Plagiarism has been a headline issue for the literary community for years, in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Some better at hiding themselves than others. Some with better market leverage than others. Whatever the case, plagiarism in literature has not been brought to book substantially till date, and it was high time people took a stand. And so China, came up with the most hilarious, yet effective idea ever.
Hosted by the Tianjin Writers Association, the Firestone Literary Awards saw prizes presented for Best Novel, Best Novella and Best Short Story and a host of other categories. But what made the headlines was the derisive White Lotus Award – an award that has been included in the program for the first time ever in an attempt to bring focus on to works accused of plagiarism.
The name of the award “White Lotus”, in Chinese internet slang term, refers to a malicious woman who feigns innocence, especially in front of men, making it a cleverly assigned name for the category.
“This plagiarism award represents the committee’s determination to fight against something the market dares not [confront],” the award committee wrote in an online statement.
White Lotus award for serious plagiarism went to the novel “Jinxiu Weiyang,” or “The Princess Weiyoung.” The novel, which was adapted into a popular TV series with more than 18 billion views in 2016, has been plagued with allegations of plagiarism since it appeared online in 2012. Another nominee in the category, “Eternal Love,” was adapted into a high-ratings TV series in 2017 despite ongoing copyright disputes.
While the award will not affect any legal repercussion upon these exposed literary works, the committee believes that it will boost the morale of anti-copycat campaigners, especially given that the organization behind the award is government-affiliated. It is also a strong show of disdain towards plagiarist writers and will send a solid social message to all involved stakeholders.