Taiwan crowds sing against nuclear energy
Group demands clear energy policy from government
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-08-24 05:14 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An estimated 1,000 people gathered in front of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei Saturday morning to sing songs against nuclear energy.

The event was organized by the recently formed ‘Mom Loves Taiwan’ action group, an organization of women and mothers concerned about nuclear energy in general and the construction of the fourth nuclear plant in Gongliao, New Taipei City, in particular.

Group founder Irene Chen, who also serves as executive director of the Fubon Cultural and Educational Foundation, led a group of Taiwan celebrities, children, students and environmental activists to sing a theme song. The event was recorded for a music video which will reportedly be broadcast on television to support the anti-nuclear cause.

The group called on the government to make haste with the drawing up of a clear energy policy, bring environmental and energy education into practice and announce a timetable for making Taiwan nuclear-free. The activists also launched the slogan “Reduce 6, remove 4,” meaning that if the public cut its power usage by 6 percent, the fourth nuclear plant could be scrapped as it was expected to provide the country with 6 percent of its power.

The crowd at the event included prominent singers and actors, Japanese citizens who had fled the Fukushima area for Taiwan after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, and National Taiwan University Hospital traumatology department chief Ko Wen-jer, who has often been named as a potential candidate in next year’s Taipei City mayoral election.

The crowds held up yellow placards with the words “Nuke go zero” in Chinese and English. The song they performed, “Children’s Sky,” was composed by Ian Chen, a member of the popular rock trio F.I.R. and a prominent participant in anti-nuclear campaigns.

Once the Legislative Yuan reconvenes next month, the government’s push for a nuclear referendum is expected to gather renewed impetus. Attempts to discuss the issue during two special summer sessions failed because of strong opposition from the Democratic Progressive Party and because other topics emerged as more pressing, such as the reform of the military justice system.

The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou wants to hold the nationwide plebiscite before the end of this year, but the delays at the Legislative Yuan are making it less likely that the timing will be kept. Government officials are reportedly anxious that the vote should not coincide with local elections scheduled for December 2014.

Since many opinion polls show a majority of 70 percent and more of the public opposed to the fourth nuclear plant, the opposition has asked the government just drop the plan for a referendum and announce a stop to the project.

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