Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Land rights group denies Chin story

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Original Land Devel-opment Rights Alliance (台灣原開墾農權聯盟) and Democratic Progres-sive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) yesterday refuted independent legislator May Chin's (高金素梅) accusation that alliance members had paid the DPP legislators large sums of money to lobby the Executive Yuan to legalize the members' illegal usurpation of mountainous areas.

Chin declared two days ago that Han farmers had paid Tsai and Nantou County Commissioner Lin Tsung-nan (林宗男) to lobby the Executive Yuan to legalize the illegal development of the mountainous areas.

She said the Executive Yuan's allowing these farmers to develop the areas without restriction and the resulting over-development was the main reason for the serious damage caused by Tropical Storm Mindulle.

But the alliance's chief, Wu Lien-hsing (吳連興), said yesterday that the alliance members mostly consisted of farmers residing and working in the mountainous areas and that they could not afford to pay for lobbying.

"We and our ancestors have been working on the same farms for 100 or 200 years now. We simply missed the chance to claim the land as our own when the government allowed us to in the past. We are now asking the government to review our cases and see whether it is feasible to release the land to the farmers who are actually working on it," Wu said.

"May Chin is slinging mud at the hardworking farmers for her own political gain," Wu said.

The alliance gathered to protest outside Chin's office, but Chin refused to receive them.

Tsai was also quite angry at Chin yesterday, and he pointed out that in contrast to what Chin declared two days ago, not only DPP legislators but all caucus whips were sympathetic with the alliance when the alliance came to visit the legislature in February to petition for improvement of the farmers' conditions.

"Chin was singling out the DPP, but her caucus whip also signed the resolution to support the alliance. She is contradicting herself," Tsai said.

He showed the signed resolution, which showed that all caucus whips agreed to help the alliance petition the Executive Yuan about the farmers' conditions. Tsai also threatened to sue Chin, but Chin refused to apologize.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is urging Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) to hold a meeting where members of all political parties and officials from multiple agencies can review the relief work and summon responsible Executive Yuan officials to listen to the legislators' suggestions.

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