Taiwan demands guarantees China would return loaned artifacts
Taiwan said Sunday
that it will only allow artifacts from its National Palace Museum (NPM) to be
displayed in China if Beijing guarantees to return the treasures, dpa reported.
Taiwan's NPM and Beijing's Palace Museum are considering holding a joint exhibition in October, according to an unnamed cabinet official cited by Taipei's Central News Agency.
But since Beijing considers Taiwan part of China, and the artifacts in the NPM were taken from China by the Chinese Nationalist Government when the it lost the civil war and fled to Taiwan in 1949, there is a danger of China impounding Taiwan's artifacts if they are sent to China.
Thus Taiwanese Premier Liu Chao-shiuan insisted Sunday that China must sign the Law of Guaranteed Return, promising to return the treasures at the end of exhibition.
"Premier Liu supports holding joint exhibitions, but he said the biggest concern is the safety of these treasures. We demand China sign sign the Law of Guaranteed Return, before we can send the treasures on exhibition in China," the official told CNA.
In October, the NPM will hold an exhibition to display priceless treasures from Emperor Yongzheng (1678-1735) of the Qing Dynasty. Most of the exhibits will be from the NPM, but some will be loaned from Beijing's Palace Museum.
The Chinese Nationalist Government took the best artifacts from the Palace Museum in Beijing and a museum in Nanjing - a total of 650,000 pieces - and brought them to Taipei, when it lost the Chinese Civil War.
Since then, the artifacts have been preserved at the NPM on the outskirts of Taipei, and are put on display by rotation.
China regards Taiwan as its breakaway province and considers the artworks the heritage of China. Fearing that Beijing might impound the artifacts through its diplomatic ties with foreign countries, Taiwan has allowed the NPM to send its treasures abroad only a few times.
In February 2008, the NPM held an exhibition in Austria following two years of negotiations to convince Vienna to sign the Law of Guaranteed Return.
Currently 171 countries recognize China but only 23 nations have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.