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Taiwan Church News

3301 Edition

June 1 - 7, 2015

Church Ministry

 

Former RCA Employees Are Urged To File Group Lawsuits Before June 19

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

The lawsuit of RCA's victim employers v. RCA is the largest ever occupational injury in Taiwan history. This industrial pollution disaster happened between the time interval, from 1970 to 1992, when Taiwan plants of Radio Corporation of America(RCA) irresponsibly dumped into lands and deep water-holes 31 kinds of organic solutes and waste of tin-welted ingredients, including trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethene and dichloromethane. RCA, therefore, resulted a serious pollution of the land and deep water-holes in Taoyuan area and caused thousands of her former employees caught of cancers.

 

RCA's victim employees filed RCA and related companies for compensating NT$ 2.7 billions in total, but only won the first trial in April at Taipei District Court who just approved a compensation of NT$ 560 millions. Though the justice of RCA case finally comes in first trial, yet a little too late for some deceased employees, the apparently insignificant amount of compensation shows there is still a long way to fight in this legal battle.

 

Mr Lin Yong-song, the representative lawyer of RCA victim employees' lawyers team estimated that the valid date of applying RCA compensation might be due in the July 10 of 2015, because the professional experts had defined what is the occupation injury in court on July 10 2013, and the civil code also stipulated that "the right of applying [occupational injury] compensation should be eliminated, if the applicant who knew the existence of such injury and the identity of the responsible person to compensate has not exercised any of his rights for two years".

 

Therefore, Lawyer Lin, also a representative of Legal Aid Foundation, held a press conference with Ministry of Labor on May 26, urging the 37,000 former employees of RCA to stand out and file the group lawsuit against RCA and the related companies (GE included) before the deadline of June 19, no matter how the current status of their health situation are.

 

The following hotline phone-call, (03) 3369885 or (03)3367791, supplied by Ministry of Labor, could be used to reach legal assistance and file the group lawsuits. For more information about the cancer screenings provided by Ministry of Labor, the related RCA former employees could visit website of www.ilosh.gov.tw or call (02)2652-7695 before the end of August.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Lawyer Lin Yong-song(left speaking), representative of Legal Aid Foundation, urged 37,000 former RCA employees to stand out and file the group lawsuit against RCA and related companies(GE included) before June 19 in a press conference jointly held with Ministry of Labor n May 26, 2015.

 

Photo by Legal Aid Foundation

 
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Taiwan Church News

3301 Edition

June 1 - 7, 2015

Headline News

 

Rev. Hugh Ritchie's Junk Carried Love Of Christ To Eastern Taiwan

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

An commemorative exhibition of Rev. Hugh Ritchie's junk mission to eastern Taiwan and a charity watercolors painting about Orchid Island was held at Taitung Branch of Mackay Memorial Hospital(MMHTB) on June 1. This artifact of junk, manufactured by aboriginal wood-sculpture artists, was to remember the brave adventure of the missionary voyage by Rev. Hugh Ritchie launching from Kaohsiung via the sea route to Pei-nan harbor at eastern Taiwan in 1875.

 

Together with the junk exhibition, the charity watercolor paintings about the landscape of Orchid Island were also displayed at the Li-Yu-San Gallery located inside MMHTB. This exhibit of watercolors paintings, drawn by the prodigiously talented Rev. Pan Shi-chi, was to remind the public about the blessing and wonderful steps left by the our forebear pioneering missionaries in order to call attention to care about the need of Orchid Island.

 

Dr. Wang Kon-liang, Superintendant of MMHTB, expressed that many people were quite familiar about the remarkable stories of Dr. Rev. George Laidlaw Mackay, but not many had a clear idea about the contributions of Rev. Hugh Ritchie. "It is because of him[Rev. Hugh Ritchie] that the gospel truth could be brought to the eastern Taiwan,"  said Wang, "this simulated junk is to remember the fearless journey of this brave missionary and encourage the next generations of Taiwan to carry on and explore more possibilities!".

 

Mr Kao Chung-yun, Deputy Director of Social Affairs Bureau of Taitung County Government, praised the extraordinary vision Rev. Hugh Ritchie 140 years ago. Had not the suffering of the Taitung people been heard and responded then, the convenient and efficient medi-care offered by MMMTB today would still be a lofty dream, said Kao.

 

Rev. Liu Ping-shi, Vice Moderator of PCT Eastern Presbytery, paid his tribute to the missionary Rev. David Masson, whose boat was unfortunately sank in the South China sea on his voyage to Taiwan, when the finished junk artifact came into his eyes. He reminded the audience that we should always remember those brave missionaries risking their lives and share the good news given to us with our people.

