"The Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" is among China's most iconic ancient paintings, with its fragments currently housed in museums in both China and Taiwan. Taiwan, despite its democratic governance, is a territory claimed by Beijing as one of its provinces, with the assertion of the right to regain it through force if necessary.
On National Day, the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command, known for its assertive videos depicting military exercises around Taiwan, released an animated short film titled "Dreams Come True on Fuchun River." The film aims to appeal to the shared cultural heritage of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The animated film features two elves, symbolizing the two pieces of the Yuan dynasty masterpiece created by Huang Gongwang. The painting had been torn asunder in the 17th century during its ownership transitions.
The film concludes with a magical rejoining of the two characters, symbolizing the complete restoration of the painting.
One part of the scroll, known as "The Remaining Mountain," measuring approximately 51 cm in length, is located in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou city. Meanwhile, Taiwan's National Palace Museum has preserved the longer piece, the 640-cm long "Master Wuyong Scroll," since the 1950s.
The two sections were briefly reunited in 2011 when China lent its fragment to the Taiwanese museum for a two-month period during a time of improved relations. At that time, Taiwan was pursuing a policy of economic rapprochement with China.
However, in recent years, as relations have cooled, China has escalated military activities around Taiwan, including exercises over the past month that Beijing stated were aimed at deterring separatist movements.
Simultaneously, China is developing ambitious plans to "integrate" the economies of its Fujian province and Taiwan, fostering an opportunity for Taiwanese companies to participate in a collaborative development program. Nonetheless, Taiwan's government has declined this proposal.
While China seeks to entice Taiwan with the promise of economic benefits, the possibility of reunification through force remains a persistent threat.
Throughout the elves' journey in the animated film, the Eastern Theatre Command integrated footage of aircraft carrier formations and J-20 fighter jets, serving as a reminder of its military capabilities.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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