Red Brick Daily Staff
The September 1, 2016, scheduled demolition of a section of homes next to a fruit and vegetable market in Kaohsiung’s Sanmin District (三民) to make way for a city-sponsored construction project has pushed some residents over the edge.
At least 100 people bused up to Taipei a day earlier to protest Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu’s “deaf ear” to the people’s voices, as they put it.
And what’s more, the protesters were mostly deep “Green” members of the DPP, the same party of Mayor Chen and President Tsai Ying-wen.
There is talk of “Chen Chu fatigue” in the city, as the VERY popular mayor is now finishing out her third term and has been the public face of the city for well over a decade.
She does not have plans – reportedly – to continue a career in politics after her term finishes and will likely continue as a senior advisor to the president and a “party elder” to the DPP upon retirement.
But there are still a few years left on her term, and some in Kaohsiung are displeased with a perceived lack of “listening” and or an “autocratic” style of management they see as coming from the office of the mayor.
Controversial land issues are playing a part.
Protesters from Kaohsiung’s Lujhu (路竹) and Hunei (湖內) districts said the city government failed to promptly publish online that a controversial iron wire and screw factory had passed an environmental review … essentially accusing the administration of “sneaking” the projects “under the wire” … despite years of debate and protests over them.
“President Tsai has said the DPP should be humble and communicate with the people, but that attitude is not at all apparent in Kaohsiung,” a protest leader was quoted as saying in the Taipei Times. “In its drive to promote development, the city government has turned a deaf ear to the voice of the people.”
The groups are calling on the Kaohsiung City Government to halt pending forced evictions, release all information pertaining to policy decisions and allow more civic participation in local decisons.
*Photos via CNA / News.Asiaone.com