Violations of Religious Freedom and Human Rights by Rogue Taiwanese Bureaucrats
The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Summit 2022 will be held on June 28-30 at the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, with two side events addressing the Tai Ji Men case, a case of violations of religious freedom and human rights in Taiwan that has lasted over 25 years.
The summit is chaired by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and Dr. Katrina Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. The event will bring together global religious and political leaders, including the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi; Rashad Hussain, Advisor to President Biden on Religious Freedom Conditions and Policy; and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, with the primary goal of promoting religious freedom and human rights protection around the world.
On June 30, at 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Anacostia Salon E Room of the Renaissance Washington DC Downtown Hotel, the Action Alliance to Redress 1219 will hold a side event under the theme of “The 2022 Review of Taiwan’s Implementation of the Two UN Human Rights Covenants and the Tai Ji Men FORB Case.” Internationally renowned scholars and human rights activists, such as London-based Dr. Alessandro Amicarelli, president of European Federation for Freedom of Belief; Dr. Donald Westbrook, a lecturer for the Library & Information Science Department at San Jose State University, USA; Charlotte Lee, an attorney in Taiwan, and others will share their insights on the violations of the ICCPR and ICESCR in the Tai Ji Men case. They will also discuss the impact of the case on the international community. The event will be also live-streamed.
Later that afternoon, at 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Meeting Room 8 in the same hotel, another side event with the theme “Tai Ji Men: International Ambassadors of Peace and Goodwill and Their FORB-Case” will be discussed from different perspectives by Marco Respinti, director in charge of the world famous magazine Bitter Winter; Dr. Holly Folk, professor of humanities and social sciences at Western Washington University, and other human rights activists. Tai Ji Men has been persecuted by illegal and unscrupulous bureaucrats through both legal and taxation means in Taiwan for over 25 years. Scholars, experts, and panelists will expose the injustices in the case that have shocked the international community and urge the Taiwanese government to protect freedom of religion and belief and that taxes should not be used as a weapon to persecute religious and spiritual groups. The forum will also examine how the international community can support and protect victims based on religion or belief with conscience. The event will be live-streamed.
Tai Ji Men has exhausted all legal means of relief in Taiwan, but the case has remained unresolved. Therefore, the support and voices of the international community are very important forces that can exert significant pressure on the Taiwanese government to actively redress the case. At the forums, a petition titled “Calling for a Solution of the Tai Ji Men Case” will be launched, urging the Taiwanese government to resolve this case of human rights violations politically, which has lasted for over a quarter of a century. This will be an important test of Taiwan’s implementation of the two international covenants on human rights (ICCPR and ICESCR) and transitional justice as well as its position as a true democracy. (A copy of the petition is available here)
About the Tai Ji Men Case
Tai Ji Men is a cultural and spiritual organization with a total of 15 academies in Taiwan and the United States. Over the past 20 plus years, Tai Ji Men’s leader, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, and his disciples have self-funded trips to over 300 cities in 101 nations, and conducted over 3,000 cultural performances to spread the message of love, peace, and conscience. Tai Ji Men and Dr. Hong have been widely praised by leaders in Taiwan and other nations.
The Tai Ji Men case is a fabricated one that began in 1996. Prosecutor Hou Kuan-jen abused his power by falsely accusing Tai Ji Men’s leader and his co-defendants, resulting in the unfair tax case.
In 2007, Taiwan Supreme Court found Tai Ji Men innocent of tax evasion and all other charges. Taiwan National Taxation Bureau should have taken the initiative to annul the ill-founded tax bills at that time, as required by law because Taiwan claims to be a democratic country that follows the rule of law. In 2010, Taiwan Ministry of Finance and National Taxation Bureau publicly pledged to resolve the Tai Ji Men case within two months. Surprisingly, they broke their promises, and a few rogue bureaucrats broke the law by disregarding the Supreme Court’s decision, and continued to issue hefty and unjustified tax bills to Dr. Hong, perpetuating the tax injustice against Tai Ji Men. On August 21, 2020, Tai Ji Men’s land intended for a spiritual center was even illegally auctioned and then confiscated by the Taiwanese government. This is a serious violation of Dr. Hong’s and his disciples’ right to freedom of belief and right to choose their own path of self-cultivation. This case has become a case of violations of religious freedom and human rights that shocks the world.
Over 300 legislators in Taiwan have spoken out in support of Tai Ji Men, regardless of their political party affiliations. More international forces of justice are required to uphold religious freedom, defend human rights, and stop injustice in the world!