Sun, Apr 07, 2019 - Page 3 News List

UK university not fully persuaded to show Taiwan as part of China, it says

Staff writer, with CNA, London

A sculpture by artist Mark Wallinger, which has caused controversy due to how it refers to Taiwan, is on display outside the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the London School of Economics in England on Thursday.

Photo: CNA

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has yet to make a final decision on whether to change the design of a sculpture on its campus, the British school said on Friday, after it initially sided with Chinese students and agreed to depict Taiwan as part of China.

Opinions are to be canvassed before finalizing a decision, the university said in an e-mailed response to a request for comment.

The university on March 26 unveiled the sculpture by the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger outside its Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. The World Turned Upside Down is a large political globe, 4m in diameter, with nation states and borders outlined, but with “the revolutionary twist of being inverted,” according to the university’s Web site.

At the unveiling, Taiwan was labeled “Rep. China (Taiwan)” on the sculpture and colored pink, while China was labeled “China (People’s Republic)” and colored yellow.

After Chinese students protested over Taiwan’s designation and Taiwanese students issued their own statement, calling on the school to keep the original design, the school had the two groups meet on Wednesday.

The Chinese students proposed changing the original design so that Taiwan would be the same color as China, a suggestion that the LSE accepted.

“The artwork currently does not reflect our understanding of the UN delineations that it was due to represent,” the university said in the e-mail.

“We are consulting our community and considering amendments to the work. No final decisions have been reached,” the school added.

The labeling dispute has stirred up a group of students and researchers in London who are urging the LSE not to go along with the Chinese students’ sculpture proposal.

Formosa Salon, a Facebook group with about 2,000 members, has launched an online petition to highlight people’s disagreement with the school’s move.

On Thursday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), an LSE alumna, said that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent nation, and that this reality would never change.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in an open letter on Friday to LSE director Nemat Talaat Shafik protested the school’s decision, saying that Taiwan is a sovereign, democratic country whose president and legislature are democratically elected.

UK legislators Dennis Rogan and Nigel Evans, cochairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, on Thursday wrote a letter to the LSE, demanding that the school keep one color for Taiwan and a different color for China.

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