Preserve Losheng

The residents in Losheng were leprosy patients, who were forcedly quarantined into Rakusei Sanatorium for Lepers of Governor-General of Taiwan, which was built during the Japanese colonial period and is now named Losheng Sanatorium (樂生療養院). Those Losheng residents have long been suffering discrimination, misunderstanding, isolation, and smears. They have been living there for many years as their home, their Utopia. However, the Taipei Department of Rapid Transit System (DORTS) planned to demolish a large part of Losheng Sanatorium and to build a depot. Although Huei Long Hospital, two skyscrapers with modern hospital facilities, was initiated, it is not a home. The hospital is not a home for Losheng residents since it was designed for short-term patients, and the patients are not allowed to bring their personal belongings, or do cooking. In addition to those unacceptable policies, Losheng Sanatorium deserves to be preserved for at least three reasons: environmental concerns, its historical value, defense of the rights of the patients, and some substitutions worth considering.

First, the depot destroys the mountains, the ecological scenery, and it is under risks. The depot is going to flatten the mountains and build a ten-story-tall wall. This is a disaster for the environment. The depot will be built on a fault area, so it is dangerous to people and buildings. The sub-contractor, CECI, admitted the water drilled out for experiment contained some fault. The DORTS is still trying to force the construction to proceed before the geological environment is thoroughly evaluated. That risks the depot collapsing besides destroying the environment.

Second, Losheng Sanatorium is historically valuable. Though Losheng Sanatorium has only 70 years of history, it is historical evidence of the violence and misunderstanding of lepers, and thoughts of nation-purification of the Japanese colonial government. Losheng Sanatorium is a historic site which signifies the abuse of human rights. The destruction and the forced relocation are extra abuses of human rights, and rob the site of its historical interest.

Third, forcing Losheng residents to move out by invoking the massive opinions or public power is another abuse of them. Someone said that Losheng Sanatorium is not the Losheng residents’ houses. Those people claim Losheng was not built by them, nor owned by them, they just have been living there for a very long time. Those people also claim that Losheng residents have been living there for a very long time, and now it is time for them to relocate for the benefits of a larger number of people. This kind of talk is totally cruel and shows lack of compassion. Invoking public interest and violently forcing Losheng residents to relocate is just another human-rights abuse.

Finally, there are some substitutions which can allow the Sinjhuang line to be initiated and preserve Losheng more than 41% that the DORTS set. For example, one substitution project is to open the Sinjhuang line segment by segment. This project can serve Sanchung and Sinjhuang people, and it is highly feasible. Another substitution is to finish the Wanda line faster if possible, and to use the Wanda depot to replace the Sinjhuang depot. Losheng Sanatorium can therefore be preserved. Besides, one more substitution is to build the Taoyuan extension line faster if possible, and to use the depot it provides to replace the one in Sinjhuang. Taoyuan County is willing to invest funds and lands. These are some substitutions worth considering, and they should be considered and evaluated before Losheng Sanatorium is largely destroyed.

In conclusion, considering the environment has not been thoroughly evaluated, belief in human rights, the value of historic buildings, and some substitutions which haven’t been fully evaluated, Losheng Sanatorium deserves to be preserved.