Several residents from Dapu Borough (大埔) in Miaoli County’s Jhunan Township (竹南), whose homes are to be demolished despite promises made by Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) that they would be able to keep their houses, yesterday delivered mooncakes to the private residence of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the hope the first family would help them keep their homes.
Holding several boxes of the traditional delicacies decorated with the word jia (家, “home”) along with placards calling on Ma and his mother, Chin Hou-hsiu (秦厚修), to help dozens of people threatened with eviction, residents from Jhunan Township and farming activists rallied outside Ma’s private Taipei residence, where Chin lives.
“I’ve heard the president say that his mother chose to stay in her old apartment instead of moving into the Presidential Mansion with her son, because she feels emotionally attached to the apartment that she has called home for decades,” 86-year-old Jhunan resident Ko Cheng-fu (柯成福) said.
“I feel emotionally attached to the house where I’ve lived most of my life, too. Chin is only a few years older than I am — she must be able to understand how I feel. That’s why we’ve come here to ask for help,” Ko added.
Residents from Dapu, a farming community, have for several years been resisting the seizure of their land to make way for a science park. An incident in 2010 sparked an uproar and Wu, then premier, helped to organize negotiations between residents and the county government, which decided that the residents could keep their homes, while their farms would be relocated.
However, the Ministry of the Interior last month made a final decision to tear down four family homes.
“The Mid-Autumn Festival is an important traditional holiday for family reunions. We’re delivering mooncakes to Ma’s mother and we hope Ma will listen to us,” said Peng Hsiu-chun (彭秀春), one of the members of a family facing eviction. “When Ma and his family celebrate the holiday, I hope they will think of us. It’s also our dream to celebrate the holiday with our family, in our family house, without fear that the house could be torn down at any time.”
Ko Chih-chuan (柯致傳), son of Ko Cheng-fu, said that the government had made a lot of promises to them, but none have been kept.
“In addition to promising that we can keep our homes, the government has promised to relocate farms to a special farming area nearby,” he said.
“They promised a lot before the elections, but now that the elections are over, none of the promises have been honored,” Ko added
Security officers stationed outside Ma’s private apartment accepted the petition from the Dapu residents, but declined to take the mooncakes.