Taiwan's art relics shake off a legacy of oppression

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TAIPEI -- The National Palace Museum has thrown out its statue of Chiang Kai-shek and is broadening its horizons.

In a valley on the outskirts of Taipei, school classes, families and tourists clog the entrance to the National Palace Museum. After a three-year gap, some of the world's foremost cultural treasures - the art collections of the Chinese emperors - are once again on view.

The 650,000 artefacts and documents, which any other nation might see as a blessing, have, however, not always been welcomed by the people of Taiwan. For 40 or 50 years the collection was "far removed from the Taiwanese people", says Lin Mun-lee, the museum's director.

This is because the museum's history has been inseparably entangled with events that laid the foundation for today's cross-strait tensions...

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