“Where do you want to go?” the old taxi driver inquired as we approached his car outside the Yuanli (苑裡) train station in Miaoli County, a small stop reminiscent of train stations in an old Western movie. “Please take us seaside, where they are building the wind turbines,” we said.
The driver, assuming we were ordinary tourists, had evidently not expected such a request. “Why would you want to see those?” he asked. “There are much better things to see here — there’s a puppet show.”
|A man walks by the seashore|
The residents of Yuanli Township launched their resistance movement against InfraVest GmbH, a German wind power company, in September, after a concerned Chen Ching-hai (陳清海), a local artist and owner of the Xin Diao Ju (心雕居) wood sculpture gallery, attended a pre-construction information session for residents living within 250m of the planned wind turbines. He learned that the firm intended to build 14 wind turbines, each capable of generating 2,300 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, along the township’s 2km pristine coastline.
|A counter-protest at the site|
Since September, members of the self-help organization have protested at the Bureau of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Executive Yuan, the Control Yuan and in front of the InfraVest office in Taipei. Chen, the leathery-skinned group leader, went on hunger strike for 10 days and had to stop after he began throwing up blood.
|The electronics box|
|The face of opposition|
This feature article, co-written with Ketty Chen, was published today in the Taipei Times and continues here. See this article for my coverage on the thugs hired by InfraVest to scare off protesters ... and journalists. (All photos by the author)