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August 23, 2017

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Activists rock out against beach development

The China Post news staff--Environmentalists held a concert at a beach in Taitung yesterday to underscore their demands for a resort being illegally built there be demolished.

Highlights of the concert at Sanyuan Beach saw aboriginal "fighters" row bamboo rafts toward the sea as a traditional assertion of their territorial rights.

They then released smoke to signal their battle against the Beautiful Bay Beach Resort project and the Taitung County Government that approved it.

Several structures are already standing on the beach, although further construction has been stopped after the administrative court ruled that the project's environmental impact assessment was flawed.

The county government is arranging fresh assessments in order to save the project.

But Chan Shun-kuei, a lawyer representing the activists against the project, said the Taitung government cannot be trusted for allowing the developer to start construction before completing the environmental report.

The county government must demolish the structures on the beach immediately, he said.

The environmentalists said the beach belongs to the public and must not be privatized by a hotel business.

While the county government has argued that the resort could create job opportunities, activists said people in Taitung must now rethink what kinds of job they want and how economic growth can really benefit them.

The developer of the project offered four promises trying to change the activists' minds: job opportunities, environmental friendliness, protection of public interests, and protection of the local culture.

An executive from the developer claimed the resort project has been proceeding within the boundaries of law, according to the Central News Agency.

The executive said the row is down to different interpretations of related laws by the activists, the county government and the administrative court.

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