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Tue, May 09, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Anti-nuclear group asks public for mass support

ENVIRONMENT Activists say a planned march through Taipei's downtown area on Saturday is to rally support for adherence to the DPP's anti-nuclear election platform

By Chiu Yu-Tzu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Anti-nuclear activists urged the public yesterday to join a massive demonstration scheduled for this Saturday, intended to highlight hopes that the new government will reform Taiwan's energy policy.

The activists insisted, however, that the activity is not intended as a political scheme to oppose the new government led by DPP President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), but is clearly focused on the nuclear issue.

At a press conference held by Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) yesterday, environmentalists said some DPP supporters -- mostly anti-nuclear activists -- appeared to be reluctant to join.

"Taking part in the demonstration is meant to express people's eager expectations of a reasonable energy policy," said Kao Cheng-yan (高成炎), the main organizer of the "513" Anti-nuclear Demonstration (五一三反核大遊行).

"We hope these DPP supporters can free themselves from their psychological complex regarding Chen Shui-bian. We are helping Chen to run the government," said Kao, adding that protesters would voice their indignation at the energy policy created by the KMT-led central government.

"If the DPP does not cash their [political] check of abandoning nuclear energy, [the party] will be rejected by the people in the next presidential election four years from now," Kao said.

Activists predicted that the demonstration would attract more than 3000 supporters, and would pressure future economics minister Lin Hsin-yi (林信義), who is also from the KMT.

Still, Lin has promised take four four months to assess the viability of the project, and whether or not it should continue.

Strong opposition to the plant began in 1986 by members of the so-called "tang-wai" (黨外) movement -- the forerunner of the DPP -- who protested in front of the Taiwan Power Corp (台電) headquarters. Since then, anti-nuclear demonstrations have also been associated with political dissent.

In the past decade, many DPP political figures have worked to gain public support for the movement against the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

More recently, however, environmentalists said they have sensed a gradual shift in the sentiment of DPP political figures away from involvement in the movement.

"Last year, the DPP mobilized just 200 people to join the anti-nuclear demonstration to mark the anniversary of the Three Mile Island incident," Kao said.

TEPU activists said yesterday that people should not be misled by recent information released by the Energy Commission (能源會) and Commission of National Corporations (國營會), labelling it "misinformation."

These and other nuclear energy developers have recently reiterated their stance that adopting nuclear energy is an efficient way to reduce growing carbon dioxide emission rates -- one of main causes of global warming.

Environmentalists said they were looking forward to seeing the new government adjust the operations of Taiwan's industrial infrastructure.

They added that more than 3,000 people would likely join the "513" Anti-nuclear Demonstration in Taipei's downtown area on Saturday

Several Japanese anti-nuclear officials and congressmen also said will join the march.

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