Sun, Sep 18, 2016 - Page 3 News List

KMT to sell merchandise to sustain its operations

By Shih Hsiao-kuang and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Faced with the possibility of its assets being frozen following the legislature’s passage of the Act Governing the Handling of Illegal Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has initiated a plan to sell merchandise based on items from the party’s history.

According to the act, which went into effect on Aug. 12, political parties are barred from disposing of any possibly illegal assets and are obliged to register all such property with the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee within one year of the law’s promulgation.

Through its Party Assets Revitalization plan, the party hopes to create a new source of revenue based on creative interpretations of items in its museum to meet its operational costs, the KMT said.

It plans to hold a design contest for practical items such as paperweights, decorative adhesive tape, mugs and T-shirts that are to draw inspiration from relics in the museum, with the winning designs to be turned into merchandise through cooperation with a manufacturing partner, sources said.

The items are to be sold at the KMT’s headquarters in Taipei, which the party said would be renovated to house a store and a “digital museum” showcasing more than 100 years of the party’s history, adding that it hopes the museum will generate interest in both the KMT’s history and in the merchandise from the contest.

According to the KMT, it has begun taking inventory of the items in its museum, including KMT founder Sun Yat-sen’s (孫中山) calligraphy set, clothes, shackles from his time in prison, a lock of his hair from his revolutionary years and a parting letter he wrote to his wife during the disastrous Second Guangzhou Uprising in April 1911.

The museum also houses the sword used by general Chang Tzu-chung (張自忠) during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

“We are faced with the challenge that under the current ‘localized’ education system, many young people do not even know who Sun Yat-sen is. We need to find a way to make the party approachable, help people understand history and overcome the stiff ‘old nationalist’ image that the public associates with the KMT,” said a party official, who declined to be named.

The project aims to connect the relics with a “young and creative” element that will attract people to buy the merchandise, the official said.

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