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Taiwan farmers protest outside of Presidential Office

Taiwan farmers protest outside of Presidential Office

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Representatives of Miaoli County farmers protesting against the government expropriation of their land were allowed to enter the Presidential Office Building for two minutes Sunday after an overnight sit-in event.
The Miaoli County Government’s plan to take over 28 hectares of farmland in the village of Tapu for the expansion of Chunan Science Park has met with strong opposition from farmers who accuse the government of colluding with Big Business.
The representatives demanded amendments to the laws ruling the expropriation of land, a conference about farmers and land rights within six months, and safeguards for the protection of valuable land.
The farmers began their protest on Saturday and spent the night on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Building. They turned part of the wide road into a field by rolling out patches covered with plants while also paying their respects to farming deities.
National Chengchi University Department of Land Economics Chairman Hsu Shih-jung said only a minor official who was on duty Sunday came to meet the 12-member delegation, showing the government’s lack of respect for the farmers.
When they threatened to leave without handing over their petition, a more senior official showed up to promise he would pass on their message to the Executive Yuan and to the Miaoli County Government, Hsu said.
Presidential spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said President Ma Ying-jeou had instructed the central government to help Miaoli find a suitable solution with consideration for the farmers’ feelings.
The Council of Agriculture denied media reports that its minister, Chen Wu-hsiung, had said that the protesters were not real farmers.
Activists supporting the farmers said that Miaoli had failed to respect all necessary laws to complete the process. Protests also escalated after the county government sent in excavators last month which destroyed rice fields just before harvest time.


Updated : 2021-04-11 05:55 GMT+08:00