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West Kowloon Cultural District

Palace Museum director hails close ties with Hong Kong as partnership agreement signed

Second letter of intent on cultural exchange between mainland and Hong Kong counterparts signed on Thursday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 9:33am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 December, 2017, 10:51am

Exhibitions at China’s top museum have made great strides in the past five years thanks to the exchange with its Hong Kong counterpart, its director has said.

Shan Jixiang, director of the Palace Museum, made the remarks as he was in the city on Thursday to sign a second letter of intent on cultural exchange and cooperation with Michelle Li, director of leisure and cultural services. Both parties signed the first one in 2012 and the latest agreement will take the cooperation to 2022, the year the Hong Kong Palace Museum will be completed at the West Kowloon hub.

“We have benefited greatly from the cooperation in the past agreement and, in my opinion, the fast advancement of the Palace Museum in curating and exhibition owe to what we learned from the museums in Hong Kong,” Shan said of the first five-year deal.

The second five-year plan will feature annual thematic exhibitions of the museum’s artefacts, plus training and exchange of professionals through internships and seminars on both sides in the run-up to the opening of Hong Kong’s branch of the museum in 2022.

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Shan summarised the five areas that he hoped to contribute to the future museum: exhibition series, relic repairing, digital technology, innovative industry, and technical training.

“We have at present about 8,000 items at national grade one level, and only 20 per cent have been displayed, so there are 80 per cent of unseen items we would like to present in Hong Kong,” he said.

“We hope Hong Kong will be the first stop for the exhibition before it goes overseas,” he said.

On the opposition expressed towards the Palace Museum, Shan said he did not read about it from the media he subscribed to. But he was confident the true value of the museum would be appreciated over time.

“Let time speak the truth and I am full of confidence that the Palace Museum culture will enrich the life of Hong Kong, given the depth and numerous cultural facilities already existing,” he said.

“As President Xi Jinping said to President Donald Trump, that Chinese civilisation is the only one in the world that has a continuous past in over 5,000 years, we are the same yellow skin and dark hair as our ancestors in the past, that is something we should be proud of,” he said.

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Shan, 63, will retire in 2020, and said he would not push back his departure by two years to see the launch of the Hong Kong museum.

“But I will remain with Palace Museum like my predecessors, and I hope I would be able to build the Hong Kong Palace Museum in a way that would reach a world class level and that is something I have full confidence in,” he added.