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Documentary on rare Chinese junk boat premieres in New Zealand

Documentary on rare Chinese junk boat premieres in New Zealand

Taipei, July 28 (CNA) A documentary that chronicles the international effort to salvage and bring a rare Chinese junk boat back to Taiwan from the United States premiered in New Zealand on Sunday (New Zealand time) and was enthusiastically welcomed.
The film received a standing ovation at its world premiere in Wellington during the New Zealand International Film Festival, which is being held in various cities in the country.
The documentary, directed by Robin Greenberg and titled "Return of the Free China Junk," documents efforts to bring the Chinese wooden sailing boat "Free China" back to Taiwan.
The boat, measuring 21.3 meters long and 5.2 meters wide, is believed to have been built in the 1890s. It is also said to be the oldest existing Chinese junk built according to ancient methods and one of the only ones to have sailed across the Pacific.
On April 16, 1955, six young men in their twenties -- Paul Chow, Hu Loo-chi, Calvin E. Mehlert, Benny Hsu, Reno Chen and Marco Chung -- embarked on a journey to sail the boat across the Pacific from Keelung to San Francisco.
They had hoped to get their vessel to the United States to compete in an international race from America to Sweden in June that year. They failed to make it in time for the race, but the boat arrived in San Francisco after a 114-day journey.
The vessel remained in the U.S. until it was shipped back to Taiwan in 2012. During its time in the U.S., it was first donated to an American museum and later found abandoned and on the verge of destruction in a private shipyard in 2009.
Taiwanese officials and experts, as well as Dione Chen, the daughter of Reno Chen and founder of the non-profit group Chinese Junk Preservation, were among those who made active efforts to bring the boat back to Taiwan.
The documentary also includes archived interviews with the junk-mates.
Since its return to Taiwan, the boat has been preserved at the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology in Keelung.
The annual New Zealand International Film Festival kicked off on July 16 and will run until Sept. 20. A total of 165 films are being screened in 13 cities and regions at the festival. (By Christie Chen)


Updated : 2021-09-25 11:09 GMT+08:00