Fri, Feb 13, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Museum initiatives will be based on equality: Cabinet

TRICKY The Mainland Affairs Council said it was still talking with National Palace Museum officials about the legalities of lending artifacts to China


Any exchanges between Taiwan’s National Palace Museum and China’s Palace Museum in Beijing will be based on dignity and equality, Government Information Office spokesman Su Jun-pin (蘇俊賓) said yesterday.

Exchanges between the museums should also be launched on the condition that Taiwan’s rights and interests not be compromised, Su said.

The planning involves not just exchanges between the two biggest museums on either side of the Taiwan Strait, but also some legal issues, Su said.

The National Palace Museum and the Mainland Affairs Council will therefore discuss the exchanges further, particularly the issue of the National Palace Museum’s designation at exhibitions in China, he said.

Su was referring to a recent rumor that Beijing would ask the National Palace Museum to change its official name to “Taipei Palace Museum” for the purpose of joining exhibitions organized in China.

“The Taiwanese public can be assured that the National Palace Museum and Mainland Affairs Council authorities will work out a plan that will not compromise Taiwan’s rights and dignity,” Su said.

A National Palace Museum delegation, to be headed by the museum’s director, Chou Kung-shin (周?, is scheduled to depart for Beijing tomorrow on a three-day visit.

The delegates and their Beijing counterparts plan to discuss the possibility of cooperating on exhibition arrangements, publicity campaigns and publications, as well as academic and staff exchanges.

The visit will mark the first official contact between the two national museums in six decades.

The National Palace Museum recently decided to put politics aside and discuss joint exhibitions with Beijing’s Palace Museum.

First on the agenda, Chou will discuss the possibility of borrowing artifacts from the Beijing museum to include in a special exhibition of the National Palace Museum’s own collection on Emperor Yongzheng (雍正) — the fourth ruler of the Qing Dynasty — scheduled to open in October.

Chou has said that any exhibits brought to Taiwan would be guaranteed safe return under the 1992 Statute on Encouraging and Rewarding Cultural and Art Enterprises (文化藝術獎助條例), which stipulates that foreign art and cultural objects are exempt from seizure or any legal entanglement over ownership.

She said, however, that before any of Taiwan’s treasures could be displayed in China, a similar statute would have to be put in place by Beijing to guarantee the same protection.

Representatives of the Beijing museum will pay a return visit early next month.

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