Fri, Aug 24, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Minister sidesteps museum issue

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai poses outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on Wednesday. Lung is on a two-week visit to the US and Canada.

Photo: CNA

Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said on Wednesday she is not in a position to tackle the issue of whether the Palace Museum should be put under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture rather than being under the direct guidance of the Executive Yuan, as is currently the case.

“It’s up to Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) to decide,” she said in New York at a news briefing for Chinese-language media.

Earlier this month, media reports said Lung had described a legislative recommendation that the museum be downgraded to an agency under the Ministry of Culture as “innovative.” The reports immediately drew a backlash from museum staff and some culture buffs in Taiwan.

Lung said she used the “innovative” description during legislative discussions on a central government structural overhaul.

At the time, some lawmakers suggested that the museum be reduced to a third-grade agency to make room for the Atomic Energy Council to remain a ministerial-level body to facilitate radiation disaster response.

According to an Executive Yuan package restructuring draft bills, the Atomic Energy Council and the National Science Council will be merged into the newly created Ministry of Science and Technology.

Lung said that, to her knowledge, the government has discussed the status of the museum in the new Executive Yuan hierarchy.

Since the draft package, which has been sent to the Legislature for approval, does not call for an alteration of what jurisdiction the museum falls under, Lung said, it appears that the government has reached a consensus on the issue.

Lung, who is one of the most widely read authors in the Chinese-speaking world, delivered a speech titled “Border Crossing — Writing, Politics and the Taiwan Strait” at the New York headquarters of the Asia Society later in the day.

During her two-week visit, Lung is scheduled to visit several major US and Canadian cultural institutions, think tanks and universities to enhance the visibility of Taiwanese culture on the North American continent and increase Taiwan’s participation in the international cultural arena.

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