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Taiwan: Bloggers’ Further Action on Saving Losheng Sanatorium

As mentioned in the previous post, discussions and actions on saving Lo-Sheng Sanatorium have widely spread in Taiwan blogosphere. Now the whole event has also attracted attention from mainstream media, the public, and politicians.

Bloggers’ actions:

In addition to discussions and collaboration over their blogs, several bloggers decided to take actions in the real world.

“Happy Life in Losheng”, photographed by kovis.

Several bloggers walked into the sanatorium, taking a lot of pictures for those have never been in the sanatorium. As kovis said:

家和房子是不一樣的
家是心情上的認同
而房子只不過是個容身之處
所以說「家」是心之居處

Home is different from a house. Home is belonging to your heart, while a house is just a place for your body. That's why “home” is called as the place where your heart lives.

To clearify if the reservation of 90% of the area is applicable, nooorman asked his friend who works in the Rapid Transit System, and compared all approaches proposed by the Department of Rapid Transit System (DoRT), Dr. Ke-Chiang Liu (劉可強), and Dr. Chao-Chin Yu (喻肇青). By illustrating the design (with the help of wenli‘s hand-made schematics) and discussing pros and cons of each plan, he explained the proposals one by one to his readers. He also decided to turn his blog into a platform specializing in technical issues of Lo-sheng reservation.

In the mean time, HOW visited Dr. Liu, asked his opinion about the controversies among those proposals, and put voice records and a sketch of the interview on his blog. He concluded that there is still space for negotiation:

捷運局的方案與文建會的方案基本上是有討論空間的。而捷運局保存40%的方案根本上並沒有真的保存到樂生療養院,也不願意和文件會的案子進行工程技術上的討論。這個案子是很有機會找出一個具體可行的解決方案。

Basically, there is room for discussions between proposals from the DoRTS and the Council for Cultural Affairs. The problem is, the 40% reservation proposal from the DoRTS does not really reserve the major part of the Lo-sheng sanatorium, not mentioning the fact that the DoRTS isn't willing to discuss technique details of engineering with the CCA. Otherwise, it is possible to find out an applicable solution for both sides.

部落客集資救樂生的成果

The bloggers then initiated a joint action and got more 200,000 (TWD) to advertise their appeals on Appledaily news. The ad revealed information of 90% reservation, and emphasized that Hsinchuang city may also benefit from the reservation. Another joint action was also organized to make T-shirts with words “Saving Lo-sheng” on them. Benefits from selling these T-shirts will be donated to the campaign.

Macdog created a service called “Losheng Walker”, allowing users to recommend resturants and places near the sanatorium. Benla called for a meeting to talk about “what bloggers can do in the social campaign”. Representatives of “Youth Lo-Sheng Union” and other organizations, together with several bloggers and those interested in this topic, shared their thoughts for this issue.

The photograph is cited from Yao's article.

Yao contacted the owner of the Gundam-like lantern that attracted many discussions during the Yuan-Hsiao Festival. With permission from the owner , Yao and several bloggers placed the lantern inside the sanatorium – “Gundam is protecting the Lo-Sheng”.

Public attention:

The Taiwan Public Television Service online produced a program by inviting members of the campaign, local residents and representatives from Hsinchuang city, specialists of the rapid transit system, and representatives from the administrations (including the DoRTS, the CCA, the Department of Health, the Transportation Bureau, etc.). In this show, the specialist He-Yuan Cyue (闕河淵), who is also the ex-vice director of the DoRTS, revealed that the technique issue can be resolved if the DoRTS re-evaluates their regulations. From his points of view, the schedule may even not be delayed once the 90% reservation proposal is applied. His words were then quoted and discussed in the blogosphere.

Many other organization and individuals also cosigned for the reservation, together with the calls from more than 180 scholars (they posted an ad on Chinatimes, too), medical workers, media students, and culturologists. The IDEA, which is an organization under the UN, also epressed their great concern for this issue.

