan at the Venice film festival


Taiwanese director Wei Te-sheng at the Asian Film Awards 2009 in Hong Kong on March 23, 2009.


Victor Fraile

Way to pour salt on festering wounds, Venice film festival.

The Venice International Film Festival, which opens today, changed the designation of the origin of a Taiwanese movie, "Seediq Bale," from “China, Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei,” in line with the Olympic model.

Not cool, according to Taiwan, which is still technically in a state of hostilities with China — assuming the two are willing to even acknowledge one another's existence.

GlobalPost in Taipei: What cross-strait thaw between China and Taiwan?

The Taipei Times:

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.

Wei Te-sheng, the director of Seediq Bale, 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 told media, referring to his film. “The most practical thing to do is to introduce Taiwan to the world. There’s no need to say so much.”

And it's not the first time Taiwan has been snubbed in Venice.

Ang Lee’s film "Lust, Caution," was identified as being from “Taiwan, China” in 2007, after efforts to have the designation changed failed because of opposition from Beijing.