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September 20, 2017

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Taipei mayor supports Jinan charity house

The China Post--Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) expressed his full support yesterday morning for a charity house to be built in Jinan Ward (錦安里), Daan District (大安區). Ronald McDonald House Charities (麥當勞叔叔之家兒童慈善基金會) is planning to set up a "home-away-from-home" for children with severe medical conditions and their parents in the ward. Several residents of Jinan Ward (錦安里), however, have voiced their opposition to the project, citing concerns over contagious diseases and a potential drop in surrounding real estate prices. In response, netizens have been heavily criticizing the residents for their opposition.

  Taipei City Government spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強) said yesterday that the charity house is to be built on property under the jurisdiction of the National Property Administration (國有財產局), adding that Ronald McDonald House Charities has filed applications with the city government for renovations, which the city government will approve as soon as the end of this week.

  Hau said yesterday that he has asked the Department of Social Welfare (社會局), the Department of Health (DOH, 衛生局) and the Department of Civil Affairs (民政局) to lend their assistance to the charity organization, and to help facilitate communication between the organization and local residents. Hau also explained that the city's most important asset is "friendliness," urging local residents to embrace the charity house.

  Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏), commissioner of the DOH, said that most charity homes for children are comprised of 40 percent young patients who suffer from cancer, 20 percent with heart diseases and 20 percent with rare diseases. After being given their diagnoses, Lin explained, these children usually require one to two months of intensive treatment, adding that charity homes allow these patients to receive treatments more conveniently.

  Lin also added that patients who reside in charity homes are referred by physicians; patients suffering from contagious diseases, on the other hand, are dealt with separately; therefore, the commissioner said, local residents need not worry.

  Lin pointed out the fact that two seminars have already been held to allow residents to better understand the function of the charity house; however, if a third seminar is required, Lin said, the DOH will invite medical specialists to answer any questions that local residents might have. The commissioner urged residents to be at ease, and to show compassion toward patients suffering from severe medical conditions.

  Gong Chih-huei (龔志慧), head of Jinan Ward, explained yesterday afternoon that only a small minority of the 6,234 registered residents in the ward are opposed to the charity house, adding that opposition is by no means a consensus among locals. Netizens, however, have been criticizing the locals for being cold-blooded after news of their opposition to the charity house was reported by the media. Gong explained that she also suffers from a rare disease, and that she also has several years of experience in volunteer work for hospitals; therefore, she fully understands the situation that these children are in.

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