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China Times: Culture is valuable drive of Taiwan's economy
Central News Agency
2014-02-23 02:57 PM
An 80-year-old warehouse at Keelung Harbor was set to be demolished to make room for the city's development plans. The project had been approved by the local government and divided into several contracts awarded to different contractors. This is part of the Keelung City's efforts to reinvigorate its sluggish economy and renew the city's image. An architect had already been retained by the city to design a passenger and business center in place of the warehouse, but this project ran into opposition by history buffs who said the warehouse is part of the history of the harbor and should be preserved as a historical building. They noted that such colossal buildings are rare in Taiwan, not to mention it was the first impression of the island for many people who fled to Taiwan from mainland China, along with the central government of the Republic of China in 1949, when the Kuomintang lost the civil war to the Communist Party of China. At the request of those seeking to save the warehouse, the Ministry of Culture urged the local government to alter its plan and seek to reconcile the development of the harbor, while preserving the city's history. In the modern world, commercial skyscrapers are everywhere, new buildings sprout up almost every day, but historical buildings that witnessed the changing world are rare. Since their aged and dilapidated appearance remind people of their pasts, these buildings could be converted into tourist attractions and would become more valuable than fancy commercial buildings, if their owners know how to translate people's nostalgia into business. There are many historical cities in China that have succeeded in turning their historical downtowns into tourist attractions, but in Taiwan the preservation of historical sites seems to only be the job of the Ministry of Culture, as no other government agencies are assigned to care for them. We would like to prod the government to pay attention to these historical buildings before they completely disappear from the island. (Editorial abstract -- Feb. 23, 2014) (By Maubo Chang)
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