Monday, April 29, 2013

Daily Links, Monday, April 28, 2013: Protest Version

A friend of mine was down from Taipei to Yuanli Port in Miaoli to protest the installation of wind machines over the objections of locals. The Taipei Times covered this earlier in April:
“We are just asking the government and the building contractor to respect us local residents, include us in the negotiations, and keep a safe distance between our homes and the wind turbines,” Chen said.

The Germany-based wind energy firm, InfraVest GmbH, plans to build 12 new wind turbines along the coast of Miaoli County — six in Tongsiao Township (通霄) and the other six in Yuanli.

Worried about potential negative impacts from the turbines and upset that they were not consulted about the project, Yuanli residents have launched a campaign asking InfraVest to revise its plan about half a year ago.

While InfraVest initially suspended construction because of the protests, the project was resumed earlier this month without any agreement having been reached with residents earlier this month, triggering a larger protest.
My friend said that they were planning to block the cement trucks coming in. I rode over on my bike today, a gorgeous day, and spoke to some of the individuals who were present, and they told me that the police struck the protesters in the kidneys with batons, cuffed them, and hauled 17 of them off to jail in nearby Tunghsiao. They were just released a few minutes ago as of this writing. There's a Facebook page here, and photos of today's incident on Facebook here. Incidents like these happen regularly, most go unreported.

Meanwhile, what's resting on the blogs this week....

Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

So why do the Taiwanese object to wind machines too? They object to Nuke Power Plant, and now wind machines too? Yet this is one place that has one of the highest demands for computer and electronic goods.

Michael Turton said...

I think they objected to not being consulted. And not paid off.

Klaus said...

A very reliable source who has to deal with this problem as part of his job (neither working for the investor nor the government) has assured me that the Yuanli residents had been part of the consultations for a long time. But basically never did anyone stand up during those meetings and conferences and voiced his concerns about the plans - until now, suddenly, the same people start these protests, claiming no one has ever asked their opinions.
Looks like some local politicians all of a sudden saw the need to mobilize everyone for protests. There are rumors that Taipower might be sponsoring these anti-wind power protests, or maybe people just expect a "rich German company" to cough up some extra NT$. I don't know what's true, but there have been a lot of protest movements recently that I could empathize with more easily.

Michael Turton said...

Thanks Klaus. When i first heard of this last year, I assumed it was just a shakedown.

Readin said...

There you go again saying America is practicing "austerity". How do you see America practicing "austerity"?

Michael Turton said...

Austerity means not spending on stimulating aggregate demand in times of economic downturn, as mainstream economics counsels. The US version is not as nasty as the European version, but the same class war/wealth transfer effects, contempt for the future, and indifference to the fate of the hoi polloi are found on both sides of the Atlantic.

les said...

I have a friend with a family home in Houlong. Their take is that all the protests are just a tactic for landing a cash payoff and the objections are pure theater.

Readin said...

To me austerity means spending a lot less money than you're taking in, or at the very least not spending more money than you're taking in. America is still spending far more every year than it takes in. If it feels like austerity it's only because we've changed from spending like 350 million drunken sailors to spending like 349,999,999 million drunken sailors.

Keynes had an interesting theory about government saving during good times and spending during recessions. But we didn't save during the good times.

But even if we had, well let's look at Japan. They built up a huge reserve. Then when bad times hit they tried to spend their way out of it. They called it the "lost decade". The last time we had one of those occurred when we also we're trying to spend our way out of a problem. Instead of calling it the "lost decade" we called it the "great depression".

I'm not saying a budget deficit necessarily is bad. The Reagan boom occurred at a time of low taxes and high spending for example. But we weren't starting from such a high debt load back then.

Part of the reason for spending is to create investor confidence that money will be flowing. But when the government is as much in debt as America's - we recently lost our triple-a bond rating - investors worry about the creation of even more debt.

Sorry it took so long to respond. I've been busy.