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China demands Taiwanese illustrator change her country's name at Bologna show

Italian organizers decide to remove names of all countries at book fair

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Pei-Hsin Cho's solo exhibition in Bologna. (Facebook, Taipei Book Fair Foundation photo)

Pei-Hsin Cho's solo exhibition in Bologna. (Facebook, Taipei Book Fair Foundation photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China demanded Taiwanese illustrator Pei-Hsin Cho (卓霈欣) refer to her country as “China Taiwan” at a show in Bologna, Italy, reports said Thursday (March 24).

The London-based artist was holding a solo exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where she won the International Award for Illustration last year.

China told the Bologna city government that it could not accept the artist’s country of origin being listed as Taiwan and that the label should be changed to “China Taiwan,” CNA reported.

While the book fair organizers were reluctant to give in to China, they nevertheless decided to come up with a compromise and not use any country name at all, according to independent lawmaker Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書), who made the incident public. The legislator slammed Beijing for expanding its campaign of politicization from the sports world to the world of art, literature, and design.

The Ministry of Culture (MOC) said Cho’s show had attracted China’s attention because it was situated near the entrance of the fair. The organizers reportedly only decided to do away with country names for award winners, including Italy’s, because the provincial governor exerted pressure, according to MOC officials.

Huang called on the MOC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to work out a common strategy for reacting to similar incidents in the future.