On March 21, two of the possible candidates for president 2008, Mr. Xi-Kun You (游錫堃) and Mr. Frank Chang-ting Hsieh (謝長廷) claimed that they would support the reservation of the sanatorium. Two days later, the Executive Yuan Premier Mr. Tseng-Chang Su (蘇貞昌) also asked the Public Construction Commission to negotiate with the DoRTS and try to find a way to reserve the sanatorium as much as possible. So far, they have been working on it.

Debates and Different voices:

There are opposite opinions for the “Saving Lo-sheng campaign”. MOTCT posted his comments, explaining that the regulations cannot be modified, otherwise safety of the train might be compromised.

Subing expressed his observation on the so-called “Lo-sheng compaign”:

支持樂生保留的人獨缺我那群長期從事社運的朋友們,他們毫無例外的告訴我,樂生保留訴求的正當性不足,很難說服社會,作為一個專業的社會運動者,他們必須選擇戰場,他們甚至質疑現在還選擇樂生當作戰場的人,要不就是判斷出問題,不然就是別有用心。

Those who support the reservation may not include my friends who have been devoted on the social campaign for a long time. My friends told me unexceptionally that the calls for reservation are not legit enough to convince the public. As the professional social activists, they have to choose battleground. They even doubted that the people who choose the Lo-sheng issue as the battleground, either misjudge or have other purpose.

In March 31, Mr. Hsi-Wei Chou (周錫瑋), as the Taipei County Commissioner (where the sanatorium is), participated a demonstration entitled “We want MRT for our survival!”. The demonstration was staged by the local representatives of Hsinchuang. They opposed the reservation of Lo-sheng sanatorium because it may lead to the construction of the Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) behind schedule. Mr. Chou stood on the float, asking the Executive Yuan do not postpone the schedule of the demolition:

各位鄉親,我們捷運為了樂生,我們願意等,但是已經等了三年,我們還要再等一年以上,再等下去嗎? (群眾大喊) 不要~~~~

Chou: “Dear citizens!! For the losheng sanatorium, we are willing to wait. BUT we have waited for three years!! Are we going to wait for another year? For any longer?” Crowd: ” No~~~~”

He also told the crowd that he will proceed the demolition on April 16, unless the Executive Yuan asks the government to postpone via formal documents.

In the Legislative Yuan, Mr. Chia-Fu Tsai (蔡家福) , the legislator who was elected from Hsinchuang city, obstructed the legislating procedure of “Hansen's Disease Compensation Act”. Although the draft of the act have been proposed and negotiated during the past two years, Mr. Tsai, together with the other two ligislators, boycotted the cross-party negotiations right after they arrived. This will cause the efforts via the legislation facing a dead end before April 16.

The upcoming events:

On April 15, the day before the scheduled deadline for demolition, another demonstration will be held by more than 50 organizations in front of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Protesters will voice their support for the reservation, and ask the government to cancel the order of demolition and protect human rights of the leprosy ex-patients.

Last minute update:

In April 12, the Executive Yuan Premier announced that the demolition of the Losheng Sanatorium will be postponed and the reservation of 90% is going to be considered. Later the Taipei County Commissioner confirmed the announcement and claimed that he will follow the Executive Yuan's decision. But he also insisted that the Executive Yuan has to take the full responsibility if the construction is delayed.

The author would like to thank the GV Chinese translation team for the help with preparation for this article.

2 comments

  • […] Ms. Chui-Yung Chang (張翠容), an independent reporter from Hong Kong, was threaten by Taiwan local police when she spoke for the public in a demonstration. The administration claimed that the foreigners can only perform the task listed on the application, or they will be deported. More details can be reached via the article in coolloud.org.tw [zh]. Share This […]

  • […] Global Voices Online 的報導,原文為《Taiwan: Bloggers’ Further Action on Saving Losheng Sanatorium》,我後來又將其譯為中文,刊登於全球之聲中文版 […]

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