The British Museum realised that permissions and acknowledgement for a translation by Yilin Wang had been inadvertently omitted from the exhibition China’s hidden century. The Museum says this was an unintentional human error for which the Museum has apologised to Yilin Wang.
In response to a request from Yilin Wang, the museum has taken down their translations in the exhibition. The museum has also offered financial payment for the period the translations appeared in the exhibition as well as for the continued use of quotations from their translations in the exhibition catalogue. The catalogue includes an acknowledgement of their work and the museum continues to be in discussion with Yilin Wang.
The British Museum takes copyright permissions seriously. This was a particularly complicated project and the museum recognises it made an inadvertent mistake and fell short of our usual standards.
China’s hidden century has been a complex exhibition to stage, working with over 400 people from 20 countries to produce its content and display, including 30 lenders and numerous other contributors.
Over the past few days museum employees have been subjected to personal attacks on social media. They have spent years, together with scholars worldwide, working on the China’s hidden century research project and the resulting publications, China’s hidden century: 1796-1912 and Creators of Modern China: 100 lives from Empire to Republic, 1796-1912.
It is through their scholarship and efforts, and those of their collaborators, that the museum has been able to present this period of Chinese history, through people-centred stories, to the thousands visiting the China’s hidden century temporary exhibition at the British Museum. The British Museum stands behind their colleagues fully and request those responsible for these personal attacks to desist as it works with Yilin Wang to resolve the issues they have raised concerning the use of their translations within the exhibition.
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