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Tue, May 30, 2000 - Page 2 News List

China's protest forces new name for Taiwan art entry

INTERVENTION Taiwan's delegation to a biennial architecture exhibition in Venice has been forced to enter under the name `Taiwan Museum of Art'

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Protest from China has made it impossible for Taiwan to participate as a country in an upcoming biennial architecture exhibition in Venice, organizers said yesterday.

Instead Taiwan will attend the competition under the name "Taiwan Museum of Art."

"Our original title in the catalogue is Taiwan under the big banner of national pavilions. Now we are only able to attend under the title of the museum although the big banner we are under remains unchanged," said Ni Tsai-chin (倪再沁), commissioner of the Taiwan Museum of Art.

Ni, who is organizing a delegation to attend the La Biennale di Venezia 7. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura, said the delegation could finally attend the exhibition, although not under a title it had originally wished for.

On May 18, the exhibition organizer notified the museum that a Taiwan delegation had to change its name to "China, Taiwan" to ensure its participation as a part of the national pavilions. But the Taiwan delegation turned down the suggestion.

After consulting the Cabinet-level Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA), the delegation decided to ensure its participation by suggesting a name change to "Taiwan Museum of Art," Ni said.

But the exhibition organizer refused Ni's alternative. It was not until yesterday that the exhibition's organizing group agreed to the use of the new name, Ni said.

The change of tone on the part of the exhibition's organizers, Ni said, was due to Taiwan's "positive" lobbying through diplomatic channels and toward Italian parliament members.

Alberto Galluccio, of the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion office in Taipei, who had been helping Taiwan reach a solution on the name change, said time constraints led to what he described as an unsatisfactory solution. The exhibition is scheduled scheduled to open June 17.

"I don't think this is the best solution because we could have found a better one. But the problem was time," Galluccio said.

"I hope that if a similar problem arises in the future, we will be able to find an imaginative solution, which may be satisfactory for Taiwan and at the same time won't put Taiwan in an embarrassing situation," Galluccio added.

Independent legislator Chu Hui-liang (朱惠良) said the case simply reflected the fact that "political intervention is unavoidable even in cultural activities."

"Maybe it is Taiwan's recent transfer of power [to the DPP] that forces China to behave in a hypersensitive manner and harbor suspicions about Taiwan's participation in the exhibition," Chu added.

Meanwhile, the chief curator in charge of the delegation said final confirmation of the name change would depend on a written document from exhibition organizers.

"The organizers confirmed over the phone that the Taiwan delegation would be able to attend under the title of the museum. But the delegation is still waiting for the written confirmation from the organizer," said Beatrice Peini Gysen-Hsieh (謝佩霓), chief curator at the Taiwan Museum of Art.

Beijing often restricts Taiwan's representation in international events under the name Taiwan, claiming the name suggests sovereignty, which China objects to.

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