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Taiwan actor Chang Chen on Cannes Film Festival jury, but they call him Chinese, prompting Taiwan to request correction

The prestige of actor’s appointment to the festival jury is tempered by the festival saying he is from China, prompting Taiwan’s foreign affairs ministry to request a correction

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2018, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2018, 1:26pm

Taiwanese actor Chang Chen will be on the jury of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the festival announced today. Just one problem: it says Chang is Chinese rather than Taiwanese on its website. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan has contacted the festival organisers, and urged them to correct the information, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

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Chang is the only Asian in the nine-member international panel led by Australian actress and producer, Cate Blanchett, and only the third Taiwanese artist to be picked for the Cannes festival jury. His fellow jury members include Burundian singer-songwriter Khadja Nin, American actress Kristen Stewart and the director of A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay. 

The 41-year-old actor was born and raised in Taiwan, and has starred in martial art films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster (2013) and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin (2015), which won the best director award at Cannes. Chang was awarded best actor at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in 2008 for his role as a legendary board game player in Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Go Master (2006).

It’s not the first time the festival has called a Taiwanese artist Chinese. When Hou’s film was selected for the festival in 2015, the director was listed as Chinese on its website.

It only changed his description to Taiwanese later when the Taiwanese Representative Office in France urged the organiser to correct the information.

Foreign governments and international institutions routinely come under pressure from the Chinese government not to recognise Taiwan as a state but as part of China.

Earlier this month, The Man Booker International Prize initially identified nominee Wu Ming-yi as being from “Taiwan”, then changed this to “Taiwan, China” after receiving a complaint from the Chinese embassy in London.

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However, the foundation was criticised – by Wu himself, and others – for bowing to pressure from China and later reversed the decision. 

This year’s Cannes festival runs from May 8 to 19.