National Palace Museum director Wu Mi-cha (吳密察) late last month, while being questioned by a legislator, said that three ceramic items from the collecition had been damaged over the previous 18 months.
Social commentator Lucifer Chu (朱學恒) lambasted the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), writing on Facebook that the three treasures had escaped the clutches of the Chinese Communist Party, having been transfered to Taiwan unscathed by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but had now been destroyed under Wu’s oversight.
It is an overwhelming embarrassment and shame for the nation that pieces of a heritage that has been passed down for four centuries have been shattered.
The Chinese Global Times newspaper published an article saying that the incident was not an “accident,” but a result of the DPP’s push for “desinicization,” and that the party’s agenda was the main reason for the damage.
However, the Global Times refrained from calling the incident a “national embarrassment” for fear of implying that Taiwan is indeed an independent nation.
In response to the scandal, DPP Legislator Lin Yi-chin (林宜瑾), who is on the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee, said that during former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, the museum had also come under fire for an incident in which a priceless print titled Yellow River and Lanzhou Floating Bridge (黃河蘭州浮橋圖) was damaged.
During preparation for an exhibition, the museum had ordered parts of the original frame to be cut off so that the print could be displayed in a specific casing. It was only when the misconduct was later exposed that the collections section reported the incident in confidence to then-museum director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠).
However, Feng was neither referred to the review board nor the Government Employee Ethics Unit, and the scandal was swept under the carpet.
Even though Feng claimed that accidental damage was a first in its history, the museum has made a series of blunders in the past, and has twice been censured by the Control Yuan.
Li Dao-yong is director of the City South Culture and History Studio.
Translated by Rita Wang
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