The President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) administration’s strong response to exhibition posters that omitted the word “national” from the name of the National Palace Museum smacks of double standards and may be an attempt to pander to China, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said.
Selected artifacts from the National Palace Museum are to be exhibited as part of Treasured Masterpieces from the National Palace Museum, Taipei at the Tokyo Museum from Tuesday to Sept. 15, and at the Kyushu National Museum from Oct. 7 to Nov. 30.
The Taiwanese museum said that posters referring to the “Palace Museum, Taipei” were a violation of the agreement between Taiwan and Japan in which the museum’s full name must be used in all publicity materials.
The posters in question were prepared by a media group that operates major media outlets, including the Asahi Shimbun, TV stations and other newspapers.
However, official posters and brochures prepared by the Tokyo National Museum itself refer to the museum by its full name of “National Palace Museum.”
DPP lawmakers said that in 2009 when then-museum director Chou Kung-shin (周功鑫) visited China, the Mainland Affairs Council and the Executive Yuan had said the official name for the museum at all times was the “National Palace Museum” to ensure Taiwanese rights, the legislators said.
However, the museum’s own report filed after Chou returned from China backed down from this stance, the legislators said.
The 12th page of the report listed “setting aside political disputes and increasing cultural interaction” as a desired result and said that both sides had decided to temporarily set aside the dispute regarding the museum’s title as well as relevant laws forbidding seizure of cultural artifacts, the lawmakers said.
DPP legislators also said that museum director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) had not protested when she saw the same omission while attending an academic seminar in China in November last year.
According to DPP Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), the Japanese government has run the risk of offending China, with whom Japan has held official diplomatic ties since 1972, by passing the Open Promotion of Overseas Artworks Act in the Japanese Diet.
The act granted Taiwan full jurisdictional authority over the loaned works for the exhibition, Lin said.
Jumping straight to threats to cancel the exhibition, without first contacting the Japanese government, has the potential to severely cripple Taiwan-Japan relations and benefit China, Lin said.
China does not want the museum relics and works exhibited in Japan, Lin said, adding that the response and its timing — one week before China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) is to arrive in Taiwan — smacked of pandering to China.
“We did not see Ma speak up when the museum’s director failed to complain about the omission of the word during her visit to China,” Lin said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) added: “While Ma’s tough stance was welcomed by Taiwanese, his departure from past practice smacks of double standards.”
“Is it truly defending Taiwan’s sovereignty when we bow and scrape to China’s whims, while taking a tough stance against Japan?” the legislator said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) spokesman Charles Chen (陳以信) yesterday said the KMT supported the Ma administration’s tough stance against Japan.