A letter from… Taiwan
Victor Hsu reports on the struggle for justice in Taiwan
Recently, waiting staff in two different Australian restaurants were fired after they identified their nationality to employers. In the Winter Olympic Games, this country was not allowed to display its own name. Despite having over 23 million people, a democratically elected president, and a national assembly, this country is not a member of the United Nations, nor are its citizens allowed to visit the UN headquarters as tourists. On any given Sunday, 18 languages – including 12 Austronesian languages – are used to worship God in the local churches across this island. Yes, this country is my country, and it is called Taiwan.
Why are these glaring injustices happening? Momentous developments in the political landscape have occurred in Taiwan. In January 2016, Taiwan elected its first female president, Tsai Ing-wen. Her Democratic Progressive Party won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly, creating for the first time since 1949 a truly democratic government in Taiwan. The election of the Tsai government caused China to throw its weight around the international community because President Tsai’s party has in its charter a commitment to establish an independent Taiwan. China does not tolerate such a ‘secession’ because it views Taiwan as an integral part of China.
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) played a very important role in bringing about hard-won democratisation in Taiwan. During the dark days of martial law, the PCT suffered severe repression. We were not allowed to participate in the World Council of Churches. We could not use our own Bibles and hymnals published in Taiwanese mother tongues. When our pastors and church members participated in peaceful demonstrations, some were arbitrarily jailed while others became victims of extrajudicial measures…
Professor Victor Hsu served the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) as an Associate General Secretary until June 2017. He now serves as an advisor to the PCT’s General Secretary
This is an extract from an article that was published in the April 2018 edition of Reform