While the Miaoli County Government said it had demolished historic kilns on its territory earlier this month following advice made at a cultural heritage assessment commission meeting, it recently admitted that the meeting never took place.
The three kilns, located in Miaoli’s Houlong Township (後龍), were surrounded by rice fields and farms.
During the Japanese colonial era, the area was home to a flourishing pottery industry.
As the nation’s economy developed, the old-fashioned labor-intensive kilns that once dotted the area became outdated. They were closed down, demolished or turned into factories producing pottery with modern technology and equipment.
In 2003, however, the county government said it would build a station for the nearby high-speed rail and drew up an urban development project to turn the surrounding area into a transportation hub and high-tech industrial zone.
Facing protests from local historians and kiln preservationists after the last three kilns in the area were destroyed earlier this month to make way for the project, the county government said in a press conference on Jan. 9 that it had done so based on the cultural heritage assessment, which allegedly ruled that the kilns bore no historic or cultural value.
Although Miaoli International Culture and Tourism Bureau Director Lin Chen-fong (林振豐) openly said on several occasions that the demolition was done based on the cultural heritage commission’s assessment, he admitted yesterday that such a meeting never happened.
“We called for a cultural heritage assessment commission meeting [on Dec. 16], but the meeting didn’t happen because an insufficient number of members showed up,” Lin told the Taipei Times during a telephone interview yesterday.
He said that according to the law half of the commission members must be present for a cultural heritage assessment to be held.
Activists who for years have fought for the kilns’ preservation were upset and vowed to take legal action against county officials.
“We will file a complaint against the county government with the Control Yuan,” preservationist Tai Wen-hsiang (戴文祥) said. “We will also file lawsuits against Lin and County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung [劉政鴻].”
“Officials should take their legal, political and historical responsibilities seriously,” he said.
Lin said the county government did not do anything wrong.
“According to the Cultural Heritage Protection Act [文化資產保護法], the local government head has the ultimate authority to make decisions about the handling of cultural heritage sites,” Lin said. “So even if the cultural heritage commission were to rule that the kilns should be preserved, the decision would not be legally binding.”
“The meeting did not happen, but those who showed up that day did inspect the site and said that the kilns were not of enough cultural value to warrant preservation,” Lin said. “So we didn’t lie.”
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been