Last week a group of worshippers at the Fude Temple shared by Fongshan and Shengli villages in Hsinchu County’s Hukou Townhship gathered next to a stage, brandishing white banners during a protest against the imminent relocation of the temple to the land where the stage is located — directly across the street from their housing complex. The planned move allegedly neglects local residents’ concerns that moving the temple to that location would violate serious feng shui taboos. They hope that the county government will not issue a building license. The person who initiated the relocation of the temple says that erecting temples is a common occurence and that it was decided during a vote at a meeting.
The Hsinchu County Government Public Works Department’s Construction Management Section says that the person who applied to relocate the Fude Temple followed all legal procedures. The section also says that while some people have incessantly claimed that it is unreasonable to build a new temple while an old temple is still being used, legislation in the Construction Act provides no grounds for litigation. The county government wrote a letter to the Hukou Township Office to better understand the situation. The office responded by saying that all of the legal construction procedures have been followed, and that no substantial evidence exists that would raise concern that management from the temple — a private organization — has broken any laws. The office has requested that the county commissioner sign off on the project, which is currently awaiting his approval.
Fongshan Village Warden Wu Mei-ying says that the Fude Temple on Shengli Rd, which is shared by the two villages, has 70 years of history. Currently stuck between two housing complexes, the significant lack of space inspired worshippers to raise funds in 1981 to buy a plot of land along Rueian St in Shengli Village, to be used twice a year for religious ceremonies and festivals. Without an administrative committee at the time, the land was purchased under the name of a local villager surnamed Yu. In 1991, the temple built a stage on the land without coordinating with local residents. Not long after, a home owner surnamed Chen living across the street committed suicide by jumping from his building.
1. imminent adj.
逼近的；即將發生的 (bi1 jin4 de5; ji2 jiang1 fa1 sheng1 de5)
例: Despite rumors, the two companies say that a merger is not imminent.
2. litigation n.
訴訟；爭訟 (su4 song4; zheng1 song4)
例: Litigation against the defendant did not hold up in court.
3. commonplace adj.
普遍的；司空見慣的 (pu3 bian4 de5; si1 kong1 jian4 guan4 de5)
例: The city government is rife with malfeasance and embezzlement is commonplace.
Wu says that a group of people, including Yu, set up the Fude Temple Cooperative Development Association for Fongshan-Shengli Villages in 2010, and transferred ownership of the land to the association. They subsequently began making plans to relocate the temple to the plot of land where the stage is located, causing anxiety among local residents that evil forces would be attracted if the temple was relocated there. After a geomancer surveyed the land’s feng shui, he warned that they should be careful when constructing the temple to avoid bringing calamitous misfortune to the entire village.
Since the association has already applied for a building license from the county government, Wu has sent a petition on behalf of the residents, who she alleges are victims because of the temple relocation plan. Wu also accompanied the residents last week, holding white banners next to the stage during a protest. Hopefully the county government will hear the worshippers’ grievances and not grant a building license, she says.