CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy and HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers, Brussels, Belgium, 2020
Authors: Massimo Introvigne, Willy Fautré, Rosita Šorytė, Alessandro Amicarelli and Marco Respinti
A WHITE PAPER
This White Paper is about a tax case in Taiwan, which has important international implications. It is an egregious example of how tax laws are used, or rather misused, against spiritual groups some politicians or governmental bureaucrats do not approve of, for whatever reason.
CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions, Torino, Italy
and HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers organize on the Human Rights Day the webinar about the Tai Ji Men Tax Case in Taiwan.
Massimo Introvigne, Willy Fautré, Rosita Šorytė, Alessandro Amicarelli, Marco Respinti and Camelia Marin will present and discusse about the respect of human rights on the mentioned case.
You are invited to join, no registration needed:
Meeting ID: 841 4547 5018
H.E. Dr. Tsai Ing-wen
President of the Republic of China
Office of the President
No. 122 Sec.1. Chongqing S. Rd.
Zhongzheng District, Taipei City
10048 Taiwan, ROC
Hon. Premier Su Tseng-chang
No. 1, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.,
Taipei City 100009, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Honorable Chen Chu
President, Control Yuan
No. 2, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd.
Taipei City, 100216, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
September 16, 2020
Dear President Tsai:
Dear Premier Su:
Dear President Chen:
On July 24, we wrote to President Tsai, expressing our concern for the case of Tai Ji Men. In short, Tai Ji Men is a Taiwan-based spiritual school teaching qigong, with roots in esoteric Taoism, and with a global outreach through its cultural activities. In 1996, Tai Ji Men was among the victims of an ill-fated crackdown on new religious movements, which was started in Taiwan largely for political reasons. The indicted Tai Ji Men leader, Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, the founder and master of the spiritual school, and members were later fully exonerated from all criminal charges.
by Massimo Introvigne
On July 17, 2020, the USCIRF, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, unveiled a new document, whose title is “The Anti-cult Movement and Religious Regulation in Russia and the Former Soviet Union.” The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Its Commissioners are appointed by the President and by Congressional leaders of both political parties.
The title may indicate that the document does not concern China, and in fact its main focus is Russia. However, there are three important connections between the new USCIRF report and China.
Dear Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha:
We represent NGOs and academic research centers specialized in the defense of freedom of religion and belief. We write to you as we are aware of your distinguished career at the United Nations, and appreciate your attention to human rights.
We have followed with great concern the problems in South Korea of a new religious movement known as Shincheonji. Some of us have studied Shincheonji for years, and some have produced academic studies about it. We are aware that Shincheonji is regarded by conservative Christians as “heretic,” and that they resent its success, which happened mostly at their expenses, and its active proselytization methods.
A webinar organized by the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)
Date/Time: Monday, July 20, 2020, 17:00 (UTC +2, Brussels time)
The fact that one member of Shincheonji, a Christian new religious movement in South Korea, was not timely diagnosed with COVID-19, attended church services, and set in motion a chain of events where thousands of her church’s members were infected, led to the government’s requests for lists of all members of the group and massive testing.
While it is possible that mistakes were made by Shincheonji, health and police authorities acknowledged that the movement submitted substantially accurate lists of its members, and tried to cooperate as it could. Shincheonji, however, is at the receiving end of an aggressive hostility by conservative Christians, who have tried for decades to have the movement, which has been very successful in converting Protestants, banned in South Korea.
At the 4th Conference of the Baltic Alliance of Asian Studies was devoted a session to Shincheonji.
In view of the interest, you can find the video recording following the link of CESNUR website:
H.E. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner of Human Rights
H.E. Ambassador Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
Dear President Bachelet:
Dear Ambassador Brownback:
We represent international NGOs specialized in the defense of religious liberty. We are deeply concerned with a growing number of instances of intolerance and discrimination against Shincheonji, a South Korean new religious movement, after a number of its members were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Shincheonji is a South Korean Christian new religious movement, founded by a Korean preacher called Lee Man Hee. Chairman Lee, as its members call him, is not regarded as God nor as the second coming of Jesus, but as the promised pastor who will lead humanity into the kingdom of peace that many Christians call the Millennium. Shincheonji has experienced a rapid growth in the last decades, and now has more than 200,000 members.
Arch-conservative and fundamentalist Protestantism, marginal in other countries, is the largest segment of Protestant Christianity in South Korea and a powerful voting bloc. It has promoted virulent campaigns against minorities it has labeled as “cults,” as well as against Roman Catholics, homosexuals, and Muslim immigrants and refugees. Shincheonji has been particularly targeted, for the good reason that its growth has largely happened by converting members of conservative and fundamentalist Protestant churches.
Soteria International hosted on 11 December 2019 a new conference on the series “Spiritual Human Rights”, with the topic: “Base and Debasement of Human Rights - Rights, Obligations and Society”.
The conference brought together important keynote speakers, experts in the human rights field, sociologists and politicians:
After important contributions presented by the speakers, the debate went smoothly towards the fundament of human rights and their integration in institutional and social system.
Invitation for scientific researchers, activists and practitioners within the trans-disciplinary field of human rights and spirituality!
11 December 2019, between 10.00 - 13.00 - webinar or our venue in Copenhagen.
For the twelves consecutive year Soteria International welcomes participants to a visionary conference on the emerging field of Spiritual Human Rights.
This year’s event presents key note presentations and Q&A sessions addressing the Base and Debasement of Human Rights - Rights, Obligations and Society.
The right to a good healthcare or education and freedom of though, conscience and belief are all important rights in our society, but not in the same way. The first should be secured politically, the other fundamentally as unalienable human right.
Are our human rights currently debased by a strong influx of social and economic rights into the discussions on human rights? If health, education and gender issues are to be secured by court and not by politics, do we not risk a more totalitarian perspective on governance and simultaneously a debasement of the fundamental natural rights?
When making social and financial issues human rights, do we risk that the lives of many are disproportionately restricted by the few. We are given universal human rights, but what about universal human obligations?