Perhaps part of the devotion of Taiwanese youth activists to protecting Taiwanese historical sites along with the marginalized people living on these grounds is because of greater importance placed on Taiwanese history by young people, as tied to trends of rising Taiwanese identity.
The Nangang Bottle Cap Factory. Photo credit: 台北卡謬/Flickr/CC
Oftentimes, for example, calls are made for the preservation of structures with a particularly Taiwanese history, such as buildings dating back to the Japanese colonial period or earlier. Likewise, it may be that concern with the individuals who has been victimized throughout Taiwanese history leads an increased awareness of the past historical crimes of the ROC, as well as knowledge of that history. In particular, as many of these individuals were in fact individuals who came over from China with the ROC and served in the ROC military but have been abandoned by the contemporary KMT, this contributes to a sense of outrage against the KMT. In general, land struggles are some of the most emotionally charged movements among Taiwanese social movements, perhaps because of the sense of loss felt by those driven off the land they have occupied for decades, or even generations, something which has led to more than one suicide.
Yet perhaps this can be seen as opposition to developmentalist principles in Taiwanese society, in which historical sites are ground up for the sake of consumption and making more money through development projects. Or for the sake simply for the sake of greater social convenience in a society in which every corner already has a 7/11 in Taipei.
The Wenmeng Pavilion. Photo credit: TaiwanKengo/WikiCommons/CC
Much attention is paid by Taiwanese youth activists to history both at the macro and micro levels. We can see this, for example, in that after the large-scale, grand historical events of the Sunflower Movement, one of the pressing causes to preoccupy Taiwanese youth activists was preventing historic trees from being cut down as part of construction for the Taipei Dome (臺北大巨蛋), a cause going back to demonstrations in 2011. This illustrates, then, how the historical consciousness of activists and the causes they concern themselves with can include both small and large events, with no apparent contradiction. Other examples in which activists have attacked to defend historical sites include demonstrations against not only military villages, but the demolition of Wenmeng Pavilion (文萌樓) because of its historic nature, and the Nangang Bottle Cap Factory (南港瓶蓋工廠), which had become appropriated for use as an artistic site by young people.