A dozen residents of Taipei’s Huaguang Community (華光社區) and their supporters demonstrated outside Taipei City Hall yesterday, asking Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to defend freedom of residence and offer a long-term relocation plan to help them resettle.
The crowd shouted: “Taipei City Government toughen up. Don’t let Huaguang Community fall down,” after the Taipei City Government’s Cultural Heritage Evaluation Committee decided earlier this month to conduct an assessment on the cultural and historical value of the community.
They urged the city government to ask the Ministry of Justice to suspend the demolition of the part of the community on Aiko E Road scheduled for Friday next week.
“Huaguang Community is a historical community with rich cultural resources and history. The city government should exercise its authority to protect local residents’ rights and preserve the community,” residents’ representative Cheng Wei-hui (鄭偉慧) said.
The residents also complained about the city’s short-term relocation plan, urging Hau and his team to find permanent residences for them.
National Taiwan University urban redevelopment professor Kang Min-jay (康旻杰) said the city government should demand that the central government build public housing on the site and take care of the original residents.
Located near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Huaguang Community is a neighborhood of about 60 households, of mostly low-ranking former soldiers who fled the Chinese Civil War with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime in 1949 and their descendants.
Last year, the Executive Yuan approved plans to remodel the area into a “second Roppongi district” — a district in Tokyo famed for its nightclubs — and officials began measuring all the buildings in the designated area in November last year.
In response, Lo Shi-yu (羅世譽), a division chief at the Taipei City Government’s Department of Urban Development, said the city government is offering public housing units at three public housing projects to the residents.
The residents can rent the units for two months at half the price of the normal monthly rent.