From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwan Pastors Protest Casinos for Peng-hu

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 17 Jun 2002 19:06:20 -0700

Taiwan Church News 2624, June 16, 2002
Reported by Lin Sin-jen, Translated and rewritten
                                           by David Alexander

    The Peng-hu Archipelago sits in the Taiwan Straits half way
between Taiwan and China.  With other of Taiwan's offshore
islands, it shares retarded economic development and a lack of
opportunity for young families.  In recent years there has been
advocacy for setting up a gambling zone in the county. On June
8th the Peng-hu United Self Salvation Alliance, a private
association, conducted an advisory referendum, with its own
polling stations, simultaneous with official voting for village
Nearly 80% of people casting ballots in the referendum were in
favor of the casino plan.
    The result was not happily received by all. Clergy from
churches were particularly outspoken in their opposition.
    The Rev. Mr. Ke Cheng-feng from White Sands Presbyterian
Church said, "The county population is 90,000.  Of these, 40,000
cast ballots in the village chief elections.  Only 20,000 people
went to the referendum polling stations to cast votes.  Only
of these were in favor of the gambling proposal.  This small
of votes is not representative of the entire population of this
    Pastor Siong Chang-wang, from Si-yu Presbyterian Church,
noted that though some church members voted in the referendum,
there were people who felt pressured to do so.  Voting under
pressure, he thought, was not conducive of a just result.  He
added that the alliance conducting the referendum had promoted
the establishment of casinos as an economic development
opportunity, but said that legalized gambling offers little in
benefit while removing agricultural land from productive use.
    Li Ming-chuan, who is pastor of Chi-mei Presbyterian church,
added that the members of the churches in the county are firmly
opposed to the establishment of a gambling zone in Peng-hu.
    The office of Peng-hu county Council member Kao Chi-peng
also issued a statement questioning the procedures by which the
referendum was promoted and conducted.
    Clergy interviewed by the Taiwan Church News vowed to
continue their opposition to the establishment of legalized
gambling in Peng-hu County from a prophetic stance.

For More Information: Ke Cheng-feng:
                                    Siong Chang-wang
                                    Li Ming-chuan

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