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December, 6, 2016

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Gov't must think long-term amid Formosa Plastics fracas

Given recent protests in Changhua County and strong resistance from parents in Yunlin County whose children were ordered to leave a school campus over cancer fears, it is clear that the country is undergoing a transformation that requires government action.

The nation is transforming from a primarily manufacturing-based economy to a more commercial one; from fossil-fuel based power sources to renewable and green energy; and from a more conservative generation that honors tradition to one that treasures diversity and uniqueness.

Protests first broke out in Yunlin County in late August, when 62 students from a local school branch located 0.9 kilometers from the Formosa Plastics Group's (FPG) Sixth Naphtha Refinery were ordered to transfer to the school's main campus, farther away from the refinery.

The reaction from parents at the school was the opposite of what many members of the public had expected.

Instead of preparing the students for the transfer, and perhaps considering relocating their homes over cancer concerns, parents refused the Executive Yuan's order and brought the protest from Yunlin County to the capital city.

Approximately 300 demonstrators, including parents and villagers, marched outside the Executive Yuan, proclaiming that the students' right to an education had been overlooked by a reckless central government interfering in local affairs from a remote location and "favoring certain people."

Rumors spread in Mailiao District — where the school branch is located — that the professor who conducted the report warning of acute health risks at the school had been rejected by Formosa Plastics for a research grant application and was targeting the company in retaliation.

Diverse opinions — with or without evidence — aroused fervent debate on social media. But as media attention focused on the transfer order itself, little was said on the termination of the toxic plants in the petrochemical complex, or about creating stricter laws to reduce emissions.

The new investigation into students' health conditions in the area is expected to be released by November, four months after the government compromised with parents and launched another round of inspections that was in fact based on the same scientific methods as the previous one.

As parents in Yunlin await a decision about whether their students can remain at the school in the long term, thousands of employees in Changhua County protested against the county government in support of another subsidiary of Formosa Plastics, which environmentalists have said is poisoning local air quality.

October 18, 2016    tree@
堅守「國際法高於國內法」直接保障人民權益!環境汙染 當然究責! (永久和平網:記者 Lai)
台灣破壞自然環境最大的因,乃是包套式貪腐。台灣應加速全面憲改!杜絕集團破壞自然環境,因圖利私囊而犧牲了全民之健康;「一個地球、一套法律,國際法高於國內法,直接對人民發生效力」。除此,公共議題,公民連署可公投決議,才能預防集團破壞自然環境再發生。詳參《永久和平發展憲章》( http://goo.gl/9S6TvN )。
October 18, 2016    tree@
International laws should take precedence over domestic laws to directly protect the welfare of people. All people have a duty to help prevent environmental pollution! (PPDA journalist Lai)
Systematic corruption is the main cause of Taiwan’s environmental pollution. Taiwan should carry out complete constitutional reform! We should not allow private corporations to do damages to our environment. We must follow the principle of One World under One Set of Laws, as international laws should be given priority over domestic laws to directly guard the welfare of people. Any decision concerning a public issue should be made through referendum so we can effectively prevent private corporations from ruining our environment. For details, see the Charter for Permanent Peace and Development.
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