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Taiwan Church News

3339 Edition

February 22 - 28, 2016

Editorial

 

Here Comes 228 Again

 

This year, 2015, is the 69th anniversary of 228 event. Too many innocent Taiwan elites, folks or even honest immigrants from other provinces were brutally killed in this mass killings and its aftermath. Following those memorial services or commemorative day held annually for remembering 228 massacre in the past decades, people become no more ignorant and acquire some basic knowledge about this historically tragedy. But, here comes another problem: the serious meaning of making 228 memorial day a national day of rest seems gradually lost in the passage of time, especially when the 228 national day off become so stereo-typed that it is deemed as another celebrating holiday only!

Does transformative justice just evolve into another kind of cliche and degrade into a boring tactics among party politicians? Recently, there is a Holocaust-related news circulated on the internet, reporting a 95-year-old former Nazi sergeant, accused of murdering 58 Jews in the World War II, was finally convicted guilty by German court with 58 murder charges in 2009 after half a century's escape and anonymous running. This is a real story of transformative justice done by German government. Can Taiwan make it in the same vein?

The horrific Rwandan Genocide costed about 800,000 lives, when a mass man slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Tutu happened from April 7 to mid-July in 1994. Those heinous brutality and tremendous fear shown in the movie of Hotel Rwanda could give us some clues on what this unspeakable genocide is like. So, in the past 20 years, how did the Rwanda government proceed the transformative justice in their society? As the first world court system would be too tedious to deliver a justice in time, Mr Paul Kagame - the Rwanda President then - introduced the traditional tribal court "Gacaca" to speed up the trial on genocide case. The Gacaca court was in charge by the old guards from different local families, encouraging the prosecuted to seek the forgiveness from the victims' families, in order to find the truth, comfort the suffered and reach a true reconciliation.

Does the transformative justice in Rowanda pass the test? Indeed, there were still some criticisms upon this big-scale legal proceedings, for example the juridical outcomes deemed advantageous for some dominant ethnic tribes. But it's beyond doubt all legal cases of Rowanda Genocide were totally settled down within 12 years since 2001, when over 10,000 Gacaca courts were set up across Rowanda. It demonstrated at least the Rowandan goverment dare to do the job of transformative justice. Now, it is the 69th anniversary after 228 event. Does Taiwan government has any intention to kick off the engineering of transformative justice?

If we look around the world, the cases of genocide or massacre are actually innumrable. For example, the horrendous Armenian Genocide, happened in Turkey between 1915 to 1917, is bluntly denied by current Turkish government, even though over 20 countries has resoluted to recognize this historical event. Not to mention the Tiananmen Square Massacre, happened on June 4th 1989, is still a forbidden issue to discuss inside China society. No body knows the exact figures of those passionate youth killed by the Chinese army. So, it is obvious not every mass killing event could allow a baptism of tranformative justice. The next question is: do we wish Taiwan to be one of these notorious countries?

Following the success of Taiwan's democratic process, we become lucky enough to check our past tragic history into details. But we should not too excited to be paralyzed in our ecstatic feelings, as there are still too much jobs to be done. The goals what transformative justice wants to achieve are as follows, making the deceased rest in peace, comforting the survivors and exposing the crimes of those evil-doers. Only thus, the devastatingly inflicted people could walk out of the melancholic past together and march forward to the future!

 
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Taiwan Church News

3339 Edition

February 22 - 28, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Aboriginal Names Urged To Be Spelled In Roman Alphabets In Response To Mother Language Day

 

Reported by Chen Yi-fan

 

On February 21st, International Mother Language Day, Mrs Kolas Yotaka, the new-elect DPP lawmaker at large urged Taiwan's central government "accept the Romanized spelling as one of our official languages" in an youtube video produced by Taiwanese Languages League.

In order to make Taiwan society recognize the legitimacy and practical demands of the Romanized spelling to the aboriginal peoples, Yokota expressed she would help push two amendment bills, Name Act and Civil Servants Election and Recall Act, in the new session of Legislative Yuan.

Taking her personal experience as an example, Yotaka explained that she was bluntly rejected to register her Romanized aboriginal name in the Central Election Committee, when she intended to run for an member of parliament. Instead, before her Romanized name as "Kolas Yokata", she was obliged to put her Chinese name first to meet the so-called stipulations.