 

Rev. Pan Shi-chi, the hospital chaplain of MMHTB, pointed out that the specs of this imitated junk, made by Esteemed Wood Artefact Workshop, was 280 cm long x 90 cm wide. Inside junk, the wood material is made of cunninghama lancedata; the layer outside of it was finished via gluing different planks of lauan material. The junk, equipped with enough storage space, could carry 2 people to launch a real voyage on the sea.

 

Rev. Pan also explained the reason, why this canoe-like vessel named as "Junk Boat", was to remember the historically missionary voyage Rev. Ritchie and his four other accompanies spent 15 days launched from Kaohsiung, through Tang-kan, Fon-san, and ultimately arrived Pei-nan harbor in 1875. "This Junk Boat will be placed at Rev. Hugh Ritchie Memorial Service Hall, located at the 9th floor of MMHTB, for everlasting remembrance!", said Rev. Pan.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3300 Edition

May 25 - 31, 2015

Editorial

 

 

Let Fairtrade Become An Evangelical Channel

 

 

Following the harvest season of peach, the staffs of Product Development Department of Tayal Presbytery will officially start their annual promotion of peach-sale among PCT hospitals. You can see them working hard in Mackay Memorial Hospital, Changhua Christian Hospital or even in Sinlau Christian Hospital in the near future. Instructed by the PCT Aboriginal Mission Committee, the Product Development Department was established seven years ago in Tayal Presbytery with the purpose to protect the farmers from exploitation through building a marketing channel inside of church community. Also, intending to protect the peach farmers from being exploited by the intermediary wholesalers, Taoyuan City Government especially promotes the peach product in a new brand name: "Ma Ma Peach"(ie Mother Peach) with measures to integrate sale and price, help find marketing channels to ensure farmers' benefits and help negotiate a good price for the farmers.

 

 

In fact, "Ma Ma Peach" is the tropical peach harvested abundantly in May, so the farmers also call them "May Peach". As the timing of harvest is around the Mother Day, plus that many of the farmers are either single-mother or mothers aged over 60-year-old, these peach products are therefore specially named "Ma Ma Peach"(meaning mother peach). Such farmer-friendly policy, originating from church community and then influencing local governments to follow suit, is just the concept of "Fairtrade" materialized to give the due rewards to the hard-working farmers.

 

 

In his very beginning of his mission, Jesus proclaimed:"The Spirit of Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."(Luke 4:18-19). In contemporary age, dominated by the capitalism, the exploitation of the marginalized is not least held in common. The church has to start thinking again about "how to bring good news to the poor" in order to "let the oppressed go free!". Except the traditional social welfare and charity, maybe fairtrade a channel worthy to try and promote.

 

 

As a matter of fact, the first commercial trial of fairtrade products in European and American countries, initiated by Christian religious institutes and non-governmental organizations(NGOs) in 1940s, was forging the fairtrade's supply chain of the products like artifacts, jute and cross-stitch in the developing countries. As the time passed by, the product range of the fairtrade concept enlarged to cover coffee and agricultural products.


 

In modern times, The Fairtrade Foundation of Great Britain even united with over 7,500 churches to form a "Fairtrade Church", incarnating the principles of trade justice of daily consumption into worship, assembly, scripture-reading and prayer. Such fairtrade actions in faith not only facilitated the public's understanding of the core values of fairtrade, but also alleviated the poverty problems brought by an imbalanced economic system.

 

 

Based on a mutually respected trading-partnership, fairtrade promotes a developing model with the vision of ever-lasting and morality in order to ensure: a fair reward to the manufacturers or growers; a deserved right to the labours; the protection of the environment; a channel to fight against poverty and exploit for the consumers. Taiwan, as a country famous for her energetic ideas and enthusiastic services, the Christian community here might consider promoting the idea of faitrade as the best ever channel to bring the good news to the poor.


 
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Taiwan Churc News

3300 Edition

May 25 - 31, 2015

Church Ministry

 

Former NRC Chairman: The Idea Of Nuclear Power Plant Is A Bad Design

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

Invited by Japan-Taiwan No Nuke Study Association, Mr Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission(U.S. NRC), delivered a press brief to Taiwan media in the afternoon on May 21. He criticises the saying, that a disaster-free nuclear power plant could be designed under an exact scientific technology, is absolutely not true as every historical nuclear accident happened was always due to the breach of original safety design.

 

Jaczko had been assigned as the US representative to understand the causes and consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred in March 2011. Afterwards he changed his stance on supporting nuclear power as a safe energy and quit from U.S. NRC in 2012.

 

Jaczko expressed that there is no country in the world could solve the problems of nuclear waste. Even the most nuclear-advanced country, like U.S., nuclear waste can not be resolved once for all, but temporarily contained in a state of dry storage.

 

Jaczko said, after his investigation of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, he found the belief that nuclear disaster could be absolutely controlled by science is an irresponsible arrogance and the idea of nuclear power plant is a bad design!

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Explaining why the idea of nuclear power plant is a bad design, Mr Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), met Taiwan media on May 21, 2015.

