Fri, Mar 25, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Activists urge action on attack

NOT THE FIRST TIME:Chen Jiau-hua was beaten by two men with sticks on Monday night as she was getting into her car after leaving an office in Tainan

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff Reporter

Following an attack on a long-time environmentalist Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) — allegedly for her participation in a campaign against a local garbage dump in Dongshan District (東山), Greater Tainan City — representatives from several environmental groups yesterday condemned violence and urged the government to deal with the case immediately.

“The attack on Chen shows the government’s incapabilities,” Taiwan Hsinchu Foundation chairman Sam Lin (林聖崇) told a press conference in Taipei. “Obviously, the government is incapable of protecting its citizens and it’s also incapable of protecting the environment.”

“If the government did a good job protecting the environment, then citizens like us would not have to risk our lives to campaign for environmental issues,” he said.

Lin said that if the government does not find out who committed the crime against Chen and who was behind the attack, “the government would be an accomplice.”

Chen, an associate professor at Chianan University of Pharmacy and Science and a long-time environmental campaigner, was beaten by two men with sticks on Monday night when she was getting into her car after leaving the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union’s (TEPU) Tainan office, she said.

The two men ran away when people in the neighborhood and her colleagues came out to see what was happening after they heard Chen screaming and honking her car horn, she said.

“I’m not afraid, I just feel sorry for the worry I’m putting my family and friends through,” Chen told the press conference. “This is not the first time something like this has happened — the tires on my car have been stabbed twice before, we’ve seen people in black walking around the TEPU’s Tainan office, I’ve received silent phone calls at night and former TEPU Tainan director Huang An-tiao (黃安調) was attacked near his house last year and we still don’t know who did that.”

Several other environmental activists — including Wild at Heart Legal Defense Foundation chairman Robin Winkler (文魯彬), the foundation’s secretary-general Lin Tzu-lin (林子凌), Green Party Taiwan spokesman Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) and TEPU president Wang Chun-shou (王俊秀) — also claimed to have been either physically attacked or verbally threatened on several occasions.

“Environmental groups speak up for the environment because the environment cannot speak up for itself,” Homemakers’ Union Foundation for Environmental Protection chairwoman Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) said. “One day, when the environment has had enough and it decides to fight back, we are all going to be the victims.”

She said that should the physical and verbal attacks continue to happen to environmentalists, “one day, there may be no one who dares to come out and speak up for the environment and that would be a tragedy.”

Dozens of environmental activists marched to the Ministry of the Interior after the press conference to urge the ministry to intervene effectively.

Criminal Investigation Bureau Deputy-Director Lin Kun-huang (林昆煌) received the activists and promised to put in the maximum effort to solve the case.

“We’ve formed a special task force with local police in Tainan and we’re working very hard on it,” Lin said.

The environmentalists said Chen may have been attacked because of her involvement in a 10-year campaign against a garbage dump project run by Young Yang Environmental Industry Corp.

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