04/25/2014, 00.00
TAIWAN
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DPP leader on hunger strike against new nuclear power plant

by Xin Yage
Lin Yi-xiong, who spent years in prisons under Kuomintang military rule, is not speaking and has not eaten for four days. Taiwan's President Ma and Prime Minister Jiang visited him. Urging him to end his protest, they stressed their commitment to a national referendum before the new plant goes operational.

Taipei (AsiaNews) - Amid protests and heated debates, Lin Yi-xiong (林义雄), former president of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, 民进党), is on the fourth day of a hunger strike against the construction of the country's fourth nuclear power plant (Nuke 4,核四).

Lin is holding the strike inside the building that was once his home and is now a Presbyterian church.

Here, person or persons unknown stabbed to death his mother and two of his daughters (7-years-old twins) in 1980.

The murder remains unsolved and many think it was ordered by the Kuomintang or Nationalist Party, which was in power then and now, at a time when martial law was still in place on the island. At that time, Lin was in prison where he was beaten several times by prison guards.

Taiwan Prime Minister Jiang Yi-Huah visited Lin on Tuesday; however, the latter did not speak to him (since he refuses to speak to anyone).

The prime minister asked the pastor of Lin's community to relay to the fasting leader his concerns and those of President Ma Ying-jeou (马英九) about the effects on his health of his decision not to eat.

Jiang pointed out that, although the plant is under construction, it cannot become operational until such time that uranium fuel rods can be installed, which depends on the outcome of a referendum.

The next day, President Ma also went to visit Lin carrying a letter for him.

Doctors and the authorities have said that if the DPP leader loses consciousness, he will be immediately hospitalised, even though the latter asked not to be rescued "under any circumstances".

Taiwan has three nuclear power plants already in operation, and is fast-tracking the development of green and renewable energy sources, especially wind and solar.

The long-term plan is to make the island totally free from nuclear energy to achieve total energy security through sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production.

The existing three nuclear power stations will be progressively dismantled by 2025; however, supporters of a fourth nuclear power plant argue that the latter is an essential component for the gradual transition to a nuclear-free Taiwan powered by affordable renewable energy sources.

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