Protesters Pressure Tsai on Land Expropriation

Protesters Pressure Tsai on Land Expropriation
Photo Credit:張馨云
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The groups are requesting re-evaluations and amendments to policies and laws that might affect residential rights including the Urban Planning Law, Land Expropriation Act and the Urban Renewal Act.

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About 40 organizations opposed to forced evictions took to the streets of Taipei this morning to protest against what they say is the lack of attention paid by the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration to the issue.

Activists from all over the country gathered on Ketagalan Boulevard to protest against Tsai for not reaching out to the victims of forced evictions or expropriation and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for neglecting the nation-wide issue.

National Chengchi University professor Hsu Shih-jung (徐世榮) was at the protest and said the DPP was a “suppressor, depriver.” Hsu, who for years has been involved in those issues and has been consulted by the government, added that the administration should focus on dealing with current issues, not past unresolved cases.

The groups are requesting re-evaluations and amendments to policies and laws that risk affecting residential rights including the Urban Planning Law, Land Expropriation Act and the Urban Renewal Act. They are also calling for the establishment of a public-hearing system to supervise the progress of land development plans and boost the transparency of government plans.

Regarding the future or ongoing land development plans, the groups request the government reassess the already-drafted plans, focusing on their necessity and contribution to public welfare. They ask the government to put a halt to ongoing controversial land developments and to establish a formal system to settle disputes with those affected.

During the protest, the groups recalled the Dapu evictions, a well-known case of land expropriation in Taiwan where the government seized land at Dapu village in Miaoli County, which led to several protests from 2010. During today's protest, activists called on the government to promise to rebuild Dapu’s Chang Pharmacy and the residence of farmer Huang Fu-chi (黃福記), which were both demolished in 2014 while the residents and activists were out protesting.

The protesters vowed to return to Ketagalan Boulevard on Sept. 25 if Tsai has not given a response by then.

The Executive Yuan said it will carefully handle all protests and requests to the government. It also suggested that street protests might not be the most efficient way for communication with the government and that the people can call for discussions through other channels.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole