Friday, August 13, 2010

Is the State turning the police into thugs?

Police Officers barring entry into the EPA offices at a previous CTSP review meeting: photo courtesy MFCU

Yesterday police manhandled stakeholders that had gathered in opposition to the Central Taiwan Science Park's Phase-3 zone development at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) offices in Taipei when they tried to observe an EPA review meeting being held at the EPA offices.

The EPA ignored a Supreme Administrative Court ruling against the EPA's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) review of the CTSP Phase-3 zone in Houli, Taichung County in January. Then, last month the Taipei High Administrative Court ruled that construction work at the CTSP's Phase-4 zone in Erlin, Changhua County, had to be stopped until further EIAs were conducted and approved. The EPA has appealed the Taipei High Administrative Court ruling and has allowed companies that had already begun production or were building to continue to do so.

This is not the first time that stakeholders that oppose the expansion project have been barred from attending, left out of or simply not invited to attend review meetings. Many have alleged that the EPA and developers have tried to settle disputes in secret. Certainly, there has been a very worrying lack of transparency in the entire CTSP expansion process.

When the situation arises where the courts have ordered that work stops but the government allows it to go ahead just what are the police expected to do when the people protest? Clearly in this case the police are taking orders from and executing the desires of the present government even if it seems to go against the rule of law. At present there seems to be no questioning of the government's position by senior police officers. The police in Taiwan have a legacy of abuse. During almost four decades of Marshal Law they acted as the enforces of state policy for the autocratic Nationalist regime. Is the Nationalist government once again turning the police into thugs? We certainly hope not.

See Science park hearing sparks clashes in today's Taipei Times.

Also see:
Academics against new Kuokuang plant

Government quick to defend Formosa Plastics in the wake of a second fire

Formosa Plastics on fire again

Taiwan High Administrative Court orders Central Taiwan Science Park to halt all expansion pending a ruling on two lawsuits

The saga of the CTSP Erlin Science Park and the Kuokuang Petrochemical Project

Wu the Kuokuang Petrochemical executive continues to forget he's the Nation's Premier

EPA and NSC appeal High Administrative Court order

Erosion of democracy and freedom Beijing style

Local residents block access to FPG plant

Local residents continue to block access to FPG plant

Government defies the courts with the President's blessing

Isn’t It Time the Legal Community Spoke Up?

Science park development at Houli gets the nod

Photos: EPA gives Phase 3 CTSP the nod even if the courts say no.

Taiwan's rubber stamp EPA

No comments: