But every time you could easily notice there are big cultural differences between China and Taiwan. Even the language is so different. There are 14 ethnic groups in Taiwan like we have in Mongolia. Especially Taiwanese indigenous who have lived here for hundreds of years still exist. Unfortunately, my Taiwanese friends told me that there are few of them left and their life is not very good. This trip is completely different from one you would normally take. Besides visiting the country’s beautiful and historical sights, it was more meaningful to experience the real life and social situation. Frankly 10 days weren’t enough time to understand how many human right issues there are and pretty limited freedom even in a developed country. Nine citizen journalists visited a village called San-Ying where the poorest people live.
San-Ying is a very quiet village. The houses here were made from pieces of woods, doors found from the garbage site. We were cordially greeted by Mr. E-hao, a representative from the village and he told us about life of indigenous people. Taiwan was under the rule of Han people (Chinese) for hundreds of years. You can say that the governors who are ruling Taiwanese government are rooted from Han people. Therefore, indigenous people are living under a great pressure and it’s hard for them to stay in the country. They have always been asked to move out in order to use the place for different purpose and sometimes the homes are torn down or destroyed. Such actions are becoming more and more common.
Mr E- hao is also Han and at the beginning he had stand with the demolishing actions of the San-Ying village by the Taiwanese government. But soon he firmly stands against the wrong decision of the government. He couldn’t stand how hundreds of indigenous people are being badly treated and started to contemn the policy of the government. There is a giant bridge stands in the center of Taipai, a modern city and under this bridge you find a little neighborhood of the indigenous people. No one employs them because they are viewed by the public as that remains of communism, lazy and dirty people. The residents of San-Ying don’t have jobs, money and don’t receive any social welfare and allowance from the state. Even they don’t get health service. Also no one helps them. They have earned their livings by growing vegetables, rice and fruits on a small area. We met Banai, 40 years old woman. She says: “The government demanded us to move shortly because they said this land belongs to Han people.”
“Once there was a decision to build a big park here and instead we were forced to move into high-rent apartments. We don’t have jobs and we couldn’t afford the rent so we moved back”, she says. Government still demands these people to move into high rent apartments and always force them out. If they don’t move, government officials and police men use force and destroy the shelters with heavy machines without asking.
Such action didn’t just happen once or twice. They already did this to San-Ying residents seven times. When Taiwanese government explains this action to the public “These people live at a risky point where they can possibly be swept in Typhoon so we moved them to apartments. However, due to their laziness they could not pay the rent and moved back. Therefore, we decided to force them out. We should build a beautiful modern park instead.” Actually the indigenous people always work who hold the title lazy in this country where people work like a robot and non-stop. They are naturally hard working people. They save the little money which they earn by growing vegetable and rice and buy things they needed. Just starting to settle down a bit, giant machines destroy everything said Banai.
In Mongolia, there are some countryside people and herders who lost their livestock move to the city seeking ways to live, build their homes wherever they want and even in places where they can be exposed to danger of flooding. Although Mongolian government never treat them as the way Taiwanese government treat the indigenous people. Compare to other countries, we Mongolians are very lucky people that we have a lot of freedom and peace and have no wars. Eventually, people from San-Ying have experienced a lot of threats and were forced to move many times. But this time they decided not to move. After the 7th demolishment, they collect broken planks and metal remains, and started to build homes from the beginning together. They even became more organized and both men and women guard their camp day and night shift. However they had their homes destroyed seven times, you can see how comfortable the homes are by looking at flowers outside of each house. San-Ying is not the only village where people are looking places to live and suffering. When you think there are many more Taiwanese indigenous people looking for places to live and living at dangerous places, you ask yourself “What’s the meaning for gaining population”.
(Written by Gantsatsral / Translated by Odontuya / Proofread by Portnoy)
See the related link: http://en.nomadgreen.org/archives/7433