"How can the government differentiate and trample down the rights of knowledge belonging to the aboriginal peoples, just to satisfy the fixed reading habits in the Chinese text?", questioned angrily by Yotaka, "I believe, for many people, allowing their names changed into Romanized spelling through two amendment bills may be not a big deal. But, for the aboriginal peoples in Taiwan, getting their real name back in whatsoever spelling, without being restricted in the Chinese character and pronunciation only, should be a respect paid by Taiwan society at least".

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 
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Taiwan Church News

3339 Edition

February 22 - 29, 2016

Church Ministry

 

PCT Envoys Visit WCC HQ To Strengthen Future Cooperation In Ecumenical Ministries

 

Reported by Fang Lan-ting

 

In order to express both PCT's admiration of the missionary vision of "Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace", proposed by World Council of Churches(WCC), and a thanksgiving for the significant participation in PCT 150 of Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of WCC, delivering an encouraging message to the churches of Taiwan, PCT specially sent a team of envoys to visit WCC HQ at Geneva on 2nd February 2016. PCT delegates brought to WCC 50 pieces of the cross, made of Taiwan cypress, symbolizing a goodwill from the churches of Taiwan and expecting a further cooperation with WCC in future ecumenical ministries.

Led by Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong, PCT General Secretary, this PCT envoy team also included Dr. Hsu Victor Wang-chi, PCT Associate General Secretary; Rev. Chen Hsing-lian, Chairman of Changhua Christian Hospital(CCH); Rev. Chen Chin-hua, Director of Chaplain Dept of CCH; Rev. Fang Lan-ting, President of Taiwan Church Press. PCT delegates arrived WCC HQ at 8:45 a.m. on February 2nd. After attending a morning prayer at WCC HQ, they were well received by Rev. Dr. Martin Robra, a WCC co-worker, to have a short tour of WCC HQ and attend a series of meetings later on ecumenical ministries with Rev. Dr. Tveit and his staffs.

In the meeting, Rev. Dr. Tveit shared his ecumenical vision of "Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace" after WCC 10th Assembly at Busan 2013, and reiterated WCC's role as a calling of the Christians to witness in this turbulent world through a journey of peace and justice. To the remarks of Rev. Dr. Tveit, Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong responded that PCT did commit to the values of peace and justice proposed by WCC and pledge to become a peace-maker in her missionary context.

But, Rev. Lyim and all PCT delegates also stressed, facing China government's military threat with thousands of missiles against Taiwan and an on-going persecution to China's local churches by tearing down the crosses, the ecumenical church fellows and international society should concern about these imminent destructive crises.

On the issue of the aboriginal ministry, PCT was highly affirmed by WCC for her long-term involvement and broad experiences with the aboriginal society on Taiwan island. Rev. Dr. Tveit also promised to invite PCT to join a WCC council unit to facilitate an ecumenical effort on the ministry toward the aboriginal peoples around the world.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary, received PCT envoy team, led by Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong, at WCC HQ on 2nd February 2016.

Photo supplied by Rev. Fang Lan-ting

 
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Taiwan Church News

3339 Edition

February 22  - 28, 2016

Headline News

 

Descendants Of Japanese Victims In 228 Massacre Win The Lawsuit Of Compensation

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

In 2013, Mr Aoyama Keisho, an Okinawa native whose father was a victim of 228 massacre, applied a compensation to the Memorial Foundation of 228 but rejected due to the case as not yet qualified from the point of Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior.

Mr Aoyama did not accept the decision and submitted to Executive Yuan an administrative appeal later. On 8th July 2015, this appeal was again rejected by Executive Yuan.

But Mr Aoyama did not give up, he issued another administrative litigation to the court. Finally, on 17th February 2016, Taipei High Administrative Court(THAC) ruled that Mr Aoyama won this case and should be compensated NT$ 6 millions.

Taiwan Association for Human Rights(TAHR), Taiwan Association for Truth and Reconciliation (TATR) and the lawyers of Mr Aoyama all urged the Ministry of the Interior to accept the ruling and stop pressing the Memorial Foundation of 228 to file the lawsuit further.

