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Scholars Slam Taiwan for De-sinicizing National Museum
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Scholars on the Chinese mainland have condemned a recent resolution adopted by the Taiwanese authority that requires the island's National Palace Museum to remove all the labels that identify exhibits as from the Chinese mainland.

The resolution, adopted by Taiwan's Executive Yuan on January 17, bans the National Palace Museum from identifying its exhibits as transported from the Imperial Palace in Beijing, the overseas edition of the People's Daily newspaper reported on Friday.

By the resolution, the task of the museum shall be "the collection,study and expatiation of "domestic and foreign antiques and art pieces", instead of "the collection, study and expatiation of ancient Chinese art."

"The Taiwan authorities may next label the Chinese mainland a 'foreign country'," said Xu Bodong, dean of the school of Taiwan studies at the Beijing Union University.

First opened in 1965, the National Palace Museum in Taipei houses 654,500 art works and artifacts that were shipped from Beijing (then called Beiping) to Taiwan in 1949 during nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek's retreat to the island.

Many scholars said the revised regulation ignored historic fact and was just another attempt to cut Taiwan's links to the mainland.

"I have visited the museum three times. Each time, I saw a lot of Taiwanese young people there, most of them deeply impressed and proud of being Chinese," Xu said.

"But the resolution is intended to force them to forget the fact that they are Chinese," he said.

Professor Shao Zonghai, of the Chinese Cultural University of Taiwan, pointed out that it would affect relations between the two sides.

"The administrative measures cannot influence my generation, but will affect the next generation, alienating them towards the mainland," Shao said.

"To simply erase some terms cannot change the fact that the exhibits were originally transported from Beijing," said Liang Jinsheng, researcher with the Palace Museum in Beijing.

"It's an insult to those who put so much effort into preserving the cultural relics on their way to the island during wartime," said Liang, whose grandfather oversaw the transport of imperial collections in 1949.

"Regulations can be changed, but the history cannot," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2007)


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