TAIPEI--Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou outlined a plan earlier this month that will expand the floor space of the National Palace Museum in Taipei by about seven times the existing area, which would allow more of "the essentials of Chinese civilization" to be put on display.
Under the "Grand National Palace Museum Project" plan, construction is expected to be completed as early as 2023.
Historical objects and archives held at the museum were originally stored at the Palace Museum inside the Forbidden City in Beijing.
In 1949, when the China Nationalist Party (Kuomintang of China), the precursor of the ruling Nationalist Party of Taiwan, fled to the island after losing the 1945-1949 civil war to the Communist Party of China, the Nationalist Party brought the objects and archives to Taiwan.
Currently, the museum has more than 680,000 items, including porcelains, paintings and calligraphy, but has exhibition space for only 3,000 items. Under the plan, the floor space will increase to 64,900 square meters from 9,500 square meters, allowing for exhibiting a total of 15,000 items.
The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party lashed out at the Ma government for the expansion plan, saying companies having close ties with the ruling Kuomintang party are implementing tourism projects near the museum to garner commercial benefits from the project.
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