Thousands of people took to the streets of Taipei yesterday to support preserving the Losheng (Happy Life) Sanatorium.
After speeches, musical performances and a play by individuals and groups, the crowd marched 2km from the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office where another rally followed.
Losheng is a sanatorium in Taipei County completed in 1930 under Japanese colonial rule where thousands of people with Hansen's disease, or leprosy, have been secluded for life.
PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, AP
Plans to tear down most of the buildings to make room for a Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) maintenance depot have sparked heated debate.
The sanatorium still houses 45 elderly lepers who refuse to move.
Last month, the Taipei County Government announced that today would be the deadline for the residents' mandatory eviction.
PHOTO:CHIANG YING-YING, AP
However, having faced tremendous public pressure, Premier Su Tseng-chang (
Although the premier's decision has given Losheng a temporary reprieve, the sanatorium's future is still uncertain.
"Through the march, we want to put pressure on the government on all levels ? so that Losheng's preservation can be assured," said Hsia Chu-chiu (
A UK-based construction consulting firm has proposed a plan in which 90 percent of the sanatorium's buildings can be preserved with only a few months' delay to the completion of the MRT line.
"Preserve 90 percent of Losheng -- no delay to the MRT" the crowd chanted as they marched.
At the tail end of the march was a group of about 100 "disciplinants," mostly of university students.
Four people leading the team walked while dragging metal barrels with burning coals.
Those who followed kneeled down on the street after every six steps and kowtowed.
"I do so to get a feeling of what it is like to be a disadvantaged person in a society, and to try to feel how hard life was for the elderly people [of Losheng]," said Lou Nai-chieh (樓乃潔), a university student who participated in the disciplinant team.
"I want to thank you all for holding out your hands and offering us your warm help," Chou Fu-tsu (
More than 100 civic groups around the nation participated in the demonstration, according to Hsu Po-jen (
To bring demonstrators from outside of Taipei into the city, the sponsors organized a "Losheng bus" program in which people pooled their money to hire buses.
"There are four buses that brought us here from Kaoshiung and Pingtung," said a demonstrator surnamed Kao from Meinong (
"We're here to join forces with others and express our opposition to a bad decision," Kao said.
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
‘CONTAINED’: The CECC is not considering locking down the hospital where the infections were detected, as their source has been found, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one new domestic COVID-19 case, a doctor at a hospital in northern Taiwan where three other medical workers were confirmed to have the disease over the past week. The new case — No. 856 — is a doctor who had treated a COVID-19 patient together with case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Case No. 838, confirmed as a locally infected COVID-19 case on Tuesday, was the first case in the hospital cluster, and later infected his partner, who is a nurse at the same