Several civic groups from across the nation yesterday condemned the Taitung County Government’s stance in supporting what they said was the illegal construction of a Miramar Resort in Taitung, as well as the removal of people with dissenting opinions from the local environmental impact assessment (EIA) meeting early last month through police force.
The groups held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan to voice their support for Savungaz Bunun (李品涵), a student of National Cheng Kung University, and Lin Guo-syun (林國勳), a video photographer, who both questioned the legality of the project at the EIA meeting on the case of Miramar Resort on June 2, and are now under police investigation.
Pan Han-shen (潘翰聲) from Green Party Taiwan said the ongoing development of the beachfront Miramar Resort in Taitung County’s Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) is a ridiculous case of the local government having violated the law, but refusing people the right to express opposing opinions.
Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳), director of the Hualien and Taitung offices of Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan, said the Supreme Administrative Court had ruled the resort’s construction permit was invalid in September 2010, but the Taitung government still issued new construction and operating permits to the resort in the same year.
Moreover, the Supreme Administrative Court reached a final verdict in January this year, ruling that the EIA of the resort was invalid and that all construction work must be stopped immediately, Tsai said.
“The fact is that in spite of its illegal status, construction is still going on in preparation for its opening, and the local government is still trying to find ways to help,” she said.
Lee said that during the EIA meeting last month she was seized by several police officers and forced to leave when she asked a question about the procedural legitimacy of building the resort without it passing an EIA, and now possibly faces charges of obstructing an officer.
“It was unbelievable that one of the police even suggested I be handcuffed and taken to the police station,” Lee said.
Lee also said that the developer of the resort had not respected the Aborigines living nearby during the construction, but now it is using their traditional cultural events as a selling point in its advertisements.
Lin was asked to report to the local government for pointing his middle finger a photograph of the county government that day and may face possible charges of contempt of authority, Pan said, adding that pointing the “middle finger (中指)” represented “halting (終止)” the construction since the two words have the same pronunciation in Mandarin Chinese.
There are too many cases of police officers overreacting to protestors’ behavior, in an effort to make people afraid to stand up against injustice, Indigenous Peoples Action Coalition of Taiwan member Oto Micyang (伍杜米將) said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) said the court has already ruled the resort to be illegal, so the central government should deal with situation, instead of allowing the local government to ignore the ruling.
The groups urged the government to deal with the illegal construction first and then restart the EIA meeting at a central government level — the Environmental Protection Administration — to avoid a conflict of interest, Tsai said, adding that the fundamental rights of the local Aborigines should also be respected.