Setting up stalls selling sausages, black tea and tea eggs, vendors from the Sun Moon Lake area in Nantou County yesterday gathered outside the Executive Yuan not for business, but to protest a government plan to remove most of the stalls.
“No to eviction! I want to survive,” dozens of vendors chanted during the protest.
The protesters said that the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration has asked them to leave by the end of the month, without providing any help.
“I’m almost 50, and I’ve been selling black tea there with my parents since I was a child,” Hsu Ya-yun (許雅筠) said.
“Most of the other vendors — some already in their 60s, 70s, or even 80s — are just like me; they have been making a living for 50 years or so with their small vending stalls,” Hsu said. “How are we going to make a living if the government kicks us out?”
Hsu said that the scenic area administration office only called a meeting last month before making the announcement that it was reducing the number stalls from 32 to 14 by the end of this week.
Among the 14 stalls, only seven are reserved for local residents; the rest will be open to outside vendors.
“This means that only seven out of the 32 of us can stay. What are the others going to do?” Hsu asked.
A vendor surnamed Chang (張) said that all 32 stalls are licensed, and it was Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) who issued the licenses when he was Nantou County commissioner in the 1980s.
“What good is a license if it doesn’t give us any protection?” Chang asked.
Mao Lung-chang (毛隆昌), an administrator at the local Wunwu Temple (文武廟) where most of the stalls are located, agreed.
“All these stalls are licensed. They don’t deserved to be treated like this,” he said.
“They have been left on their own since the building that housed the stalls was destroyed in the 921 Earthquake in 1999. If the scenic area administration plans to clean up the area, it should repair the building for licensed vendors, and come up with a resettlement plan for them while rebuilding takes place,” he said.