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    Posted June 28, 2010 by
    jerry0729
    Location
    Taiwan
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Who taught you to love food?

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    When the Excavators Came to the Rice Fields

     

        In the eyes of farmers, their land is like life itself,  painstakingly farming and protecting the land. Sadly, they are sometimes  faced with terrible treatment.

       In  order to develop Jhunan Science Park, MiaoLi County government located  in central Taiwan, plan to expropriate the farmland in Dapu. The  government valued the land using the government assessed and publicly  announced land value of the price, a sum of money that falls far below  the market value. Some local farmers do not want to accept  this expropriation order and naturally unwilling to hand over land  rights.

       On the 8th June 2010, a rather queer atmosphere extended over the whole of this  simple village. Police put concrete roadblocks in place  cutting off any entry or exit form the village. The full  strength of the police stealthily made their way into the residential  community and forbid the entry of anyone except local residents. In the  early hours of the morning of the 9th of June, out of the  blue 20 excavators made their way into the rice fields, which were on  the verge of harvesting, and began to run amok in a rampage of  destruction, annihilating the richly laden rice fields in the blink of  an eye.

       Farmers tried to  obstruct the excavators by standing in their way, pleading with them not  to destroy their crops in such a callous way. However no  matter whether it was elderly farmers or women holding babies in their  arms, all were dealt the same harsh and unforgiving treatment by police. One woman sobbed in tears as she said, “I fell to my knees in  front of the excavators begging them not to destroy my farmland, but  they just wouldn’t listen to me.” Excavators drove all over the fields,  completely destroying the rice that was ready for harvesting, leaving  only a pile of muck in their wake. Farmers could only look  on in bewilderment at the destroyed rice fields, speechlessly looking  to the heavens for the reason why.

        In reality, the vast  majority of Taiwan’s science parks are lying idle. However  in order to develop industry, local governments are running roughshod  over people, employing an uncompromising attitude to treat those farmers  who view their land as an important asset. In the past,  Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Zheng-hong personally promised that he  would ensure farmers would receive premium compensation. In  2010 Miaoli County Legislative Assembly also made decisions without  first reaching a consensus with local residents, postponing the  expropriation process, yet in the name of preparing the land, drove  excavators into the fields of those farmers who were still contesting  the expropriating decision.

     

        There has been almost no response from Taiwan’s media with regards to this issue. One reason is that local journalists often work together with the government and so have extremely good relations giving this kind of negative issue no opportunity to surface in the media. Another reason is that farmers stand in a vulnerable position, and destined to be sacrificed by financial groups looking to obtain land.     

     

        The  only means for this story to reach the public has been through local  people, citizen journalists, who have been on the scene to record and  broadcast this rough and cruel process over the internet, bringing this  harrowing story to the people, allowing even more citizens the  opportunity to witness the tears and anguish of these farmers.

         ‘When  the Excavators Came to the Rice Fields’, the issue of Dapu’s farmland  being expropriated is an epitome of what could happen anywhere in  Taiwan. Farmers have no voice and need the people of  Taiwan to show their concern and extend out a helping hand.

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