Tawian leader Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of October 28 with former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang and Mrs. Lang. The president, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, extended a warm welcome to the couple on their visit to Taiwan.
In remarks, the president noted that Mr. Lang served as minister of culture twice, and also served as minister of national education. He oversaw a number of world-renowned cultural projects during his tenures as minister of culture, including the expansion of the Louvre Museum, the construction of the Grande Arche de La Defense, the founding of the Opera Bastille, and the construction of the National Library of France. All of these projects highlighted the government’s resolve and vision, the president said. At the same time, Mr. Lang promoted free admission at a number of historic sites during the third weekend of September each year. Many other countries followed by instituting similar policies, and Taiwan initiated such a policy 12 years ago, the president said.
President Ma stated that in addition to free admission at historic sites, Mr. Lang was responsible for several important policies, including the adoption of a fixed book price law to prevent discounting from harming the interests of authors. President Ma noted that while this policy aroused strong opposition when it was first proposed, the cultural community has given high marks to this initiative since it was implemented.
The president mentioned that Taiwan and France not only maintain strong economic and trade ties, but also have close interaction in the fields of culture and technology. Besides inking quite a few agreements on technology cooperation, cultural activities are also regularly held, such as the Malraux Seminaire and the Taiwan-France Cultural Awards, he said. In addition, the president pointed out, when he served as Taipei City Mayor, he also promoted bilateral exchange in the field of urban planning. All of these activities are indicative of a very strong relationship, he said.
President Ma stated that while the information industry was considered the motor behind the third wave of economic development, the cultural industry is expected to drive the fourth wave, which highlights the importance of promoting related national development projects and cultivating talent in this industry. He expressed his hope that Mr. Lang, after returning to France, will offer his valuable suggestions as how to expand bilateral cultural ties, thereby further enhancing the bilateral cooperative relationship.
Mr. and Mrs. Lang, along with French Office in Taipei Director Olivier Richard and French Office Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action M. Christophe Gigaudaut, were accompanied to the Presidential Office by Minister of Culture Lung Yingtai (龍應台) to meet with President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Advisor Francis Yi-Hua Kan (甘逸驊).