The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday applauded the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for not changing the color of Taiwan on a sculpture of the globe on its campus, saying the decision tallies with the cross-strait “status quo.”
The university on March 26 unveiled the sculpture, titled The World Turned Upside Down by the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger, outside its Saw Swee Hock Student Centre.
It is a political globe, 4m in diameter, with nation states and borders outlined, but with “the revolutionary twist of being inverted,” the university’s Web site says.
On the sculpture, Taiwan is labeled “Rep. China* (Taiwan)” and colored pink, while China is labeled “China (People’s Republic)” and colored yellow.
The representation irked the university’s Chinese students, who demanded that Taiwan and China be painted the same color, while Taiwanese students submitted a petition with more than 10,000 signatures urging the school to keep the original design.
The school in April said it was consulting experts and mulling changes to the sculpture, but later decided to retain the original design and erected a placard next to it.
“LSE is a place where people with different perspectives engage in respectful debate about major issues for the world,” the placard reads.
“The designated borders, colours, and place names do not imply endorsement by LSE concerning the legal status of any territory or borders,” it says. “There are many disputed borders and the artist has indicated some of these with an asterisk.”
An asterisk was placed beside Taiwan, as well as Palestine, which is entangled in territorial disputes with Israel.
The decision not only respects the artist’s original vision, but also reflects the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said in a statement.
Many British lawmakers, academics and opinion leaders over the past few months have been calling on the school to maintain the artwork as is, the ministry said, expressing gratitude for their attention to the incident.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on April 5 penned an open letter to LSE director Minouche Shafik, calling on the school not to change the artistic design due to Beijing’s pressure.
LSE has inspired many young Taiwanese in the pursuit of academic excellence and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has always been proud of her LSE experience, Wu wrote.
Additional reporting by CNA
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