The two people responsible for defacing the artworks donated by Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan (成龍) to the National Palace Museum Southern Branch yesterday defended their actions as a protest against China’s cultural “united front” strategy.
“As far as China is concerned, the 12 zodiac animal heads are antiquities looted from them by foreigners and they must be returned to their rightful owner. Putting copies of the sculptures in Taiwan insinuates that ‘Taiwan is China’s lost property,’” 19-year-old Chen Miao-ting (陳妙婷) and 33-year-old Chen Yi-ting (陳儀庭) said in a statement issued yesterday.
The pair said the statues serve as an expression of China’s political message that “both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family” and that “there is bound to be unification after prolonged division.”
Photo: Wu Shih-tsung, Taipei Times
In addition, the existence of the museum is not only meant to demonstrate the superiority of Zhonghua culture (中華文化) and paint Taiwanese as barbarians, it also signifies foreign colonization, the pair said.
“We refuse to let any objects indicating [China’s] cultural united front strategy or replicas from other cultures be displayed in our arts and cultural palace,” they said.
They demanded that the replicas of the 12 zodiac animal heads be immediately removed from the National Palace Museum Southern Branch, while urging Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to dismiss National Palace Museum Director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) should she take office.
Photo: Tu Chu-min, Taipei Times
Chen Miao-ting and Chen Yi-ting were taken in for questioning by the police on Wednesday evening, hours after they allegedly vandalized the bronze dragon and horse heads with red paint, and sprayed the Chinese characters for “cultural united front” (文化統戰) onto their pedestals.
They were then charged with vandalism and obstructing public officials and referred to the Chiayi District Prosecutors’ Office, which later released them.
The statues are two of the replicas of 12 zodiac sculptures donated by Chan, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The originals were looted from China’s Old Summer Palace by British and French forces in 1860.
The animal heads have been on display in the courtyard of the museum in Chiayi County since the venue’s soft opening on Monday.
After the incident, the museum issued a statement on Wednesday saying most of the antiquities it has amassed originated from the Qing Dynasty, which would naturally make them Zhonghua culture artworks.
“If displaying antiquities of Zhonghua culture is tantamount to launching an united front, how are we ever going to run a national museum?” the museum asked, vowing to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Museum official Wang Shih-sheng (王士聖) yesterday said that staff had removed the paint from the statues.
“As the statues are displayed in an open area, it is almost impossible to prevent this sort of vandalism. We urge everyone to adopt a rational attitude toward the museum,” Wang said.
Meanwhile, Hakka hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤) yesterday defended Chen Miao-ting and Chen Yi-ting on Facebook, saying they should be applauded.
“It was the opening of Taiwan’s new cultural site and you asked Chan, a CPPCC member, to join the opening ceremony? May I ask: What do Chan’s replica animal heads have to do with Taiwanese culture?” Kou Chou Ching wrote.
Additional reporting by CNA
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
NUMBERS HAVE FALLEN: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said there are good signs, but ‘we cannot afford to let our guard down now’ The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 219 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 22 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the 219 local infections — 117 male and 102 female — were aged from under five to over 100 years old, and they began having symptoms between May 22 and Monday. New Taipei City reported 123 cases, followed by Taipei with 54, Miaoli County with 16, Taoyuan with 13, Keelung with eight, Changhua County with two, and one each in Hsinchu City, Taichung and Tainan. The 22 deaths were 15 men and
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was