Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) yesterday insisted the government did not overturn its policy on the impending demolition of four homes in Miaoli County’s Dapu (大埔), and expected the Miaoli County Government to seek consensus with local residents on the issue.
Citing Chinese proverbs to stress the importance of the government adopting flexible measures to handle the thorny issue, Wu said 99 percent of Dapu residents have reached a consensus with the county government on the issue, and the government will find solutions to resolve the problem with the four remaining households.
“It’s a traditional value for children to be obedient to parents, but when a father is going after a child with a knife, the child should run away. If the child stands there and gets killed, then he was actually acting against values of filial piety,” Wu said.
In defending his handling of the dispute, Wu cited another proverb.
“Traditionally, men and women were not supposed to have physical contact, but if you saw your sister-in-law about to fall into a well, would you hold on to tradition and watch her fall into the well? It’s important to deal with any contingencies while abiding by the rules. Not everything is straight forward,” he said.
Wu made the arguments after he failed to resolve disputes over the issue via a negotiation meeting on Friday with Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) and Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺). Liu maintained the county government would stick to its original plan and demolish the four houses to make way for a local science park project.
The four affected households and their supporters have blamed the government for what they said was its poor efforts to change Liu’s firm stance on tearing down the four houses in Dapu, and lashed out at Wu for failing to honor his own pledge as premier in 2010 that the houses would be preserved.
Liu said yesterday the county government would continue to communicate with the affected families.
“We hope everyone will keep local development and traffic safety in mind. If there are no alternatives, the houses must be demolished,” he said, while insisting that there is no timetable for the demolition.
Separately yesterday, Jiang said the matter is “at the discretion of the county government” and that the Executive Yuan will give the county government a free hand to carry out the demolitions because it was in accordance with what was decided by the Ministry of the Interior’s (MOI) urban planning review committee.
Minutes of a negotiation meeting in July 2010 chaired by then-premier Wu shows agreement that their houses should remain as they are.
Following the negotiation meeting, the urban planning review committee held five meetings to discuss the case in 2010 and last year.
At the first meeting on Dec. 28, 2010, the county government was required to adjust its development plan for construction of a science park expansion project and land development so the results of the negotiations could be implemented.
The negotiation results and the conclusion of the first meeting of review committee were overruled when it convened the third time on April 24 last year.
It was decided that the home of Ko Cheng-fu (柯成福) would be dismantled, a house owned by Huang Fu-ji (黃福記) would remain and the wall of the house torn down, and the other two houses owned separately by Peng Hsiu-chun (彭秀春) and Chu Su (朱樹) would be flattened when the construction of the planned road begins.
The decision was confirmed at the last of the five meetings on July 24 last year, which Jiang said the county government has to follow.
Executive Yuan Deputy Secretary-General Chien Tai-lang (簡太郎), who participated in Friday’s meeting because he attended to the case in 2010 when he was vice interior minister, said yesterday that the policy to demolish the four houses was “set in stone.”
No suggestion was proposed at Friday’s meeting that the committee’s decision on July 24 last year would be reconsidered, he said.
When asked to comment on Wu’s analogy, Taiwan Rural Front (TRF) spokeswoman Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) said Wu should keep his word and stop finding excuses for breaking his promise.
TRF researcher Chen Ping-hsuan (陳平軒) said that while Wu said children should run away from their father when threatened, “so should people resist when the government is tearing down your house.”
As the county government may send in a demolition squad at any time, Tsai said the residents and their supporters are mobilizing activists to safeguard their houses as early as midnight tomorrow.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin