Back to list

Former NPM head defends her right to serve as Beijing museum adviser

2016/09/10 21:08:15

Taipei, Sept. 10 (CNA) Former National Palace Museum (NPM) Director Feng Ming-chu (馮明珠) responded Saturday to criticisms of her decision to accept a position as an adviser to Beijing's Palace Museum, saying that she was not breaking any laws.

"It is a non-paying, honorary post at an academic institute," Feng said in a statement, noting that famous international scholars such as Dame Jessica Rawson of Oxford University and Professor L. Ledderose of Germany are currently serving as advisers to the Beijing museum.

Furthermore, Feng said, she was not violating Taiwan's laws by accepting the offer, since she had ready obtained the necessary approval to take up the post three months after she ended her service at the NPM in May.

Referring to criticisms that she was violating Taiwan's revolving door regulation, Feng said it does not apply to government agencies outside of national security.

She said the shortened three-month interim period is permitted for her since she was not involved in national security work.

According to the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, former political appointees and local government heads who plan to travel to China within three years of leaving office are required to obtain prior approval from a screening committee comprised of officials from related government agencies.

The law, however, also contains a provisory clause that allows discretion in shortening or extending the restriction period, based on the nature of the applicant's job.

"If I've broken the law, I'll give up the job offer," Feng said in an exclusive interview with CNA Friday night. "But if I've not violated the law, why should I do that?"

Feng said she applied to the National Immigration Agency (NIA) to shorten the job interim period from one year to three months in May and gained approval to do so.

She also noted that the shortened three-month period is allowed for employees of the Ministry of Culture, who do similar work.

Feng, who worked her way up from the lower levels to the top post at the National Palace Museum, said she served at the museum for 38 years and would be "happy to share her work experience with other museums."

Feng also responded to media comments that she had "forgotten her roots," saying that neither the NPM nor any other museum in Taiwan had invited her to serve as an adviser.

(By Sabine Cheng, Tang Pei-chun and Lilian Wu)