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Living Together in Peace and the Tai Ji Men Case

from Bitter Winter - A magazine on religious liberty and human rights

On U.N. International Day of Living Together in Peace, scholars and human rights activists called for acknowledging injustice and restoring justice for Tai Ji Men.

by Daniela Bovolenta

The poster of the webinar.The poster of the webinar.

On May 16, 2023, United Nations International Day of Living Together in Peace, CESNUR and the Brussels-based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers co-organized one of their bi-monthly webinars about the Tai Ji Men case, under the title “Will Tai Ji Men Finally Be Allowed to Live Together in Peace?”

Karolina Maria Hess, a researcher at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, introduced the webinar and a video on the history of the International Day of Living Together in Peace. It was included among the U.N. international days of observance in 2017, the video explained, but the original initiative came from Sheikh Khaled Bentounès, the head of the Algerian branch of the Muslim Sufi brotherhood Alawiya.


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16 May - International Day of Living Together in Peace

Webinar - Will Tai Ji Men Finally Be Allowed to Live in Peace?

On 16 May 2023, CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers co-organized a webinar about the Tai Ji Men case, under the title “Will Tai Ji Men Finally Be Allowed to Live Together in Peace?”

Soteria International, represented by Camelia Marin, contributed by expressing the concern about the Tai Ji Men case and the endless bureaucracy that is affecting the spiritual community:

United Nations Declaration refferes to International Day of Living Together in Peace as "Working together with religious leaders to promote tolerance and understanding among human beings"

For a spiritual community to live in peace means that all its environment, social and political.

The community is created by individuals. Many factors are influential in the formation of the individual personality. Families and media, as well as cultural and religious communities themselves, should support the development of open-minded individuals, capable of critical thinking and of constructive dialogue with others.

Education is combating ignorance, breaking down stereotypes, building trust and mutual respect and promoting sincere support for the shared values of living together.

For this, institutions of the states develop projects in collaboration with religious communities to promote shared values and “living together”.

In Taiwan, we can see among others, the example of Tai Ji Men spiritual community and their participation to national and international events, calling for Love, Peace, Conscience, helping people unite in the hearts and encouraging the search for their inner peace and harmony.

Still, we can notice situations when national or international institutions obscure the responsibilities of government for upholding human rights, and create obstacles to calling human rights-violating states to account.

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UN - Zero Discrimination Day

On Zero Discrimination Day, scholars, human rights activists, and Tai Ji Men dizi discussed discrimination problems in Taiwan and internationally.


On March 1, 2023, United Nations Zero Discrimination Day, CESNUR and the Brussels-based NGO Human Rights Without Frontiers organized one of their bi-monthly webinars, with the title “Zero Discrimination for Tai Ji Men.”

Willy Fautré, co-founder and director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, mentioned the international treaties calling for the elimination of all discriminations. These treaties, he said, unfortunately did not prevent discriminations to continue, even in democratic countries, particularly in the field of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB). In several European countries, minority groups and the more so those stigmatized as “cults,” are discriminated from the legal and tax points of view. The same, Fautré noted, has happened in Taiwan with Tai Ji Men.

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The Universality of Human Rights and the Tai Ji Men Case


Those who claim that human rights are not universal usually are those who do not respect them.

by Massimo Introvigne

*Conclusions of the webinar “Tai Ji Men: Fighting for Human Rights,” co-organized by CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers on December 10, 2022, Human Rights Day.

Human rights: police confront protesters in Iran. Photo by Ebrahim Noroozi, Farsnews. Credits.Photo - Police confront protesters in Iran. Photo by Ebrahim Noroozi, Farsnews. Credits.

This year, Human Rights Day is celebrated right in the middle of some of the most heated discussions on human rights in recent years. On August 31, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report accusing China of gross human right violations and what it called “crimes against humanity” in Xinjiang.

Several European countries have asked for an international tribunal that would judge the Russian war crimes in Ukraine, similar to the Nuremberg tribunal that judged Nazi leaders after World War II. The World Cup of soccer is now taking place in Qatar, and several Western teams have tried to use the tournament as an opportunity to publicly protest the violations of human rights in Qatar and other countries with an Islamic majority, including Iran.

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New paradigm of solving conflicts - raising from the mind, in the heart. Love, Peace, Conscience.

By Camelia Marin

See whole webinar here

On the Human Rights Day, in order to fulfil our purpose which is to see the human rights respected all over the world and the human kind being genuinely humane, I would like to start with the necessity of unifying minds and hearts – which is the key element to be taken into consideration both for the individual spiritual evolution and for the social evolution seen from a holistic perspective.

As we can see, Tai Ji Men practice encourages all of us to experience states like love, peace and conscience, which, in their view, should be there in order to become a harmonious society and to raise our level of consciousness.

In one way or another, we need to shift from the old paradigm of solving conflicts – which didn’t take into consideration the already existing state of unity, created by both sides of the conflict being on the same level, of the mind, and which, thus, was in itself a seed of conflict – to a new paradigm, of surpassing the level where conflicts appear, by engaging the hearts in this process.

Validated nowadays by the newest discoveries of science, this new paradigm of conflict management is based on the concept of Concordia or coherence of the hearts.

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Human Rights Day - 10 December 2022

Tai Ji Men Case - Fighting for Human Rights

In 1950, the United Nations declared 10th December a day to celebrate human dignity, equality and respect, a day to remind governments and politicians that the paramount emphasis of all their actions should be the human dimension.

