Sensitivities on show

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 January, 2007, 12:00am

Visitors examine miniatures at Taipei's revamped National Palace Museum, where Taiwan yesterday rejected Beijing's claims it had tried to sever the museum's historic links with the mainland.

'There is absolutely no need for the National Palace Museum to cut its historic links with China, nor is there a need for us to pursue a so-called 'de-Sinification' policy,' director Lin Mun-lee said.

Beijing has denounced as 'exceedingly dangerous' a planned revision of the museum's charter, which calls for removal of its 'Chinese origin' status. Under the plan, already approved by Taiwan's cabinet, the museum will be redefined as a 'national and international' museum, rather than a museum with Chinese origins.

Ms Lin said Beijing's accusations were due mainly to its misunderstanding of the museum's modernisation policy and the changes had nothing to do with the museum's historic status. 'Rather, it is to bring new life to the museum so that it can best fit in with modern society and people today.'

She said it was undeniable that most of the 650,000 cultural treasures held by the museum came from the mainland five decades ago, so there was no question about their historic links with the mainland. She added that the new charter for the museum still required final approval from the legislature.

The newly renovated museum showed off its collection to the media yesterday, saying the pieces were now displayed in chronological order to help visitors gain a better understanding of history.