The Chinese novelist Ma Jian, who lives in exile in London and whose work is banned in China, protested with humor over the confusion created by several digital media to illustrate with his photo a story about the life sentence of a namesake his: an ex Chinese Vice Minister of Public Security.
"Not happy with sharing my name, the corrupt spy chief Ma Jian, who was vice minister of the agency responsible for banning me in China, has stolen my face too," the writer complained through his social network account. Twitter (@ majian53).
The ex-official Ma Jian (the name is written in both cases with the same Chinese characters) was sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption, involvement in forced transactions and insider trading, and his conviction was announced on Thursday.
When the news reached the international press, many confused the condemned with the exile, and placed a photo of the second to illustrate the news about the first.
The Philippine newspaper Inquirer or the India Times were some of those who made the mistake.
"My children are amazed to discover that I am not the author of 'China Dream', who just made them seaweed ravioli for dinner, but that I am a former spy chief who has just been imprisoned for accepting 'extremely high bribes'", he said. He caressed Ma.
His latest novel, "China Dream" ("Chinese Dream"), part of the homonymous proposal advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which promises a hopeful future to his countrymen in a somewhat vaporous way.
In the book, Ma – the writer, not the corrupt vice-minister – draws a dystopia in which the director of an invented Chinese Dream Department tries to promote a digital implant to control the dreams of all citizens and make them forget the past that torments the protagonist so much.
"It's a strange Chinese dream," Ma Jian said through Twitter, "Am I a vetoed novelist dreaming that I am a corrupt spy, or am I a corrupt spy dreaming that I am a vetoed novelist?"
The cover of the book is the work of the Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, another of the most international opponents of the Chinese regime.
Ma achieved fame with "Red Dust" (2001), on a trip to Tibet, and that the government called "spiritual pollution", which initiated the banning of his books in the Asian country.
In Spanish, his novels "Peking in a coma" and "El camino oscuro" are also translated.