 

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 
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Taiwan Church News

3300 Edition

May 25 - 31, 2015

Church Ministry

 

Chan I-hua, Pro-Democracy And Taiwan Independence Activist Is Remembered

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

In the afternoon on May 19, a commemorative ceremony was held for Mr Chan I-hua, who was respected as one of Taiwan's nation-founding martyr after his public self-immolation 26 years ago in a 1989 funeral parade for the outspoken journalist Mr Cheng Nan-jung who was defiantly self-immolated during a police raid in order to protest the authority's cramp down of his press freedom to publish a constitutional draft of the Republic of Taiwan.

 

Many citizens and civil groups, including the General Assembly for Farmers' Rights, Nation-Founding Martyr Chan I-hua Memorial Foundation and etc, queued with flowers before the bronz statue of Chan I-hua to pay their respect.

 

Mr. Su Beng, famous writer of Taiwan's 400 years history and an Taiwan Independence activist, led the crowd to chant: "Love Live! A-hua!". "The Taiwanese people has to unite in the solidarity", said Su Beng, "as an independent Taiwan could only be fulfilled in the solidarity of the people. We can not just fight for our bellies, the future of Taiwan deserves a more serious thought and fight!".

 

A musical and commemorative service ceremony was held, prelude by a song - "The Marine State", sung by Chen Min-chan, who was a renown musician with devour social-politically consciousness.

 

Rev. Wang Lien-su, Moderator of PCT Chiayi presbytery, delivered his sermon themed on love quoting John 3:16 as his core message. "Because God loved us first, then we could love Taiwan this mother land", pointed out Rev. Wang, "Chan I-hua sacrificed for Taiwan as he loved this land so much, his spirit deserves our commemoration and imitation." Many pastors from Chiayi presbytery came to attend this ceremony; Rev. Hwang Chu-en and Rev. Song Hsin-sie of the Church and Society Committee of Tainan Presbytery also attended.

 

Twu Shiing-jer, Mayor of Chiayi City, remarked that if Taiwan wanted to become a new and independent country then the Taiwanese people should learn the sacrificial spirit of Chan I-hua.

 

Chan Chan-kun, father of Chan I-hua, also attended this memorial service in a low-key manner without walking up the stage.

 

Dai Jeng-yao, Chairman of Chan I-hua Memorial Foundation, expressed his appreciation for the continuous commemoration of Chan in the past 26 years. Especially, he paid tribute to the long term engagement of PCT to care and concern about Taiwan's democracy and social reform like recruitment and training of Urban Rural Movement (URM) movement and etc.

 

In the end of the memorial service, accompanied by the beautiful saxophone musics by Chen Jin-sen, a long term Taiwan Independence inclined musician, the crowd took flowers to pay their tribute before the bronze statue of Chan I-hua located in Teh-gia Hydro-Fraternity Park.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

People queued to remember and pay respect to what Chan I-hua had sacrificed for Taiwan 26 years ago, at Teh-gia Hydro-Fraternity Park in Chiayi City on May 19, 2015.

 

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

 
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Taiwan Church News

3300 Edition

May 25 - 31, 2015

Church Ministry

 

WHO For Taiwan Campaign Group Arrives Geneva To Bid Membership

 

Reported by Lin Yi-yin

 

A campaign group for Taiwan's attendance in World Health Organization(WHO), led by former Defense Minster Tsai Ming-hsien and composed of members from the civil group of Taiwan UN Alliance, arrived at Geneva on May 17. They went to visit World Health Assembly (WHA) on May 18 and expressed the will and voices of the Taiwanese people to become an official member-state of WHO.

 

After the campaign for membership-application into WHO, this civil group turned to visit the Geneva-based headquarter of World Council of Churches (WCC). This campaign group was received by the General Secretary of WCC, Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, who expressed after the meeting that he fully understood and supported the determination and effort of the Taiwanese people to pursue the status of recognition and membership in WHO or UN.

 

Because the vision of WCC is toward peace and justice: working to eliminate all inequalities and discriminations in ethnic, sexual, cultural, social, economics and political dimension, pursuing the universal rights of democracy, freedom and human rights and endeavoring on the movements of no-nukes, environmental protection and etc, said Rev. Tveit.

 

As Rev. Tveit had visited Taiwan recently in early April attending PCT's 150th anniversary of mission in Taiwan, he offered his book - Christian Solidarity in the Cross of Christ - to this WHO for Taiwan campaign group in order to express his appreciation of his warm reception during stay in Taiwan.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Mr. Tsai Ming-hsien(left), former Taiwan's Defense Minister and leader of the campaign group of WHO for Taiwan, visited the Geneva-based World Council of Churches and exchanged gift with Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit(right), General Secretary of WCC, on May 18, 2015.

 

Photo by Tsai Yu-ming

 


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