Sun, Jun 01, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Nuclear protest picks up speed

NOT QUALIFIED Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung slammed the government and opposition legislators for wanting to oppose a plebiscite to decide the nuclear issue

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) again pressured the DPP government yesterday to demonstrate its resolve to eliminate the country's nuclear power plants, saying government leaders and legislators who oppose allowing people to hold a plebiscite should be abandoned.

"Regardless of whether it's the president, the premier or an opposition lawmaker, once they oppose a plebiscite, which is a basic right in all democratic countries, they are not qualified to remain in their posts," Lin said.

Lin, who is leading anti-nuclear groups in a protest walk around the nation, made the remarks in Ilan County.

"Moreover, if the government cannot work hard to find alternative energy sources but insists on building nuclear power plants, such a government is not worthy of survival," he said.

Since the early 1990s, Lin has led non-violent resistance, adopting the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, and in 1994 organized the Association for Promoting Public Voting on Nuclear Plant Four. In September that year he launched the first wave of nationwide anti-nuclear protests.

More than 300 supporters followed Lin in the walk across Ilan County to promote the concept that public voting is a fundamental right of citizens in a democracy.

In the 2000 presidential election, Lin, then DPP chairman, used his influence to coordinate resources and factions within the party to support Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) bid for the presidency. In return, Chen vowed to terminate construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant during his term.

That promise has not been kept.

In October 2000, the Cabinet announced a halt in construction of the plant. The policy immediately triggered criticism from opposition parties.

The DPP government finally surrendered and again started construction in February 2001.

To give Chen time to resolve the issue, Lin has been silent for the past two years. But Lin's voice has been growing louder.

The Association for Promoting Public Voting on Nuclear Plant Four urged Chen to stick to his ideals.

"He has failed to adhere to his ideals -- that's why he always seems to swing back and forth when under pressure," said Cheng Hsien-yu (鄭先祐), the association's convener.

"Since we elected him, we must keep monitoring the president's performance and put pressure on him," Cheng said.

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