Wed, Dec 03, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Taipei has yet to begin appropriating Wenmeng Building

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government yesterday said it has yet to begin appropriating the Wenmeng Building (文萌樓), despite its earlier promises.

In late October, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Liu Wei-kung (劉維公) promised to begin the process of “irreversibly” appropriating the former brothel by the end of last month if its owner continued to refuse to submit a feasible plan for the building’s preservation, including cooperating with the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COWAS) headquartered in the building.

The building, a center in the struggle against Taipei’s abolition of legalized prostitution in the 1990s, was designated a historic site in 2006. Its owner has sought to expel COWAS from the premises.

Lin Chang-chieh (林長杰), the division head at the cultural affairs department responsible for the matter, said actions toward the building’s appropriation have yet to be taken while the department waits for directives from the Ministry of Culture.

He said that if the building is appropriated, it would be the first time the Taipei City Government has appropriated a privately owned historic site, which has created uncertainties about the legal process. Last-minute documents submitted by the site’s owner also have to be reviewed, he added.

COWAS executive director Chung Chun-chu (鍾君竺) called on the department to make an official announcement about the building’s appropriation as soon as possible, saying that the building’s owner has already demonstrated a lack of commitment to the preservation of the site.

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