A suggestion by a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member that the National Palace Museum’s holdings belong to the party, and therefore its ticket revenues should go to the party, has stirred up a hornets’ nest and triggered criticism from government officials and others.
Chen Li-hsu (陳麗旭), a Tainan delegate to the KMT’s National Congress on Sunday, said that since the Republic of China’s government took major treasures that had belonged to the National Palace Museum in Beijing with it when it went into exile, those items actually belonged to the KMT.
She called on party headquarters to demand their return and for the museum’s ticket money to be turned over to the party as well.
Photo: Pan Shao-tang, Taipei Times
The the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee yesterday said that it was “disappointing to see some people still cling to past authoritarian mindsets, believing the KMT owns all the nation’s treasures.”
“During the communist rebellion and the civil war period, the KMT took advantage of the one-party state to contravene the law and devise ways to legitimize its illegal actions. The KMT acquired properties and assets that belonged to the nation and its citizens, amassing a vast wealth that it then controlled,” the committee said in a statement.
“National treasures are not the same as treasures of a political party,” it said.
Pressed by reporters yesterday, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said the proposal was the personal viewpoint of a party delegate and the idea was not discussed during the congress.
However, former KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) told reporters that he saw Chen’s suggestion as a call to identify with the Republic of China (ROC).
“Of course the treasures of the National Palace Museum belong to Republic of China,” Chu said.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said that “all of the nation’s belongings belong to all 23 million citizens, not to any one party.”
In a Facebook post, Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) raised the possibility that at least one KMT member might have a claim on the museum’s treasures.
When the ROC was founded, the provisional government in Nanjing headed by Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙) reached an agreement with its rival, the Beiyang government in Beijing of warlord general Yuan Shi-kai (袁世凱), for the national treasures left by the Qing Dynasty to be housed in the Forbidden City, but when warlord Feng Yu-hsiang (馮玉祥) overthrew the Beiyang government, everyone living in the Forbidden City and its contents were kicked out, he wrote.
“If Taiwan were ever to return these treasures, it would be to the Qing emperors’ descendants of the Manchu clan Aisin Gioro, among whom the most prominent is [former KMT secretary-general] King Pu-tsung (金溥聰),” he wrote.
Additional reporting by Chen Chien-chih, Huang Mei-chu and Jason Pan
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