BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese military released an animated short film on National Day showing pieces of a scroll painting torn in two more than 300 years ago being reunited, in a show of the mainland’s determination to bring self-ruled Taiwan into the fold.
The pieces of the “The Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains”, one of China’s best-known ancient paintings, are kept separately in museums in China and Taiwan, the democratically governed island that Beijing claims as one its provinces, and which it reserves the right to take over by force.
On National Day on Sunday, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, known for belligerent videos of exercises around Taiwan, released an animated short film called “Dreams Come True on Fuchun River”, appealing to the shared cultural roots of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The film featured two elves, representing the two pieces of the painting by Yuan dynasty master Huang Gongwang, which was torn apart in the 17th century by one of its owners.
At the end of the movie, the two characters came together, magically making the painting whole again.
The shorter piece of the scroll, known as “The Remaining Mountain”, about 51 cm long, is at the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou city. Taiwan’s National Palace Museum has kept the 640-cm long “Master Wuyong Scroll” since the 1950s.
The two pieces were reunited in 2011 when China lent its fragment to the Taiwanese museum for two months during a period of warmer relations as Taiwan pursued a policy of economic rapprochement with China.
But in recent years, as relations have cooled, China has ramped up military activities around Taiwan, including drills over the past month that Beijing said were targeted at combating separatist forces.
At the same time, China is drafting ambitious plans to “integrate” the economies of its Fujian province and Taiwan, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, offering Taiwan firms a chance to take part in a joint development plan, which Taiwan’s government has spurned.
While China is keen to woo Taiwan with promises of economic gains, the threat of taking Taiwan by force is unrelenting.
During the journey by the two elves in the film, the Eastern Theatre Command inserted shots of aircraft carrier formations and J-20 fighter jets, reminding viewers of its battlefield capabilities.