Giving his deep appreciation to many supports from Taiwan human rights groups and the lawyer teamwork, Mr Aoyama expressed that this extraordinary ruling is an epoch-making triumph for human rights and justice.

The text of THAC ruling pointed out that the defendant, the Memorial Foundation of 228, should not reject the compensation claim by Mr Aoyama, since the missing of Mr Aoyama's father - Mr Aoyama Esaki - had already been confirmed by the Foundation which was legally established as an independent organization beyond any political influence. Therefore, citing the explanation letter of the Ministry of the Interior to reject Mr Aoyama's compensation claim for his missing father in 228 massacre was obviously illegal.

Professor Liao Fu-te, TAHR's board executive and a research fellow of Institutum Jurisprudentiae in Academia Sinica, talked in straight that the 228 victims and their families should not be discriminated in the compensation measures of Taiwan's law. Otherwise, the stance of the Ministry of the Interior on Mr Aoyama's case just showcased Ma administration's ignorance and negligence of International Bill of Human Rights!

Translated by Peter Wolfe

Mr Aoyama Keisho, holding his father's photo (third from right) with many Taiwan human rights activists and lawyers, expresses the ruling of Taipei Administrative High Court on 17th February 2016 to compensate the Japanese victims of 228 massacre was an epoch-making triumph for human rights and justice!

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 
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Taiwan Church News

3338 Edition

February 15  - 21, 2016

Headline News

 

Taiwan Churches Mobilized To Rescue The Collapsed Complex In Tainan Earthquake

 

Reported by Fang Lang-ting, Simon Lin, Chen Yi-hsuan and Chen Yi-fan

 

At 3:57 a.m. on 6th February 2016, a series of powerful earthquakes in Richiter scale with 6.4 moment magnitude occurred in southern Taiwan. The center of the earthquake, though, was located at Mei-nong of Kaohsiung City, the unexpected collapse of Weiguan Jinlong complex, about 25 kilometers north-western away, at Yong-kang district of Tainan City became the most devastated site - costing 115 lives and many more injured. At 2:00 p.m., PCT summoned an emergency meeting and decided to set up a first aid center responsible for organizing various kinds of support for the front-line rescue.

Rev. Lin Wei-lien, secretary of PCT Church and Society Committee, expressed that the first aid center at Yong-kang church was initially designed to be an adoption center for the homeless victims and their families. Because Tainan City government had already set up a more adequate plan to accommodate those affected citizens, this center was later swiftly changed into a hot-food supply kitchen offering meals to those front-line rescue workers.

Led by Rev. Lin Jin-dau, pastor of Yong-kang church, and coordinated by Elder Hu Yueh-mei(Hsie-mei Church) and Elder Jiang Chiu-hsiang(Don-ning Church), this hot-food supply kitchen recruited PCT members from many churches in Tainan Presbytery, like Jen-ho, Yen-han, Kou-pei, Hsin-Seh, Ta-kuan, Ta-wan and Don-ning, to cook the foods and deliver the resources to meet front-line demands. During the rescue operation, Ruen-bei church of Cha-yi presbytery and Hai-po church of Kaohsiung presbytery also kept offering eggs, fruits and chickens for this kitchen.

Following the gradual closing of the rescue and search for the earthquake victims, PCT Church and Society Committee started to organize the counseling team on February 13 and 14 at Yong-kang church in order to comfort those traumatized families of the victims. To pay sincere sympathy and deep condolence for the deceased and their families, PCT also held an across-island commemorative service for the earthquake victims at Tainan Funeral Parlor, Taichung City Park and Taipei 228 Memorial Park respectively on February 14. Rev. Cheng Wen-ren, Moderator of PCT General Assembly, and Rev. Lyim Hong-tiong, PCT General Secretary, both attended the commemorative services at Yong-kang Church and Tainan Funeral Parlor to pay their utmost concerns.

Except the engagement of many churches of Tainan presbytery, many more PCT churches were called to offer the necessary materials, like radio speaker, batteries, masks, gloves, drinking waters and etc, demanded from the collapsed site. In addition, the Chinese Christian Relief Association also set up a rescue center at Tainan Zion Church to help those needed in this catastrophic disaster; World Vision established a relief center at Ta-wan Presbyterian church to deliver resources to the affected citizens; United Church of Christ in Japan(UCCJ) sent their warm concerns for the victims and helped pass the messages of Tainan earthquake to Japanese society. Some Japanese youth even voluntarily came to the site of Tainan earthquake and took part into the rescue operation!

