Agency approves Aerotropolis project despite activists
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo , The China Post
December 31, 2013, 12:07 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Interior Ministry's Construction and Planning Agency yesterday gave its seal of approval to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project, according to Taoyuan Magistrate John Wu (吳志揚), who along with other representatives attended the agency's meeting.
According to the Taoyuan County Government, the agency's meeting on the project was forced to a halt on Dec. 24 due to protesters.
Wu yesterday headed a delegation of Taoyuan County Government representatives at the meeting, which was also attended by lawmakers, councilors, township representatives and heads in support of the project as well as dozens of activists against it.
The county government said that the agency had especially arranged for those in favor of and those against the project to attend the meeting so that arguments from both sides could be heard. The meeting lasted until 2:30 p.m.
The magistrate said that the project is the largest development plan in the nation, covering more than 4,700 hectares of land.
The process of carrying out the project has so far been very challenging, Wu said, adding that the government has strived to face every obstacle pragmatically.
The magistrate said that the work lying ahead will prove to be even more challenging, and that Taoyuan will face the obstacles head on and do its best to coordinate and communicate.
Wu urged the residents of Taoyuan to lend their support to the project.
Activists Say Project Is a Scam
According to local reports, several activists were denied entry to yesterday's meeting, leading to a confrontation with the police.
Representatives of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and other groups against the project held a joint press conference at the Legislative Yuan, during which a union representative said that the expedited review of the project and lack of public participation has led to human rights, land rights, property rights and right of abode violations.
A spokesman for one of the groups said that by attending the meeting, activists had hoped to influence the course of events in a rational manner for the sake of national interests, but that they were only allowed into the conference room in groups and given only three minutes to state their arguments, after which they were asked to leave.
Activists called the project a scam, urging the Taoyuan County Government and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to withdraw it to protect the interests of the people.