Thu, Apr 05, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Legal effort fails to halt closure of Lo Sheng Sanatorium

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The legislative effort to prevent mandatory eviction of Lo Sheng Sanatorium residents failed as cross-party negotiations on the Hansen's Disease Compensation Act (漢生病補償條例) broke down yesterday.

Located in Taipei County, Lo Sheng sanatorium is where thousands of people with Hansen's disease have lived since the facility's establishment, despite the low contagiousness of the disease.

A plan to tear down most of the buildings to make room for a MRT maintenance depot has met with strong opposition.

Drafts of the act have been proposed during the past two years in order to compensate Lo Sheng residents for previous seclusionist policies.

Key items on the proposed bill include compensation, on-site care and site preservation.

However, lawmakers from Sinjhuang (新莊), where Lo Sheng is located, boycotted negotiations.

"When [Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)] legislators Wu Ping-jui (吳秉叡), Chau Lai-wang (曹來旺) and [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)] Tsai Chia-fu (蔡家福) arrived, they expressed strong opposition to clauses concerning on-site care and preservation," said DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇), who supported the bill and participated in the negotiations.

"The three legislators believe that [mandatory eviction of Lo Sheng] cannot be delayed any longer," Tien said.

"Since the negotiation couldn't continue, the host of the meeting, [People First Party legislator] Chung Shao-ho (鍾紹和) asked each party's caucus to review the draft bill again and then called off the meeting," Tien added.

Activists and Lo Sheng residents, who monitored the meeting closely, burst into tears upon hearing the news.

"We're deeply disappointed that three lawmakers could boycott a bill which so many people have worked hard for," said Lee Tien-pei (李添培), a Lo Sheng resident, adding that they would not give up.

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