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Friday, December 30, 2016, 00:11

HK Palace Museum precious to cultural hub

By Staff writer

The West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) Authority will collaborate with the Palace Museum to develop the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) in the district. Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor — the authority’s board chairman — and Director of the Palace Museum Shan Jixiang signed the memorandum of understanding on cooperation in Beijing on Dec 23. The HKPM will include permanent spaces for exhibitions of relics on imperial life as well as the history and culture of the Palace Museum.

The HKPM, without question, will be a prize addition to the WKCD, which is currently under construction. It will offer Hong Kong residents and visitors a closer look at some of the imperial artifacts from the Palace Museum, better known as the Forbidden City, and help people better understand certain chapters in the nation’s ancient history. After all, Hong Kong had been a part of the Middle Kingdom for ages before it was occupied by the British in the 19th century. It is truly a privilege for the SAR to have a permanent showroom for the Palace Museum’s priceless collection. Not only will the HKPM be a major tourist attraction when it opens to the public in 2022, it will also help acquaint future generations of Hong Kong with material evidence of the nation’s history and enhance their sense of belonging.

The announcement of the HKPM project, not surprisingly, hit some raw nerves and ill imaginations here. One opposition politician was so upset that she publicly complained about having been kept in the dark like everybody else and accused the SAR government of breaking the democratic rule of public consultation on such major spending, even though she knew the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust will bear the costs of the design and construction of the HKPM and that of showcasing select national treasures. Naturally her objections were immediately dismissed as another demonstration of opposing things for the sake of it. Some people also found it strangely similar to separatist sentiments.

Since the handover there have been several sensational exhibitions of ancient artifacts from the Chinese mainland that became prominent cultural events in Hong Kong. That is why the SAR will host its first Imperial Palace exhibition next year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the HKSAR. Indeed, Carrie Lam was in Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday to meet with cultural authorities over further cooperation in bringing more cultural events to Hong Kong to supplement the teaching of national history and culture.

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