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Negotiations open to settle Taiwan's Wenlin Yuan project

Publication Date : 29-03-2013

 

Taiwan's Wang family is willing to negotiate an end to the legal battle that has suspended work on a controversial urban renewal project known as Wenlin Yuan.

Last March 28, the Taipei City Government razed the Wangs' two properties in Shihlin District to clear way for an urban renewal project.

Over the past year, the Wangs have exchanged lawsuits with the Taipei City Government, a process that has arrested construction and provoked protest from residents who had signed on to the project.

Members of the Wang household appeared for oral arguments at the Taipei High Administrative Court yesterday, which also marked the one-year anniversary of the forced demolition.

During proceedings, the judge inquired if plaintiff and defendant are willing to discuss possibilities for ending litigation, according to the Wangs' attorney, Thomas Chan.

Chan said the Wangs are willing to negotiate. Meanwhile, legal counsel for the Taipei City Government said they will respond by April 12.

“Of course what we're demanding is the restoration of what was there before. In other words, we want them to help us rebuild the property,” said Chan.

“What was demolished was our home. In the past year, we have been displaced, with no real place to call home,” said Wang Kuang-shu, a member of the household.

If the case goes on, judges will rule on the constitutionality of the Wang property's demolition.

The city government and developers have deployed the majority-rule principle of the Urban Renewal Act to deprive the Wangs of their right to property, in violation of Articles 5 and 23 of the constitution, said the family's attorney.

Clash

Earlier, the Wangs clashed briefly with their former neighbours in a press event at the court entrance.

During the legal battle over demolition, some residents who signed on to the urban renewal project have complained about the delay, which they said has left them without a home.

“We hope that the court will rule fairly - we have been waiting on a verdict for a very long time,” said a woman surnamed Hsieh, who is one among the 36 households who have provided consent for Wenlin Yuan.

Just before court proceedings, the Wangs reiterated their position before local media. Meanwhile, some 10 of their former neighbours crowded nearby with red placards that called for immediate construction.

Members of the Wang household brushed aside the placards with their hands and a promotional banner, but no further altercation ensued.

 

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