‘Taiwan independence’ secessionists warned not to be ‘unworthy descendants’ amid rumored relic relocation to US and Japan

Taipei Palace Museum Photo: AFP

As tensions escalate in the Taiwan Strait following United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s provocative visit to the island, rumor has it that some of the Chinese relics in the palace museum from Taipei will be transferred to the United States and Japan for “protection” aroused public opinion. contempt. The museum denied the rumor on Sunday, but struggled to allay public concerns.

Although it is a rumor, observers and netizens have warned of a possible relocation of relics abroad from the island of Taiwan, because it will not only be a great disaster for Chinese culture, but also a provocation for the entire Chinese nation, and they warned regional leader Tsai Ing-wen and other secessionists on the island not to be “unworthy descendants”.

The museum houses many treasures, most of which were moved from the Palace Museum in Beijing and other institutions across the Chinese mainland during the retreat of the Kuomintang (KMT) to the island after its defeat in a civil war in the late 1940s, and has become one of the world’s finest collections of Chinese imperial relics. The museum is actively considering how to “protect its treasures” in the event of a military conflict, media reported.

As China conducted military exercises around the island following Pelosi’s provocative visit, rumors circulating online claimed that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities were preparing to recover and relocate some 90,000 relics. in the United States and Japan.

The topic “Taiwanese authorities prepare to transfer Taipei Palace Museum relics to the United States” was trending on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo on Sunday.

The relics are a cultural heritage of 5,000 years of Chinese history, and once sent overseas, it will be difficult to get them back, many outraged netizens commented.

Netizens on the island of Taiwan also expressed astonishment at the announced potential relocation.

The rumors came after US news outlet CNN revealed on July 30 that “in the event of an evacuation, the museum said it would focus on saving approximately 90,000 relics from its 700,000-person collection, prioritizing artifacts of greater value and those that take up less space.” The museum would not disclose where the evacuated items would be stored, or how they would be transported there, according to the report.

Local media in Taiwan published a report on Sunday saying the museum had conducted a wartime response exercise in late July focused on evacuating its huge collection of artifacts.

Challenged by public outrage, the museum debunked the evacuation rumors as fake news on Sunday. A netizen from the island of Taiwan commented under the museum’s Facebook account that the denial had not convinced them.

Whatever the reason, anyone who allows cultural relics to be taken overseas will be a sinner, another said.

The museum’s collection will be better off if it stays where it is in the event of “an attack from mainland China”, suggested Feng Ming-chu, a former curator at the museum, local media reported.

Staying put is the best arrangement for antiquities and that’s the consensus of all museum retirees, Feng said.

Sending relics overseas in an emergency will certainly lead to protests both on the mainland and on the island of Taiwan, Zhu Wei, vice director of the Center for Research on Human Rights, said Monday. communication from the China University of Political Science and Law. He believes local residents will not support such an arrangement.

Zhu urged Taiwanese authorities and other secessionists on the island not to be “unworthy descendants”.

Even if some of the relics are moved overseas by secessionists in the future, China may recover them after national reunification in accordance with domestic and international laws, Zhu noted.

Public concern over the relocation has grown since the museum repeatedly sent fragile relics overseas for exhibits while DPP authorities were in power.

In early 2019, the museum’s decision to loan a priceless 1,200-year-old masterpiece of calligraphy – the fragile Requiem to My Nephew, written in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) by Yan Zhenqing – to a Japanese museum sparked an outcry among the public, reported the South China Morning Post.

The island of Taiwan was colonized by Japan for almost half a century between 1895 and 1945.