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.
Local residents are worried that the planned garbage dump’s proximity to Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) may pollute the water.
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up