President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that the pros and cons of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant should be the focus of a public policy debate, when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told him that former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) could die from his hunger strike in protest against the plant.
During the meeting with Ma at the Presidential Office, Su repeatedly urged Ma to take action to bring the controversy over the nuclear plant in Gongliao District (貢寮), New Taipei City, to an end as soon as possible because 73-year-old Lin, was on his fourth day yesterday of an indefinite fast in protest over the plant’s continued construction.
“If the government proceeds with the construction of the plant and lets the controversy drag on, Lin Yi-xiong could die,” Su said at one point.
Ma responded by saying that a debate on public policy “should not involve other elements,” but rather focus than the pros and cons of the issue.
“Otherwise we won’t be able to debate the policy,” he added.
Before the indefinite fast began on Tuesday, Lin said he was forced into the action because authorities have ignored public opinion on the issue.
If not for the authorities disregarding the massive public opposition to the plant, he would not have begun the hunger strike, Lin said.
“Should anything unfortunate happen to me; relatives and friends, please note that it is them [the authorities] killing me. Please continue to pursue the implementation of democracy in Taiwan relentlessly,” Lin said before he began his hunger strike.
Su said to Ma at the meeting: “You are the authorities.”
“Premier Jiang Yi-huah [江宜樺] told me that he was not in a position to make a final decision when I met with him on Monday. As chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT], you use party discipline to keep KMT lawmakers in check, so that they do not express views held by the public in the legislature,” Su said.
“As the leader of the country, you are duty-bound to end the decades-long controversy over the nuclear power plant and to resolve the national crisis,” Su added.
The 90-minute meeting saw heated exchanges of words between Su and Ma when Ma rejected almost all the ideas proposed by Su that he said could end the hunger strike.
Lin is conducting the fast at Gikong Presbyterian Church in Taipei, where his mother and twin daughters were murdered 34 years ago, when the building was their home that, at the time, was under 24-hour police surveillance, the DPP chairman said.
Lin sits where his mother was stabbed and killed near the stairway heading down to where his twin daughters were also stabbed to death, Su said. “You can try to imagine his feelings, and his resolve.”
“President, the power is in your hand. The nation is on the verge of a crisis. What will happen next hinges on your decision,” Su said.
Ma said he will try to find common ground among the different views to solve the issue.