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Losheng Sanatorium 樂生 21/21 | by Yubai K
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Losheng Sanatorium 樂生 21/21

Located in Hsinchuang City, west of Taipei, Losheng Sanatorium was built by the Japanese colonial administration in 1930 to quarantine leprosy sufferers on the island. After 1945, the segregation policy was continued by the Kuomintang administration when it was the only public leprosarium on the island. In 1962, segregation was abandoned but due to ignorance about the disease, discrimination against its sufferers persisted into the new millennium. By the time, Losheng had developed into a self-sufficient community with residents who had been living there since their youth. In 1995, the government sold the 17-hectare leprosarium to the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation who made plans for the total demolition of it. These decisions were not revealed to the patients at the sanatorium. In fact, they were oblivious to the fate of their lifelong home until one day in 2002 when bulldozers arrived and began tearing into the grounds. After years of media campaigns, legal battles, active mobilization, demonstration and clashes with police for Losheng, the government finally came up with a compromise plan in 2007 that would preserve part of the site. Among the 49 buildings planned to be preserved, nine were to be rebuilt elsewhere, while 40 would be maintained. However, of these 40 buildings, 22 were declared "unfit for habitation." Today, Losheng Sanatorium is surrounded by building grounds. While most of them have been relocated, 45 of 200 last residents still refuse to leave. In 2009, Icomos, a consultative body that participates in evaluation of UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage nominations considered that Losheng meets the ‘associative value’ criterion of UNESCO’s six criteria for World Heritage sites for its connection to the human rights movement. Losheng means Happy Life in mandarin.

   

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Taken on March 21, 2009