Amis Aborigines, who staged an overnight rally in front of the Presidential Office late last month to draw attention to land disputes, were not satisfied with the “response” they received and plan on further actions to help manifest their demands.
“The so-called ‘response’ we received from the Presidential Office was not a response to the demands we made at all, it was merely a copy of a letter sent from the Presidential Office to the Executive Yuan listing what we asked for during the demonstration,” Amis Defense Alliance spokeswoman Kawlu Iyun said yesterday. “We will take further actions until we receive positive responses to our demands.”
Iyun said she had received the response from the Presidential Office on Thursday evening.
From the evening of Jan. 28 until about noon on Jan. 29, hundreds of Amis — as well as Aborigines of other tribes and non-Aborigines supporting their cause — rallied on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, asking the government to apologize for decades of land seizures and to return Amis tribal land.
Since the Republic of China’s (ROC) takeover of Taiwan in 1945, the majority of Amis tribal land in Hualien and Taitung counties was seized by the government to be used for state-run businesses, military bases and military dependents’ villages for the large number of refugees who fled China after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime was defeated by the Chinese Communist Party.
As a result, some Amis farmers in the two counties now have to rent land from these state-run businesses even though the land once belonged to the tribe.
The protest ended not long after a public relations official from the Presidential Office met the demonstrators and promised to reply to their demands within a week after the Lunar New Year holiday.
In addition to not being satisfied with the response from the Presidential Office, the demonstrators also accused the Presidential Office of lying because the office said in a press release the demonstrators had tried to bring hunting knives into the Presidential Office.
The press release was issued in response to complaints made by demonstrators that they were not treated with respect when entering the Presidential Office and were asked to enter through a side door, not the front door.
“The Presidential Office feels the suffering [of the demonstrators], and sent an official to take the petition and listen to the voices of our Aboriginal friends. However, some representatives [of the demonstrators] insisted on entering the building with hunting knives, which was in violation of relevant regulations,” the statement said. “We therefore asked the petitioners to go to the petition reception center of the Presidential Office instead.”
“That’s not true at all,” said Namoh Nofu, one of the organizers of the rally. “We had hunting knives on us, but we were asked to take them off by police officers before we left the demonstration site about 100m to 200m away from the Presidential Office. In other words, we were not carrying any knives when we were at the entrance of the building.”