Thousands of protesters staged a demonstration in a Taipei County suburb yesterday to voice their support for the demolition of Lo Sheng Sanatorium and the mandatory eviction of its residents next month.
Sinjhuang is home to Lo Sheng Sanatorium, where thousands of people with Hansen's disease were once quarantined for life.
A plan to tear down most of the buildings on the 17-hectare site to make room for a Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) depot has met with strong opposition.
PHOTO: WANG YI-SUNG, TAIPEI TIMES
Earlier this month, Taipei County authorities posted an eviction notice for Lo Sheng's residents ahead of the construction work.
A crowd, mobilized by lawmakers elected from the district and local politicians, marched from Sinjhuang City Hall to Lo Sheng Sanatorium while chanting slogans and holding up signs yesterday.
"We want the MRT for our survival!" Demonstrators shouted along the way.
The crowd consisted of around 8,000 people, police estimated.
The demonstrators said that the completion of an MRT line connecting Sinjhuang to Taipei was critical to the city's economic prosperity.
"Our hopes for improvement in Sinjhuang's economy lie in the MRT line, and we want no more delays," said Chang Lu-jui (
Chang and many other demonstrators say the controversy over Lo Sheng's preservation is responsible for delays in the completion of the MRT line.
"We the people of Sinjhuang have treated the lepers well enough, now they have to give in and make a sacrifice for the public," Chang said.
Taipei County Commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (
"We've waited for three years, do we want to wait any longer?" Chou asked the demonstrators in front of the Lo Sheng sanatorium.
In his speech, Chou also rejected a plan that aims to preserve 90 percent of buildings in the sanatorium while extending the construction period by only three to four months.
"The students [who support Lo Sheng's preservation] said that the 90 percent plan would only extend the construction period by three to four months," he said. "But it'll take at least one year or even longer."
The 90 percent preservation plan was proposed by some construction specialists in Taiwan based on evaluations by a UK construction consultant firm.
Supporters of Lo Sheng's preservation said yesterday they'd like to see the completion of the line.
"Of course we want to see the completion of the MRT line, it's good for everyone, that's why we called an open review of the 90 percent preservation plan," a preservationist said.
But Chou took the hard line.
"We posted a notice [for demolition] on March 16. When the deadline comes on April 16, the county government will act according to the law unless the Executive Yuan decides otherwise," Chou told the crowd.
also see story:
Why Lo Sheng must be preserved
A retired teacher in Pingtung County has published teaching material for the Rukai Aboriginal language, hoping to save her community’s language, which is spoken by only about 500 people. Tu Fu-chu (杜富菊), a former elementary-school teacher based in Wutai Township’s (霧台) Dawu Community (大武部落), said the book is aimed at preschoolers, regular students and adult beginners. Seeing the language spoken by ever fewer people as many community elders pass away, Tu on Saturday said that she hoped to preserve the language by turning her decade-long research on the language into teaching material. The book contains instructions on vocabulary, pronunciation, sentence formulation and culture
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,