Monday, October 17, 2005

Thao and Land in Nantou

An article from earlier this year in ZMAG gives an idea of the travails of aborigines in Taiwan:

The Thao People.....

Eventually, the dispute between the Thao and the county government ground to a stalemate. The problem was raised in a civil action initiated by the “third party”, a trial in which the disfunction of the state, the bigotry of the law and the powerlessness of the civil society were proclaimed.

During the first debate in front of the magistrate, the dialogue between the Thaos and the court and the civil society went as follows:

Magistrate: In the petition, the defendants are the ten family members of the household of Chen Gin Fu (Thao), does the plaintiff agree?

Lawyer representing the plaintiff (the third party): Agree.

Defendant (representative of Thao without professional legal knowledge): Not agreed, the 283 living Thaos and all the deceased ancestral spirits should all be listed as defendants, because the ritual ground is share by all these living and the dead!

Magistrate: According the law of the Republic of China, the deceased cannot be listed as a defendant, do you understand?

Defendant [a Thao representative without professional legal knowledge]: According to the Thao law, those who violently acquire land will have to be expelled from the tribe. Also, with all the changes from the Qing Dynasty to the Japanese to the Republic of China, the Thao really cannot understand why our own laws are never honored! We have no idea what should we follow, and which law will not be changed!

Magistrate: Then, what can we do?


kevin said...

Hi Michael

Thanks for the tip. I've done it according to your instruction. Best regard, and I'll come to see you more


Jason said...

Its a shame these people can't afford legal cousel; aren't there any NGOs that are able to take on cases like this pro bono?