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Shih-Jung Hsu - Taiwan Rural Front and the Land Justice Movement in Taiwan

The Taiwan society was astonished because of a horrible story took place at Dapu of the Miaoli County four year ago ...

The Taiwan society was astonished because of a horrible story took place at Dapu of the Miaoli County four year ago. The local government abused the power of land expropriation or eminent domain in order to establish a new community next to a science park. Peasants were expelled by policemen from their homes and farmlands. Rice in paddy fields ready for harvest soon was totally destroyed by bulldozers. Even the earth was dug up and discarded to prevent peasants re-cultivate their lands anymore. The event seriously violated social norms and it also against bill of human rights regulated in the Constitution.

The other terrible case also occurred at Siangsihliao of the Changhua County approximate at the same time. Many elderly peasants were forced to leave their homes and farmlands because the government planned to construct a science park at their homes. The government’s forcible land expropriation came like a bolt of lightning. The elderly peasants of now find themselves at a loss, not knowing what will become of them. The elderly peasants have gone to Taipei several times to petition authorities — the Cabinet, the legislature and the president — saying that they don’t want to be kicked off their land. They said the government was worse than robbers, because robbers would at least leave them with land on which to grow food.
The Taiwan Rural Front (TRF), an advocacy NGO organization, was established five years ago. It proclaims that land expropriation is a very serious state measure. With the assistances of the TRF, farmers gathered and protested on July 17 and 18, 2010 and July 16 and 17, 2011 in front of the presidential office at Taipei. They voiced grievances over the government’s planned brutal expropriation of their land, complaining that they would have nothing with which to make a living. They also indicated the disregard of public participation in the administrative process once again raise serious questions about both the legitimacy and rationality of the government’s public policymaking. They asked the government to stop land expropriation immediately. The protest activities led by the TRF are called the Land Justice Movement, which has great influence in Taiwan society recently.

Shih-Jung Hsu holds a Ph.D from CEEP. He is currently Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Land Economics at the National Chengchi Universtiy (NCCU), Taiwan, and is the Director of the Center for the Third Sector, NCCU. He helped organizing the Taiwan Rural Front (TRF), a NPO fighting against injustice land grabbing activities from the government and big corporations. Dr. Hsu believes that the growth-led economic development path in Taiwan is completely unsustainable, and we need to have researches and actions to redirect it to the sustainable development way.

 

Vienna Center for Taiwan Studies

Department of East Asian Studies
University of Vienna
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Lastupdate: 25.01.2015 - 21:34