Scuffles broke out at an urban planning review meeting for the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project at the Ministry of the Interior in Taipei yesterday morning, with opponents demanding that members of the urban planning review committee state their positions on the development plan and calling for an administrative hearing for the residents in the proposed area.
The meeting, held by the Construction and Planning Agency, was to determine the area for development, as part of a requirement by the Taoyuan County Government and Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) to hold an administrative hearing as stipulated by the Land Expropriation Act (土地徵收條例).
The administrative hearing allows different stakeholders to express their opinions, which will then be reviewed by a land expropriation review committee in the ministry before any expropriation can take place.
Photo: Wang Min-wei, Taipei Times
However, opponents insisted that the government suspend the project review and hold an administrative hearing for all the residents in the area immediately.
Scuffles erupted when the meeting’s chairman, Deputy Minister of the Interior Jonathan Chen (陳純敬), asked Taiwan Association for Human Rights executive secretary Wang Pao-hsuan (王寶萱) to stand down as she had exceeded her three-minute limit for presentations.
Because Wang refused to leave the podium and kept asking Chen to allow more residents to speak, Chen called the police to take her away.
While Wang was about to be dragged away, another activist, Tien Chi-feng (田奇?), jumped on the desk in the conference room and demanded that Chen, as well as the committee members, state their position on the project.
Tien then dumped a bag of dirt on a desk used by the committee members. He climbed onto the desk before police pulled him down and removed him and the other activists from the conference room.
Tien’s complaint was that most residents cannot participate in the review process because it is not open to everyone. He also said that members of the committee did not receive information until the meeting started.
Tien questioned if the government really cares about people’s rights and voices, saying residents have absolutely no idea what is going on.
“The dirt was to prompt the members of the committee to review the case cautiously,” he said.
Supporters and opponents of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project clashed at the main gate of the Construction and Planning Agency, in Taipei, with supporters appearing to outnumber the opponents.
Some opponents tried to break through the police blockade and storm into the conference room, but to no avail.
During the meeting, residents who wanted their land expropriated said they no longer wanted to put up with noise generated by planes.
Witnesses to crashes also described seeing corpses of crash victims lying close to their homes.
These residents said they had waited 35 years for such a project and that those opposing the deal only account for 20 to 30 percent of the population.
The government should honor the wishes of the majority, they said.
The meeting failed to reach a conclusion yesterday and the agency plans to schedule another meeting to review the project.
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