Calling on the Taiwan Government to Immediately Redress the Unjust Tai Ji Men Case
The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit was held in Washington, D.C. on June 28-30, 2022. Over 60 Tai Ji Men members from around the world attended the annual IRF Summit, bringing to the attention of the international community the persecution against Tai Ji Men by unscrupulous Taiwanese government officials for nearly 26 years.
Following the completion of the IRF Summit, these global Tai Ji Men members, ranging in age from 9 to 81, came to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States on July 1 to protest the injustice vested on Tai Ji Men. Representatives of Tai Ji Men members from around the world traveled to DC for the fifth time in a year since July 2021 to present their case to Representative Hsiao Bi-khim, hoping that she would understand the people’s anguish and pass on the messages of Tai Ji Men members to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Pamela, a Tai Ji Men member from Los Angeles, stated that if there were no grievances and if the case had been rectified, who would want to travel to DC to protest repeatedly? She also stated, with a heavy heart, that the Taiwanese government is certainly very humiliating, having been tricked for 26 years by a dishonest prosecutor who lied about and fabricated the case, and the government still refuses to fulfill its duty and exercise its power to redress the injustice. Taiwan has become a laughingstock on the international stage as a result of this.
Pamela mentioned that Rosita Šorytė, a representative of the European Federation for Freedom of Belief (FOB) and a former Lithuanian diplomat, compared the problems of transitional justice, i.e. of rectifying the injustices of a past authoritarian regime after a transition to democracy, in Eastern Europe and Taiwan. Šorytė also expressed the opinion that there may be no strictly legal solution for the Tai Ji Men case, and the solution should now be political.
Ida Hsu, a mother of two children who are still in elementary school, has immigrated from Taiwan to the United States for over 20 years. She stated, “It is not easy for us to live and work overseas. We love Taiwan. Taiwan is our homeland, so we are careful not to disgrace Taiwan, but today a few rogue Taiwanese government officials have persecuted Tai Ji Men, which makes me lose confidence in the Taiwanese government. I brought my two children here to protest, to teach them by example. Government officials should be brave enough to correct their mistakes, and not let the next generation suffer by continuing this mistake!”
Athena Li, a university student from Taiwan, flew to Washington, D.C. to attend the IRF Summit and to protest at TECRO. She said, “There is an illegal bonus system in Taiwan that has caused the officials of the Ministry of Finance and the National Taxation Bureau to over-collect taxes from people, which caused a flood of tax victims in Taiwan.” “On August 21, 2020, Tai Ji Men’s sacred land was auctioned and confiscated illegally because of an ill-founded tax bill. How can this happen in a democratic country governed by the rule of law?” she asked.
“As citizens of Taiwan, we should be aware of our own human rights, especially taxpayers’ rights. We should all stand up for ourselves, for our country that we love,and also to create a better future for our next generation,” she added.
Eileen Ho, another youth representative from Taiwan, said that when she traveled to the United States as a child, what impressed her most was not Disneyland, but the democratic and free atmosphere in the United States. Therefore, she volunteered to promote justice and religious freedom, urging the Taiwan government to reform, correct its mistakes, and become a truly free and democratic country under the rule of law.
The Tai Ji Men case has attracted a lot of attention at the IRF Summit, where Tai Ji Men members introduced the case to attendees from around the world and invited them to co-sign a petition calling for a solution to the Tai Ji Men case. It is stated in the petition: “We join Tai Ji Men in respectfully asking the government of Taiwan, whose commitment to democracy in a region plagued by non-democratic regimes we appreciate and applaud, to return through a political act the confiscated sacred land to Tai Ji Men and publicly confirm that, as Taiwan’s Supreme Court stated, they never violated the law nor evaded taxes. It would be a small step for Taiwan’s government, but a crucial one to tell the world Taiwan is truly committed to freedom of religion or belief and to the protection of religious and spiritual minorities that were once persecuted by its authoritarian and post-authoritarian regimes.”
The petition was quickly signed by over 100 people, including Commissioner Stephen Schneck of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Prof. Massimo Introvigne, managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and editor-in-chief of Bitter Winter magazine; Rosita Šorytė, representative of European Federation for Freedom of Belief; Marco Respinti, director in charge of Bitter Winter magazine; Dr. Donald Westbrook, a lecturer for the Library & Information Science Department at San Jose State University, USA; Dr. Holly Folk, professor of humanities and social sciences at Western Washington University; Dr. Alessandro Amicarelli, president of European Federation for Freedom of Belief; and others.
At the end of the protest on July 1, Eric Chou, director of the Administrative Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO), came out to accept a statement from a youth representative of Tai Ji Men members. It is the sincere hope of Tai Ji Men members that their voices will be heard by President Tsai, and that she will urge the relevant government officials to immediately rectify this case of injustice, which has dragged on for more than a quarter of a century, return Tai Ji Men’s sacred land, clear the names of Tai Ji Men’s leader and members, protect human rights and freedom of religion and belief, and make Taiwan a truly democratic and free country!
- Eric Chou, director of the Administrative Division of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO), came out to accept a statement from a youth representative of Tai Ji Men members.
- More than 50 Tai Ji Men members came to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States to protest the injustice vested on Tai Ji Men.