Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers earlier this week proposed the creation of a new law to regulate cultural conservation efforts at the nation’s military villages, saying existing regulations are inadequate.
Military villages, known as juan cun, are residential compounds that were established to house soldiers and their families brought to Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) army in 1949.
DPP legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) and Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) called for legislation to provide clear guidelines on the villages’ designation as cultural heritage sites, relevant property transfers and sources of funding for their maintenance and management.
The nation’s military villages were loci of vibrant multiethnic cultures and shared historical experiences, and should be considered cultural assets unique to Taiwan, Chiu said.
Kaohsiung has been an important region for the nation’s armed forces, hosting a number of bases and residential areas for military personnel, including army communities in Fengshan (鳳山) and navy communities in Zuoying (左營), which are recognized as cultural heritages, he said.
However, the air force’s Lecyun Village (樂群) and Sing Village (醒) in Gangshan (岡山) have not been recognized as military community cultural conservation zones, despite the Kaohsiung City Government designating them as heritage sites, Chiu said.
Conserving military villages should be the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and local governments implementing the ministry’s plans, Liu said, adding that agencies such as the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance should be relegated to supporting roles.
Legal safeguards should be implemented to protect military village cultural heritage sites from land speculators, she added.
According to unnamed sources, the cost of turning Lecyun and Sing villages into cultural conservation areas has been estimated at NT$900 million (US$27.9 million).
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