An acclaimed novelist whose best-selling book was banned for obscenity was accidentally short-listed as a candidate for China's Rural Person of the Year Award, according to state media reports. Jia Pingwa , one of China's most established authors, was notified by the China Central Television (CCTV) competition committee late last month that he was among 50 finalists for the country's most prestigious award for outstanding rural figures. He was wrongly cited as the father of hybrid oilseed rape. A public relations officer from the CCTV committee later blamed the mistake on to the fact that there was only one technical expert looking after the computer system that received both online and mobile phone votes. 'We feel deeply apologetic about what has happened,' she was quoted as saying. A literary agency that represents Jia issued a statement saying it was 'in deep doubt about the public credibility of the competition'. Jia was also reported to have demanded an explanation from the CCTV committee. The rural role model competition, only in its second year, is part of a campaign to pacify disgruntled farmers who have been left out of the country's economic boom. Twenty-three people, ranging from a rural party chief to an agricultural scientist, went on to win awards for their contribution to building 'a harmonious new countryside'. Most of Jia's novels are set in his rural homeland in Shaanxi province . The 1993 novel Fei Du (Defunct Capital), one of his three major works, portrays the chaotic sex life of a renowned writer and was banned by the State Publishing Administration because of its explicit sexual content. The CCTV committee apparently mistook him for Li Dianrong , also from Shaanxi, credited with developing the world's first hybrid oilseed rape strain, which was put into mass production in 1985.