Taiwan’s leading museum will remove statues donated by Hollywood star Jackie Chan after they were vandalized by anti-Beijing protesters late last year, Agence France-Presse reports.
The sculptures, depicting 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, currently sit in the garden at the southern branch of the National Palace Museum.
They are copies of ancient relics from the Qing Dynasty. The originals were looted from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace in 1860 by Anglo-French troops.
The museum decided to move the artwork after consulting with the public who expressed concerns over its political sensitivity as well as questioning its artistic value, the news agency said.
“Everyone from architects, domestic collectors, the art world, to media think they should be removed,” museum director Lin Jeng-yi said in a legislative session.
Lin said the museum would decide what to do with the removed statues after discussing the issue with the art industry later this month.
Chan, who is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has been criticized in the past for his pro-Beijing remarks.
Two of the bronze statues were defaced with red paint and anti-China slogans last December, shortly after the museum branch opened in Chiayi county.
The attack came ahead of the presidential election in January, which was won by Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
Voters feared closer ties with Beijing threatened the island’s sovereignty.
The protesters involved in the attack were sentenced by a local court to two months in jail earlier this year, the report said.
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