Thanks to internet technology and the real time communication of social media like Facebook or Line, it is noteworthy that PCT has made a very efficient mobilization in this first aid action since 921 big earthquake in 1999, be it in response to demands, management of resources or  assignment of tasks. Such efficient mobilization to help relieve the suffering of our neighbors is not only an important power in the church but also an very effective witness to our Christian faith as a great support to Taiwan society.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

The collapsed site of Weiguang Jinlong complex at Yong-kang, Tainan.

PCT offered free shower for the victims' families and rescue workers at site.

PCT youth were busy at dealing the flood-in resources in a local temple.
Voluntary PCT members worked in hot-food supply kitchen.
Traumatized families of the earthquake victims were prayed by the members from PCT and Chinese Christian Relief Association.
The injured citizen was visited by Tainan City mayor, Mr William Lai, at Sin-lau Christian Hospital.
Messages of task demands responded instantly in the social media network of PCT.
Photos by  Fang Lang-ting, Simon Lin, Chen Yi-hsuan and Chen Yi-fan
 
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Taiwan Church News

3338 Edition

February 15 - 21, 2016

Church Ministry

 

Chan-San Urban Aboriginal Church Carries On Proclaiming The Gospel By Establishing A Cleaning Service Company

 

According to the 2011 statistics of Ministry of the Interior, though the population of the urban original had reached 240 thousands people, which was already over one second of the total aboriginal population, the long-term structural problems such as low employment and meager wages still awaits a proper solution from the church or even the government.

Rev. Chen Jien-liang, pastor of Chang-san Presbyterian Church in Changhua Presbytery, recollected his mostly asked question, "Dear Evangelist! Since you say God loves me, why I do not have any job!", when he was just graduated from the theological seminary and assigned to serve Chang-san church 20 years ago. As Chen was deeply sympathetic to his church fellows, who were poor and seldom employed then, he launched a cleaning service company to improve the economics of his church members.

And now, after 20 years of church ministry, this special missio dei cooperating with cleaning service not only becomes an important instrument helping more aboriginal churches free from poverty, but also restore their capability to share the resources more efficiently and cherish their own cultural values more consciously.

Church members of Chang-san church spans across different aboriginal peoples, like Amis, Rukai and Pai-wan etc. Twenty years ago, when these poor aboriginal believers came down to urban area to find a living at Changhua county, they were trapped into an incredible loan interest after the Chang-san church was built up. Loan interest up to NT$ 200,000 per month had to be paid then.

As the aboriginal members of Chang-san church then were either unemployed or being hired temporarily, some even lived in an adapted hog pen, Chen decided to organize church members and offer cleaning services in order to solve the urgent problem of poverty. Chen thought that a healthy growth of the church requires a steady income of the church members, so he as a leader in faith and works was responsible to find jobs for his church members.

Following the expansion of the business of cleaning service, the "Chang-san Environmental Protection & Cleaning Service Limited Company" was set up in 1988 in order to comply with the business law and issue the commercial receipt to the customers. Chang-san company's professional service in cleaning is also affirmed by Changhua Christian Hospital to manage most of her in-hospital cleaning tasks.

According to different spiritual demands of the aboriginal church members, Chang-san church divides their church ministry into three major parts: mission, education and economics. The management of cleaning service company is committed to the management board, which is counseled by Rev. Chen, stressing a spirit of independence and self-sustain. As to Rev. Chen, now he helps to solve the economic or legal problems of the aboriginal families and train the tribe people to build up a correct idea about savings.

At present, this Chang-san cleaning service company has over 400 employees. Not only the aboriginal people are employed, but also many of the disabled are taken care of. Elder Ku Li-chu expresses that now the customers includes Changhua Christian Hospital, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Nantou Christian Hospital, Yuan-seng Hospital and etc. The story of Chang-san church proves that the combination of mission with the development of industry could be the best opportunity for the urban aboriginal church who are short of resources.

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Cleaning staff member of Chang-san Environmental Protection & Cleaning Service Company is under preparation to work.

Photo by Chang-san Environmental Protection & Cleaning Service Company

 


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