Observations of the Penghu referendum

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The Penghu casino referendum was held on Saturday. I went to observe the referendum as part of the team organised by Citizen Congress Watch (公民監督國會聯盟). I’ll first report on the observation of the referendum voting followed by some analysis of the results of the referendum and its political implications. Continue reading

Political lessons from Penghu

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For the past week I have been involved in various activities of the Anti-gambling Alliance (反賭博合法化聯盟) in their campaign against the plan for a casino on Penghu (澎湖). The residents of Penghu will vote in a referendum on 26 September that will decide whether plans for the casino will be approved. If the referendum passes and a casino is built it will be Taiwan’s first casino. At present the lottery is the only form of legalised gambling in Taiwan. Continue reading

Penghu fish death mystery

There have recently been mass fish deaths in the waters around Penghu, a group of islands of the coast of Taiwan. According to the Taipei Times 50 tonnes of fish carcasses were cleaned up from Penghu’s beaches. The impacts on Penghu’s fishing industry are quite severe. An estimated 80% of the stocks in the fish farms were lost with a financial cost of NT$180 million (US$5.75 million). For more information about the disaster also see this video from BBC News.

News articles attributed the mass fish deaths to a cold snap causing a drop in water temperatures. A letter in the Taipei Times today said the deaths may be related to the dumping of two tonnes of cyanide in sea off Penghu in 2006. Another Taipei Times article suggests the disaster may be related to construction of bridges restricting the flow of water and exacerbating the effects of the drop in water temperature.

Whether this incident is related is to climate change or over-engineering of the environment it should serve as a warning signal. Everyone is dependent on the environment and needs to treat it with greater respect. The fact that neither of Taiwan’s Presidential candidate are serious about enviromental issues does not bode well for Taiwan’s future.