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‘Tear Down the Government’ Land Rights Protest

Original: CNN iReport

By NEAL MOORE
TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan – Republic of China (CNN iReport)

Taiwan citizens came out in force on Sunday, August 18, to protest on the one month anniversary of the forced demolition of four rural houses in Miaoli County’s Dapu Borough. The protest, which multiple local news outlets reported included “more than 10,000” protestors, comes on the heels of an earlier protest held earlier this month in the same location – in the heart of the capital directly outside the Presidential Office – in which more than 100,000 protestors rallied for government reform following the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu.

“The top issue in Taiwan right now is about land grabbing,” explained Dr. Hsu Shih-Jung, Director and Professor of the Department of Land Economics at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, who went on to say the problem is in fact island-wide. “The government uses their power to take away the private property, especially from the farmers.”

Billed as a ‘Tear Down the Government’ action, in response to the government taking down four houses after reportedly promising to save them, the protest was big on symbolism – many in the crowd throwing excrement (with the help of provided plastic gloves) at a mock memorial of Miaoli magistrate Liu Cheng-hung, a sign below his image in Chinese reading, “His sound and his face seem to still be with us.”

I spoke with protestors from all walks of life, from academics to musicians to a kindergarten teacher to a college freshman. “The slogan of tonight’s protest is to ‘Tear Down the Government’, but not everyone is so absolute,” explained Constance Hsu, a freshman at National Taiwan University. “But they’ve come here anyway because they believe it is important to make their voice heard.”

Featured in this video are:

* Dr. Hsu Shih-Jung, Director and Professor of the Deaprtment of Land Economics, National Chengchi University.
* Ajan (the drummer) and Ada (lead vocals and guitar) of Rural Armed Youth, along with footage of their performance with Kou Chou Ching.
* Yao La La, a kindergarden teacher visiting from New York.
* Kuo Ling-Fang, a research assistant at Taipei Veteran General Hospital.

and

* Cheng Judy, Community Representative for the HuaQuang Community in Central Taipei City, who is currently facing the forced demolition of her entire neighborhood – slated for August 27, 2013.