Mon, Mar 16, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Groups demand preservation of Jiahe village

MILITARY DEPENDENTS:A former resident said that these types of villages are unique to Taiwan, and are testaments to the nation’s developing culture after the KMT’s arrival

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Cultural preservation groups yesterday demanded that the Ministry of National Defense stop the proposed demolition of Jiahe New Village (嘉禾新村) — a recently vacated military dependents’ village near Taipei’s Gongguan (公館) area.

The activists said that the village should be designated a cultural heritage site to protect it from government plans to construct a large park in the area.

An inspection by the Department of Cultural Affairs failed to reach a conclusion on the issue in October last year and a second evaluation is due to take place tomorrow.

According to the Public Construction Commission, a public tender for the demolition of the village was launched by the ministry on Thursday last week.

The ministry could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Preservation groups say that the historic village played witness to the unique lifestyle of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) troops that settled in Taiwan during the late 1940s following their defeat in the Chinese Civil War.

Built upon the former site of a Japanese artillery compound, the village contains a mixture of architecture from different eras, including houses that were built through alterations made to existing structures, such as a short-lived military maintenance depot, as well as wooden structures that date back to the Japanese colonial era.

The village features narrow winding alleyways, with a number of the alleys connecting to form a roundabout in the center of the village.

Ma Shih-chun (馬仕駿), a former resident who lived in the village for 56 years, said that the village is invaluable as it is the last remaining military dependent’s village affiliated with the Combined Service Forces, a unit that was charged with logistics and maintenance duties.

“We should let our children learn about the unique culture that took shape following the [Republic of China] government’s retreat to Taiwan,” Ma said. “After all, military dependents’ villages are unique to Taiwan.”

Yu Liang-kuei (郁良溎), spokesperson of Jiahe Studio and a graduate student of architecture and planning at National Taiwan University, said that the ministry should “immediately halt” its public tender process for the demolition of the village.

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