Sat, Sep 07, 2019 - Page 1 News List

‘Communist’ temple is illegal: Tainan

DISRESPECT:One lawmaker said that the building is less a house of worship than a conduit for the Chinese Communist Party and that its use of the PRC flag is intolerable

By Yang Chin-cheng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The national flag of the People’s Republic of China flies outside the “Taiwan People’s Communist Party Matsu Temple” in Tainan’s Sinying District yesterday.

Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

The Tainan City Government yesterday declared the “Taiwan People’s Communist Party Matsu Temple” (台灣人民共產黨天后宮) in Sinying District (新營) an illegal building, saying that its owner would be given one week to make improvements.

After an inspection by city officials earlier in the day, Tainan Public Works Bureau official Lin Shang-ching (林尚卿) said that the building is on a 550 ping (1,818m2) plot of farmland, which by definition should be used only for agricultural purposes.

Activities on the plot, including paving concrete over farmland, and digging an artificial pond without the proper permits are contraventions of the Regional Planning Act (區域計畫法), he said, adding that the construction company had not obtained a proper permit for the work.

The building, which was converted into a shrine by Lin Te-wang (林德旺) — head of the Taiwan People’s Communist Party (台灣人民共產黨) — flies the five-star red flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Lin Te-wang had left for China’s Fujian Province to escort a sculpture of the goddess Matsu (媽祖) back to the temple, party staff said, adding that he was scheduled to return last night and enshrine the sculpture in the evening.

One party worker accused the government of “political oppression,” as Lin Te-wang had only recently rented the property, which was previously a betel nut shop.

Attempts to rent a building in the district to serve as the party’s headquarters were futile, as no one wanted to lease to it, the worker added.

While the party was established in 2007, it has not provided the documents to confirm its status as a party required by 2017 amendments to the Political Party Act (政黨法), Tainan Bureau of Civil Affairs official Mai Yuan-teng (麥原騰) said.

As the headquarters of a political party, the building serves as a place of assembly and administration, but it has created public safety concerns due to breaches of multiple regulations, the Public Works Bureau said.

Earlier this week, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that as religion is incompatible with the PRC, the so-called temple is not a place of worship, but rather a conduit for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Using a place of religious worship as cover for the CCP is disrespecting the gods, he said.

Taiwan guarantees liberty and numerous freedoms, but not the freedom to break the law, Wang said, adding that if the temple is illegal, it must be torn down.

That it openly flies the national flag of the PRC, which has not renounced the use of force to annex Taiwan, is intolerable, he said.

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