Culture ministry mulls massive budget for cultural exchanges with China 文化部編巨資赴中 台藝術家創作自由恐落空

Tue, Nov 20, 2012 - Page 11

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai has publicly said that she does not exclude the possibility of eventually signing a cross-strait cultural agreement with China. She has also established a budget of hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars for 2014, set aside specifically for cultural exchanges and negotiations with China. However, when Taiwanese artists take their works to China for performances or exhibits, they have repeatedly been subjected to thought censorship and been forced to accept China’s “unwritten rules.” So will the work of the ministry be able gain the freedom and respect for artistic creation that it deserves? Lung has yet to provide a straight answer to this question.

When the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) was performing in Beijing on Wednesday last week, they did not perform Taiwanese composer Tyzen Hsiao’s The Angel from Formosa as an encore piece, like they had originally intended, explaining afterwards that encores are always selected based on the audience they are playing for. But there is some speculation that the piece was canceled because the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th National Congress was in progress, turning it into a touchy situation. After playing The Angel from Formosa for an audience in Shanghai, the NSO allegedly received a telegram demanding the piece be removed from the program for the Beijing performance.

“He [Hsiao] had no opinion on the matter. It is their country, they can do whatever they want,” Hsiao’s friend, Chuang Chuan-hsien, reiterated after speaking with Hsiao about the piece not being performed in Beijing. Hsiao, who was born in Kaohsiung in 1938, is a world-renowned pianist, conductor and composer. He attained international recognition among classical music circles very early on in his career, but was blacklisted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during the Martial Law period because he based many of his compositions on traditional Taiwanese folk tunes, and was thus perceived to be an advocate for Taiwanese independence.

Poet and theater director Yen Hung-ya, known by his pseudonym Hung Hung, recently posted a quote on his Facebook page by contemporary artist Yao Jui-chung at the beginning of the month: “I was originally going to Huangshan to attend the Photo Fest, but the best Photo Fest in China was canceled the day before it started due to the 18th Party Congress. Many people in China’s arts and culture circles are infuriated.” Even more interesting, though, is that the event’s main organizer posted a notice on their Web site the day before the opening ceremony, informing people that the festival would be postponed indefinitely because they were still in the process of planning and organizing, which left artists coming from all over the world hanging and not knowing when the festival would actually take place.

Yang Yi, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, recently said that China welcomes Lung to visit China “in an appropriate capacity.” Evidently, as to whether the Ministry of Culture will be able to ensure the artistic freedom and integrity of Taiwanese artists when visiting China, we must first ask Lung what office she intends to fill when trying to deal with the Chinese on an equal footing.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

文化部長龍應台曾公開表示「不排除未來可能簽署兩岸文化協議」,更在二0一四年編列了上億元預算進行與中國的文化交流與協商談判,但是,針對台灣藝術家作品赴中國展演時,屢屢遭受思想審查、被迫接受所謂「潛規則」的問題,能否透過文化部的努力,獲得藝術創作的自由與應當受到的尊重?龍應台始終沒有正面回應。

國家交響樂團(NSO)上週三在北京演出時,原排定的安可曲台灣作曲家蕭泰然的管弦作品《福爾摩莎的天使》,未如預期演出,雖然NSO解釋,安可曲演不演是視現場狀況而定,但外傳因為演出期間適逢中國十八大登場的敏感時期,當NSO在上海演出《福爾摩莎的天使》之後,隨即有人致電NSO要求北京場取消該曲目。

「他們的國家要怎麼做,是他們的自由。」對於《福爾摩莎的天使》無法在北京演出一事,蕭泰然在台灣的好朋友莊傳賢引述蕭泰然的話表示,「他說他沒有意見。」一九三八年出生於台灣高雄市,是鋼琴家、指揮家也是作曲家,蕭泰然在世界樂壇早享盛名,但他以台灣民謠為主體精神的創作,曾於戒嚴時期被國民黨政府列入黑名單,因此,被視為具有「台獨」色彩。

日前作家閻鴻亞,筆名鴻鴻,臉書上也引述了當代藝術家姚瑞中月初說,「我原本今日要去黃山參加攝影節,但卻因十八大全中國最好的攝影節在開幕前一天被迫取消,大陸藝文人士都很憤怒。」耐人尋味的是,該攝影節的主辦單位僅於活動開幕前一天在網站上貼文表示,相關籌備工作正在完善,因此延期,卻沒有說延到何時,使所有從各地前往參加的藝術家都撲了空,還不知要等到何時?

最近中國國台辦發言人楊毅說,歡迎台灣文化部長龍應台「以適當身份到大陸交流訪問」,很顯然,文化部有沒有能力保護台灣藝術工作者在中國的創作自由與尊嚴,恐怕得先問龍應台要用什麼身份去跟人家平起平坐?

(自由時報記者凌美雪)