On the Human Rights Day this year, Soteria International will participate to the webinar organized by CESNUR and HRWF to further the scope of the human rights’ discussions and to bring perspectives from various spiritual traditions.

Tai Ji Men case shows us that violations of human rights or better said spiritual human rights are still happening.

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Teachers Are Necessary, Spiritual Teachers Are Essential

by Marco Respinti

Several modern ideologies have tried to undermine the role of the teachers. The Tai Ji Men case is one of their poisonous fruits.

by Marco Respinti*

*Introduction to the hybrid webinar “Persecuting Spiritual Teachers: The Tai Ji Men Case,” co-organized by CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers on October 8, 2022, after the World Teachers’ Day (October 5).

Photo: Teachers of the famous medical school of Salerno in a medieval illuminated manuscript. Credits.

Teachers of the famous medical school of Salerno in a medieval illuminated manuscript. The World Teachers’ Day is an annual day of observance established in 1994 by two United Nations agencies, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to commemorate the signing of the 1966 Recommendation, Concerning the Status of Teachers. That Recommendation relates to a variety of subjects, ranging from working conditions to the continuing education of teachers.

Let me then briefly underline the crucial importance of teachers for a virtuous society. In fact, no one should under-evaluate it.

Teachers are key elements in the transmission of values that sustain a community. In fact, teaching and schooling mean not only communicating a set of notion but offering a particular aid to the general educational task needed in any human community, working with families in a subsidiary way. In this regard, teachers work side by side, at least implicitly, with families, and should never contrast them in their guiding principles. As families are the fundamental and foundational cells of a society, teachers working with families help families to implement their vocation.


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In Defense of the Gurus: Why Spiritual Masters Are Persecuted

by Massimo Introvigne

“Guru” has become a derogatory word in a world that does not understand what a spiritual master is, as the Tai Ji Men case demonstrates.

by Massimo Introvigne*

*Conclusions of the hybrid seminar “Persecuting Spiritual Masters: The Tai Ji Men Case,” co-organized by CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers in Walnut, California, on October 8, 2022, after the World Teacher’s Day

For reasons I and other scholars have discussed elsewhere, France has a particularly aggressive and government-sponsored system to fight against “cults,” called in French “sectes.” One of its most bizarre features is the use of the word “guru” as if it was a synonym of a criminal religious leader brainwashing and exploiting his or her followers for money, sex, and power. This use is now common in French-language media but is, if you would pardon my French, idiotic.

Not only is “guru” used outside the original context of spiritual masters in the tradition of the Indian religions, but the meaning of the word is totally misunderstood. “Guru” is a word used in the Indian tradition to indicate the best of all human beings. It is an ancient Sanskrit term with a variety of etymologies, which are complementary rather than alternative. A “guru” is first of all a “dispeller of ignorance,” as “gu” means “ignorance” and “ru” means “one who dispels.” A guru is one who has received a special call from the divine and calls others to enlightenment, from the Sanskrit root “giri,” “one who calls.” “Guru” also means one who “has weight,” figuratively but also physically: hence the representations of the Buddha as a fat man and the popular Indian legend that a guru on a scale has a weight much higher than an ordinary man or woman with similar features.

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Spiritual teacher’s persecution - Tai JI Men

A similar example – yoga teacher Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru

By Camelia Marin, Soteria International

The subject - Persecuting spiritual teachers - is in the same time unbelievable to happen nowadays but, unfortunately very real.

I will start by just pointing out The ongoing case of Tai Ji Men and its leader Dr. Hong Tao-Tze is one of such terrible example of persecution.

With no reason and no proves Dr Hong was unjustly kept in a detention center for 159 days by the Prosecutor Hou Kuan-Jen.

Prosecutor Hou and those who persecuted Tai Ji Men, were politically motivated, but they also wanted to destroy a spiritual community based on moral rules and guided by healthy principles. They did not succeed and Dr. Hong after his release came back to teach his disciples, dizi.

Following his path, Dr Hong continues to successfully teach about conscience, peace, love, and self-cultivation to this very day. However, he and Tai Ji Men continued to be harassed in Taiwan in several ways, particularly through ill-founded tax bills.

I will bring one more example, which shows several similarities - the case of yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru and MISA yoga school.

During time, since the communist regime in Romania till nowadays, in persecuting the yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru, Romanian authorities skilfully falsified facts, documents, for changing and then “disguising” all political persecutions into common crimes.

See the videorecording of the whole webinar here


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Anti-sect movements and witch-hunt against Academia de Yoga – Ananda (Uruguay)

Another fabricated case against yoga schools

It all started in August 2015 when the members of RIES – anti cult organization from Spain, present in Uruguay and constituted in the Infosectas association (members Alvaro Farias and Miguel Pastorino) initiated an extensive defamation action in the local and international press against the yoga school Ananda in Uruguay and the yoga instructor Octav F.

At that time the yoga school had very successful classes at the State University of Uruguay with more than 3000 students. The reason for the defamation was the connection of the yoga school in Uruguay with the yoga school MISA in Romania, which the so-called cult experts from RIES and Infosectas consider a sect.

Similar to the cases mentioned by Susan Palmer in her book "Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities", in August 2018, a team of 15 people from the General Directorate for the Fight against Organized Crime and Interpol from the Ministry of the Interior of Uruguay came to headquarters of the Ananda Yoga Academy in Montevideo where Octav F.'s home was, showing a Search Warrant and an Arrest Warrant for Octav F. on the grounds of sexual offenses and domestic violence.

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