The Changhua County Government yesterday demolished a former temple that had been converted into a shrine to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), while the owner protested by raising aloft the Chinese flag a final time.
Wei Ming-jen (魏明仁), a contractor and former military officer, bought the property and used it as a conduit of Chinese influence and his own interests, an official said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
The temple was ordered demolished and its water and power supplies cut by the county on Friday last week. Changhua County Deputy Commissioner Lin Ming-yu (林明裕) yesterday oversaw the demolition work, which he ordered to commence at 10:05am.
Photo: Chen Kuan-pei, Taipei Times
The county said Wei would be responsible for paying the NT$5 million (US$162,882) cost for demolition, adding that the work would take one week to complete.
On Tuesday, about 20 people showed up to support Wei, who wore a People’s Liberation Army uniform during the flag raising.
Wei told his supporters that the demolition had historical significance, adding that the communists would “rise up again at their base in Ershuei (二水)” — the township where the property is located.
Wei ended his speech by chanting: “Long live the Chinese Communist Party. Long live the teachings of Mao Zedong [毛澤東]. Long live the People’s Republic of China.”
He said his supporters should trust him, because their “great China dream would one day be revived.”
Before the demolition began, Wei raised the Chinese flag at the temple, gathered his belongs and left, accompanied by members of the pro-unification Concentric Patriotism Association (愛國同心會).
The nearly 100-year-old temple originally served as a place of worship for local Buddhists. The temple had hired Wei to build an expansion, but later lost the building to him due to a property rights dispute.
Wei kicked out the nuns residing at the temple and replaced Buddhist statues with images of Mao, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and other CCP icons.
The Changhua County Cultural Affairs Bureau said the temple was built in 1922 and expanded in 2002.
The temple had agreed to pay NT$70 million for the expansion, but as the work progressed, Wei increased the cost to NT$90 million, which the temple was unable to afford, the bureau added.
Wei took the case to court, where it was tied up for nearly 10 years.
The Changhua District Court ordered the temple be auctioned off.
Wei’s remodeling of the temple with CCP propaganda and Chinese flags caught media attention, with the New York Times running a feature story on Sept. 19.
The nuns have been forced to live as squatters in a makeshift shack next to the property, the temple priest said, adding that he hopes “everyone can help rebuild the temple someday.”
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Changhua County Councilor Hsu Shu-wei (許書維) said he was grateful to Changhua County Commissioner Wei Ming-ku (魏明谷) for taking the lead in having the temple demolished, but added that only in deciding who had the rights to the land would justice be served.
At a news conference yesterday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman An Fengshan (安峰山) said: “This clearly demonstrates the DPP’s indulgence of Taiwan-independence activities while it attacks and persecutes Taiwanese who advocate unification.”
Additional reporting by Chung Li-hua
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational