HK Palace Mu­seum pre­cious to cul­tural hub

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

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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