It gets worse. On Aug. 20, the Bureau of Energy, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Presidential Human Rights Advisory Committee held a meeting in Taipei to discuss the matter of adequate distance for wind turbines and, we are told, to “maximize public participation.” However, there were so many procedural problems with the meeting, which was termed an “experimental hearing,” that it is difficult not to regard it as a joke — if only public money were not wasted on it.J Michael describes the violence in the Dapu case in this post here. The tactics may vary, but this is always the way it has been: the government has never sided with the little guy. But recently the government's tactics have been especially brutal, especially at Huaguang:
For one thing, the “experimental hearing” had no authority to enforce anything; it was just people talking. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that (we’re all for all sides in a dispute to sit down and try to reach a consensus), here’s the catch: Before the hearing had begun, a large number of individuals associated with InfraVest had “signed up” for the event, which left precious few seats for Yuanli residents and environmental NGOs. In other words, opponents of the project were selected out even before the hearing was held. Oddly, many of the people who had registered never materialized during the meeting.
It gets better. Several police officers and members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were inside the venue during the hearing, which in itself is an odd departure from protocol. Moreover, several law enforcement officers held video cameras; individuals who were present (I failed to attend it myself) told me the cops only filmed whenever the villagers were speaking or asking questions. The inevitable intimidation associated with this act, and the selectiveness of its targets, are evidently cause for worry. It made suspects of individuals who have done no wrong, while clearly telling them that the powers that be are clearly siding with the local government and the German firm.
To facilitate evictions, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), which owns the land, filed lawsuits against residents for “illegally” occupying state properties, resulting in fines to residents that range from a few hundred thousand New Taiwan dollars to several million. Most inhabitants have been forced to leave. Others have died while fighting for their right to stay."Residents of the Huaguang community said that the police conveyed threats to them. This Taipei Times article reports on the propaganda put out by the Miaoli county government over the Dapu case. Certainly 98% of those contacted permitted the gov't to demolish their homes, because they were not told they could say no. Let me note again the missing factor: the courts. People facing demolition have no recourse to an impartial judiciary with powers that have teeth. The judicial system is not a part of this process. Hence everyone faces the same sign-or-get-nothing choice, while the government can more or less dictate terms. What this really means is that your land is yours only until someone more powerful than you wants it, and the government will support them, not you.
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