Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors on Monday called on the Taipei District Court to open the premises of a foundation created by Soong Mayling (宋美齡) to the public once renovations are completed.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Lee Chien-chan (李建昌) said the building on Changsha Street, which once housed the National Women’s League of the Republic of China, had been closed to the public since it was designated a heritage site in 1998.
Lee, who was on his first visit to the site, said that only a few people knew of the building’s existence.
“We hope it will be open to the public after renovations are completed,” he said. “Even the Presidential Office is open to the public. How come this building isn’t?”
The league was founded by Soong in 1950 as a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-affiliated organization and enjoyed support from the government.
Up until 1964, the league was called the Chinese Women’s Anti-Aggression League, as its original function was to fight Communism and the Soviet Union. During the Chinese Civil War, the league assisted the military by sewing millions of military uniforms and setting up nurseries for the children of military personnel.
During Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) presidency, the DPP questioned the league’s occupation of government land and abuse of government resources.
It also criticized the league for using what it called privileged wealth and resources to campaign for certain presidential candidates.
The Control Yuan censured the Ministry of National Defense in 1996 for failing to take back the occupied government land. The government watchdog also urged the ministry to terminate the illegitimate use of the land by its tenant.
In 1996, the league relocated to Qingdao East Road and returned the land to the National Property Administration. The Taipei District Court, which obtained the right to use and manage the building, is planning to renovate it and turn it into an office building or open it to the public.
Lee said he was glad to see the city government designate the two-story building a historical site, but was disappointed at the erroneous information posted on the city’s Web site.
While construction of the building was completed in 1913, the city claimed it was built between 1915 and 1920, he said.
Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華), another DPP Taipei City councilor, said the date and name of a historic building were like the name and birthday of a person. The birthday must be correct and if anyone wishes to change his or her name, the person must obtain the consent of their parents.
Michael Teng (鄧文宗), a division chief at the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, said a Taipei District Court-commissioned study confirmed the building was built in 1913. Information on the Web site would be changed to reflect this, he said.
Teng said that as a historic site is considered public property, the Taipei District Court would consider opening it to the public after renovations are completed.
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