Demolition of Dapu homes not imminent: Taiwan Premier

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – At least three out of four homes in the village of Dapu in Miaoli County would not have to be demolished to make way for a science park, Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Friday.
Confrontation between residents of the area in the township of Chunan and the government came to a head on Thursday during clashes outside the Executive Yuan, where the Cabinet was holding its regular weekly meeting.
The plan to raze the homes Friday suddenly changed after intervention by Vice President Wu Den-yih, who asked the county government for a postponement. The protesters and their supporters said that Wu had promised the homes should not be demolished when he was serving as premier.
Jiang denied Friday that the government had had a change of heart. The Cabinet wanted the Miaoli County Government to follow the recommendations of an urban planning committee under the Ministry of Interior, which meant there was no question of an immediate demolition, he said.
Negotiations between the committee and an association of residents had resulted in different approaches for the four homes, Jiang said. In the case of one home, the owner had requested that he would obtain farmland right next to the building, but there had been no decision the home should be demolished, Jiang said.
Another house had two owners who had opposite views on whether or not it should be destroyed, while the committee had ruled out safety concerns about the two final homes because in the initial phase, traffic along the road would not be heavy enough to imperil the buildings, the premier said. It was the task of the county government to manage traffic and to insure there was no danger to the inhabitants of the houses, according to Jiang.
The premier said he could understand why the local government would want to stay on schedule to complete the science park project and have investors start up work on the premises, but it had to respect the decisions of the urban planning committee.
The opposition Democratic Progressive Party launched a 40-second web movie Friday in support of the Dapu residents. The film called on the government to pay more attention to the concerns of the public.
The government bore the responsibility of caring for every citizen and resident in the country, so it could not put other interests above the right of residence of the common people, a party spokesman said.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou should stop making promises before the elections only to break them once the vote was over, the DPP said.
The Dapu conflict has also been interpreted by some observers in the light of the 2016 presidential election, as a conflict between Jiang and Wu as two potential contenders for the Kuomintang nomination.
Jiang said Friday that Wu was concerned about the issue because the conflict started when he was premier. Jiang said he had phoned Ma, Wu and Miaoli County Magistrate Liu Cheng-hung, also a KMT member, to try and find an acceptable solution to the Dapu conflict. He said he was satisfied that considering his experience and his backing from the president, Wu was able to find an even better solution to the problem.