Taiwan: Science park expansion dispute

Recently, the Executive Yuan in Taiwan has passed a bill in favor of Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) fourth stage expansion. The construction plan has drawn the attention of ecologists and caused heated discussion in the Taiwan blogosphere.

Jeremy explains the problem of the construction plan in a blog post “They Don't Care About Us”:

中 科四期落腳彰化二林,其附近是有台灣米倉之稱的稻米重要產銷專區,濁水溪的水資源更是灌溉出全台數一數二的西螺與溪湖果菜市場,彰雲兩縣的沿海更是有產 值數十億的養殖漁業,包括外銷的台灣鯛與著名的王功牡蠣等。中科四期的廢水排放設計草率,可能讓沿海養殖漁業全毀,蔬果稻米染毒,縣民五次北上陳情,卻換 來環評委員會擱置爭議,仍是有條件通過中科四期開發案,…

Central Taiwan Science Park (CTSP) fourth stage expansion project is located in Erlin,Changhua . However, the area is also known as “The Bread Basket of Taiwan”, which is famous for its quality rice. Nearby, Jhuoshuei River supports the two biggest vegetables and fruit markets, Siluo and Sihu Markets. The haphazard design of water treatment system in Central Taiwan Science Park will very likely ruin the aquaculture along Changhua and Yulin County coastline which generates billions of NT dollars annually. The industrial water will also contaminate farmland and waters that nourish Taiwan tilapia fish and Wanggong oysters.

Citizens from the affected areas visited Taipei five times to explain their situation to the authorities. But the Advisory Council on the Environment Environmental Impact Assessment Subcommittee decided to put aside the disputes and approve the Central Taiwan Science Park fouth stage expansion project with some conditions.

As the driving force behind the expansion of of CTSP is the myth of I.T industry, blogger Munch points out that the industry will not save Taiwan's economy, on the other hand the current mode of production will result in a crisis:

中 科四期的問題,不是通過與阻擋的戲局,它不是開始,也不會是最終,因為台灣高科技產業,其實只是高級代工產業,權充國際生產鍊的高等加工廠。當無法在設計 與行銷創造獨特,依賴產品代工的生產,在科技產業低利潤的年代,只能不斷擴廠,開發更多的科技園區,以量能來彌補不足,然後在高產都無法創造利潤,最後就 是移轉投資、整廠遷移,留下的是已遭破壞的土地。

The problem concerning CTSP is more than whether to approve the construction or not. That won't solve the problem. The so-called high technology industry in Taiwan is now playing the role of sub-contractor for the international production chain. When they fail to sell their original designs, they can only produce for others. Now that high tech products’ profit rate is getting low, they can only rely on expansion. They have to build more Science Parks in order to increase their production capacity. However, when they fail to make profit by increasing their productivity through expansion, they will shut down their plants and reinvest their money elsewhere, leaving a ruined land behind.

In order to campaign against the CTSP expansion, a group of young people set up awebsite and launched a photo signature action.


However, in response to the call for a peaceful march against the CTSP 4th project a farmer, Oulisan(歐力上), which means “an old guy” in Japanese and Taiwanese, asked if the young organizers were ready to practice an alternative way of life:

我 是一個中年彰化農民,坐四望五之年,心中一直有一個疑惑,每一個父母希忘自己的孩子書念得好,將來有競爭力,可以進入高科技廠就業(就是你們反對的對 象),有一個穩定的收入,有一個平安幸福的一生,幾乎沒有人希望自己的孩子回家務農,因為工作辛苦收入少得可憐,這是父母的看法。

I’m a farmer in Chunghwa. I’m forty something and therefore understand why every parents want their children to focus on their studies. They hope their children to be more competitive in the job market and find their way to high tech companies – to have a stable job and a happy life ever after. Nobody wants their kids to come back home and become a farmer because farming demands hard work and has little income. This is parents’ rationality.

是的,農村不快樂, 當你們年輕人響應「聲援農村」行動時,有沒有想過,自己將來是回家務農還是投入其他收入較穩定的職場?你們的熱心關懷自身所處的土地, 歐力上我百分之百支持,但是如果你不想回歸農村,又基於環保理念反對產業,將來台灣將空有荒廢的土地,而沒有產業,身為未來台灣社會舞台主角的你們,將如 何自處?

Yes, the farmers are not happy. When you young people launch the campaign to support agriculture, have you ever thought about your own choice in the future? will you choose to work in a farm or prefer to have a stable job? I fully support your love and care for our land. But, if you oppose industrial development due to ecological reasons, while at the same time, you don’t want to become a farmer. The land in Taiwan will be empty without agriculture and without industry. As the future key actors of the Taiwan society, how will you position yourself?

This is indeed a critical question for the young activists. In fact some young people have decided to choose farming as a way of life in the past few years. Meanwhile, ecological groups has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the construction may lead to the lowering of the underground water levels and ground sinking. GVers in Taiwan will also continue to keep a close eye on these issues.


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