Skip to main content

Qing Dynasty Taiwan Provincial Administration Hall (臺灣布政使司衙門)

A few weeks ago on a Saturday I decided to go to Taipei Botanical Garden to take a walk and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Established during Japanese rule in 1921, the botanical garden is in itself a tourist attraction worth visiting. Located just a few minutes walk from Xiaonanmen MRT Station, the park has about 1,500 species of plants, and there are also animals such as frogs and squirrels. However, I didn't go there to enjoy the nature, but to see a building that I'd been wanting to visit for a long time.

It is a small, Chinese-style building, with a traditional curved tiled roof, white walls, and full of Chinese-style decorations. It is hard to believe that only a century ago, this structure stood in the middle of present-day downtown Taipei, on the location of today's Zhongshan Hall



On June 7, 1895, Japanese troops entered Taipei Walled City through North Gate. North Gate Street (北門街) led directly to the heart of Imperial Taipei: the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan Province (巡撫衙門, pinyin: Xúnfǔ Yámén), and the Taiwan Provincial Administration Hall (臺灣布政使司衙門; pinyin: Táiwān Bùzhèngshǐsī Yámén). These were, respectively, Taiwan's first and second most important administrative buildings, and in those days they were the largest government edifices of the island. The Administration Hall was a compound that contained several offices in charge of military affairs, finance, land taxes, census etc. 

During the short-lived Republic of Taiwan the office of the Governor-general and the Administration Hall served as the seat of the government of the first and only president of the Republic, Tang Jingsong

The old Taiwan Provincial Administration Hall, a compound comprising various separate office buildings

After 1895 the Japanese Governor-General used the Taiwan Provincial Administration Hall as his own office, before moving to the new Palace of the Governor-General which was completed in 1919. But it was not until 1928 (other sources say 1931 and 1932; see sources at the bottom of the page) that the whole compound of the Administration Hall began to be demolished to make space for the construction of present-day Zhongshan Hall, which was originally built in honour of the ascension to the throne of Japanese Emperor Hirohito. 

However, the Japanese decided to save at least one part of the Administration Hall, the so-called Choufangju (籌防局), built after the French invasion of Taiwan (1894-1895) for the administration of the island's military affairs. The Choufangju was dismantled and moved to the Botanical Garden, where it still stands today, a solitary and - literally - displaced witness to the complex and eventful history of Taipei. 







Additional sources: 

莊展鵬 (主編):臺北古城之旅。臺北 1997 (pp. 25, 94-95).

又吉盛清 (Matayoshi Seikyo): 台灣今昔之旅。臺北 1997.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Living in Taiwan: Seven Reasons Why It's Good to Be Here

Chinese New Year can be a pretty boring time for a foreigner. All of my friends were celebrating with their families, and since I have no family here, nor have I a girlfriend whose family I could join, I had nothing special to do. Shops and cafes were closed - apart from big chains like McDonald's or Starbucks, which were overcrowded anyway. So I had a lot of time to think.
On Saturday evening I went out to buy my dinner. While I was walking around, I heard the voices of the people inside their homes, the sounds of their New Year celebrations. Then I suddenly asked myself: "What on earth are you doing here? Why are you still in Taiwan?" 
Before I came to Taiwan, some Taiwanese friends of mine had recommended me their country, highly prasing it and going so far as to say that Taiwan is a "paradise for foreigners" (bear in mind that when I say foreigners I mean 'Westerners'). 
"It's easy for foreigners to find a job," they argued. "Taiwane…

Rumours About Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing's Arrest Spread Online

Rumours about the arrest of Chinese model and actress Fan Bingbing on charges of tax evasion have spread on Chinese media.
As Apple Daily reports, celebrity Fan Bingbing and her younger brother Fan Chengcheng have allegedly been detained for taking part in a tax evasion scheme alongside her manager, Mu Xiaoguang.
Mu has also allegedly been charged with destroying incriminating evidence.

On May 28 TV anchor Cui Yongyuan posted on Weibo a contract that showed Fan Bingbing being paid $1.56 million (RMB10 million) for four days’ work on director Feng Xiaogang's film “Cell Phone 2.” 

Later Cui released another contract worth $7.8 million (RMB50 million) for the same work. He alleged that Fan had declared to tax authorities only the first contract, thus avoiding to pay taxes on the second, larger amount. 

Double-contracts for the purpose of tax evasion are known in China as "yin-yang contracts". 

Although the Chinese government censored Cui's posts, in early June China's t…

7 Reasons Why Hong Kong Is A Great Place To Live

In 2013 I wrote a post about 7 reasons why it's good to live in Taiwan based on my one-year experience in the country. Now I would like to talk about another place which I love, and which I have perhaps loved more than any other: Hong Kong.
When I was growing up in a small town in Southern Italy, I knew very little about Hong Kong. As a child I remember watching the handover ceremony in 1997, yet at that time I did not really understand much about what was going on. That is my first, vague memory of Hong Kong.
Years later, when I was in my early twenties, I watched a short documentary about Hong Kong on Italian television. I was captivated by the energy and modernity of that exotic metropolis. I thought that some day I would like to visit it. However, it was not on my list of priorities. I wanted to go to Japan, mainland China, South Korea, far more than I wished to go to Hong Kong.
In late 2011 I decided to go to Taiwan because of a girl I had met in Germany. While I was there, …