Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) began a hunger strike on Tuesday to demand that the government stop construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District (貢寮). Lin has put his life on the line to rid the nation of nuclear power in a heroic and honorable way worthy of the highest praise.
This nation is small, densely populated, surrounded by water and in a seismically active zone. It does not need nuclear power. Why does the government keep on acting as though it is desperately needed? How can the government guarantee that there will never be a problem with atomic power after the disasters of Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima Dai-ichi in 2011? In the event of an accident, where are residents and visitors expected to go?
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) insists on building nuclear plants. Apart from his policies aimed at helping large corporations make money, his daughters live overseas and have foreign passports. Ma has his own airplane and can escape a disaster at any time. This is why he remains unswayed, regardless of whether those against nuclear power account for the majority in opinion polls or how many people take to the streets in protest.
Taiwanese have been fighting against nuclear power for decades and Lin has always been involved, because this is something he believes in deeply. At 72, he is on a hunger strike with no set finish date. He has also written his will, which shows that he is willing to become a martyr, so it is little wonder that his friends and the public feel extreme unease with what he is doing.
Lin’s actions are the result of a lot of deep thinking. He must be abjectly disappointed with Ma’s stupidity. The Sunflower movement, in which Lin saw young students and others bravely stand up and be counted to protect the nation’s future, prompted him to join them in silent protest. This must have made him wonder what he could do for the protesters, especially when silent protest and occupying the legislature and the Executive Yuan were not enough to move the gang that holds power and controls the nation. This is why Lin is risking his life for future generations.
Lin’s hunger strike — amid attacks on Ma from all corners of society — may compel the president to listen to public opinion and force his administration to make reforms. However, will Ma really listen? Given his selfishness, stubbornness and cold-blooded nature, he is not very likely to listen to anyone, which just increases public concern over Lin’s health and life.
Lin has been to prison for supporting democracy and even went through the Feb. 28, 1980, murder of his mother and twin daughters at their former family residence — which is now the church where he is conducting his hunger strike — by an unknown assailant.
However, he never sought revenge and instead persisted in the hope of helping to build a democratic nation and reconciliation. Now, he is ready to risk his life, which makes him a Taiwanese version of former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Ma spends all his time currying favor with the Chinese Communist Party and big business, while selling out the nation’s sovereignty and the interests of Taiwanese. Ma thinks this makes him worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.
He knows no shame.
Premier Jiang Yi-huah’s (江宜樺) visit to Lin at the scene of the hunger strike was merely an act. Taiwanese should all know that Ma is the one who insists on nuclear power and that Jiang is just a puppet. If anything happens to Lin, the president, who is busy hiding behind the scenes, should be the person held solely responsible.