March 12-18, 2012
PCT joins protesters at March 11 rally against nuclear energy
Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong
Written by Lydia Ma
On the first anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and led to reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, major cities in Taiwan such as Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung held mass rallies to urge the Ma administration to halt the construction of nuclear power plants and the use of nuclear energy. “We don’t want nuclear power, give us green power!” shouted protesters.
The anti-nuclear energy rally in Taipei began at 2:00 p.m. at Lungshan Temple where protesters enacted various scenarios in case of a nuclear meltdown, including siren sounds, explosions and deaths on impact. The crowd reached Ketagalan Boulevard around 4:00 p.m. and raised their anti-nuclear energy banners and flags in front of the Presidential Palace to call for the scrapping of Nuclear Power Plant No. 4, which is currently under construction.
“We must use our own strength to tell the government loudly that we want zero nuclear power and zero nuclear disasters,” said PCT Church and Society Committee Secretary Ng Tiat-gan (Huang Che-yen) when he was interviewed just before the rally began. He added that in spite of the nuclear accident in Japan, President Ma Ying-jeou has not relented efforts to build Nuclear Power Plant No.4 and even increased the budget allotted for it. Such callousness toward Taiwanese also explains why he is comfortable with allowing U.S. beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine to enter Taiwan despite much controversy.
Huang, who studied in Japan for 1 year and still keeps in touch with friends who are now Japanese pastors, heard his friends say that residents living within a 30 km radius of the Fukushima Daiichi plant now live with a constant sense of frustration and sorrow. A recent government conducted poll also showed that 82% of local students who have yet to enter senior high school do not want to continue studying in Fukushima.
Huang added that residents in Fukushima now stay mostly indoor, behind tightly shut doors and windows, and very few venture outside for sunlight – they all live as though under house arrest. Seeing their tragic lives, Huang wondered if Taiwanese would ever desire to be in the same situation as Fukushima residents.
PCT Associate General Secretary Lyim Hong-tiong said that the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima served as a wake-up call for the entire world, prompting the international community to seriously consider a future without nuclear energy. PCT has always advocated for a country free of nuclear energy and issued such a statement as early as 1992. For this reason, PCT Church and Society Committee will join other organizations in this emerging movement against nuclear energy. “We should carry on this movement until the day nuclear energy is abolished,” he said.