Taiwan Church News
17 – 23 April, 2017
Taroko Aborigines Protest Against A 20-year-long Extension Of Mining Rights Granted To Asia Cement
Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong
In the morning on April 12, over one hundred Taroko aborigines with the elder and children assembled before Taiwan’s Executive Yuan to protest a 20-year-long mining rights extension granted to Asia Cement on March 20, which was the date just one week before the minister of Ministry of Economic Affairs(MOEA) promised in the congress to freeze any new approvals of mining rights extension within six months until a legal review and amendment of mining rights is made.
Many legislators, environment advocates, students of Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary, and officials of PCT General Assembly Office also came to the site to show their strong supports for this demonstration. Rev Goshiao Yuyo, pastor of Ciwan Memorial Presbyterian Church, leading these Taroko aborigines to speak out their voices and ask the central government to return the occupied land of 50 households in Truku community, which was illegally forced to relocate with false documents by Asia Cement in 1970s.
Rev Omi Wilang, secretary of PCT’s Indigenous Mission Committee, came to support the rally and critically pointed out that the real problem, causing a lot of confusions and conflicts within Taroko tribes and even within local aboriginal church, lied in central government’s spineless instinct to knee down before those financial conglomerates while hypocritically boasted it is a government most able to communicate. When freedom, democracy and respects for human rights were publicly hailed as the core values of this administration, the approval to extend mining rights granted to Asia Cement was a face-slamming irony on Tsai’s administration, Rev Omi Wilang reminded.
Apparently, the event of mining right extension is absolutely a dysfunction of Taiwan government as a state machinery, bombarded Rev Omi Wilang, when lots of her natural resources either from coast line to high mountain or from river to inner lake, are capitalized as trade goods controlled or manipulated by the powerful financial conglomerates.
Translated by Peter Wolfe