Taiwan

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Taiwan
Location of Taiwan
View of the National Office from outside
National Office Taipei, Taiwan
National Assembly Taiwan
Statistics:
Number of Bahá'ís
 -  Outside source 16,000 
Local Assemblies 13
History:
Firsts
 -  Bahá'í to visit Husayn Ouskouli[1] 
 -  Pioneers Mr. Suleiman A.
Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani 
 -  Local Assembly 1956, Tainan 
 -  National Assembly 1967 
How to contact:
 -  Phone 886-2-27070347
886-2-27070392 
 -  Fax 886-2-2704 - 2515 
 -  Email secretariat [at] bahai.org.tw 
 -  Address 3F, #149-13, Sec. 1
Shin Shen South Road
Taipei, Taiwan 
Official Website http://www.bahai.org.tw/

The Bahá’í Faith in Taiwan, 巴哈伊教, began after the religion entered areas of China[2] and nearby Japan.[3] The first Bahá’ís arrived in Taiwan in 1949[4] and the first of these to have become a Bahá’í was Mr. Jerome Chu (Chu Yao-lung) in 1945 while visiting the United States. By May 1955 there were eighteen Bahá’ís in six localities across Taiwan. The first Local Spiritual Assembly in Taiwan was elected in Tainan in 1956. The National Spiritual Assembly was first elected in 1967 when there were local assemblies in Taipei, Tainan, Hualien, and Pingtung. Circa 2006 the Bahá’ís showed up in the national census with 16,000 members and 13 assemblies.[5]

Early days[edit]

Far East[edit]

The Bahá’í Faith entered the region of the Far East, in Hong Kong, in the 1870's, during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh.[2] While the religion continued to enter other nearby regions to Taiwan — Bahá’ís being in Shanghai in 1902,[6] Japan in 1912,[3] Canton in 1949,[6] and Macau in 1953,[7] there was no Bahá’í contact with the island until 1949. Between 1895 and 1945, until ending with World War II, Taiwan was under Japanese rule[8] and then there was the period of the Chinese Civil War.

Beginning in Taiwan[edit]

Four Bahá’ís arrived in Taiwan in 1949 as part of the wave of refugees of Chiang Kai-Shek's retreat from the mainland: Jerone Chu, Yan Hsu-chang, Chien Tien-lee, and Gellan Wang. The first Bahá’í in Taiwan[4] was Mr. Jerome Chu (Chu Yao-lung), a newspaper man, who had become a Bahá’í in Washington D.C. in 1945. Chu arrived in Taiwan after a stay in Nanking where an associate, Yuan Hsu-chang, had accepted the religion and also came to Taiwan. Major Chien Tien-lee (Lee L.T. Chang) had had a Bahá’í marriage ceremony in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. and came to Taiwan after a stay in Shanghai.

The first American Bahá’í visitors to Taiwan were Dr. David Earl and Lt. Col. John McHenry in 1952, and Rafi and Mildred Mottahedeh in 1953. In October of that year Dhikru'llah Khadem visited Taiwan, the first Hand of the Cause to do so and at a meeting he held in Chu's home three more people accepted the Bahá’í Faith: these three were Professor Tsao Li-shih, who was an instructor of architecture at the College of Engineering at the National Taiwan University; Hong Li-ming (Jimmy), the first native-born Taiwanese to become a Bahá’í; and Wong Ho-len (Wong Ho-jen).[6]

Later, Mr. and Mrs. Suleimani, who where Bahá’ís in Shanghai, left that city in 1950,[9] and arrived in Taiwan in 1954 at port Keelung[10] where they found there was already a community of ten Bahá’ís spread among some of the cities of Taiwan: Taipei (2), Tainan (4), Tao-yuan, Tsoying and Chiayi. Mrs. Suleimani was from a Bahá’í family from Ashqabad who left in 1923.[6]

Growth[edit]

By May 1955 there were eighteen Bahá’ís in six localities across Taiwan. The first Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assembly in Taiwan was elected in Tainan in 1956,[4] which was noted by Shoghi Effendi, then head of the religion. The members were Mr. Wang Chi-chang, Mrs. Suleimani, Mr. Pai Chung-chen, Mrs. Ruthy Tu, Mr. Tsao Li-shih. Standing. Dr. Ni Jun-chung (ching), Mr. Chu, Mr. Winston Luk, and Mr. Ho Chung-tzu. Mrs. Tu was the first woman citizen of Taiwan to become a Bahá’í and was elected to be a delegate in 1957 to the election of the regional National Spiritual Assembly but was unable to travel. Noted Bahá’í Agnes Alexander visited the island in 1956, and, after being appointed as a Hand of the Cause, visited the island again in 1958 and 1962.

From 1955 through 1957, petitions by the Bahá’í community were submitted to the Taiwanese government to be recognized as a religion by the government had failed, though permission was given to have a temporary Bahá’í summer school in Sept. 1957.[4]

In 1957, the first regional National Assembly election convention of the Bahá’ís of North East Asia, held in Tokyo, was convened; the jurisdiction of the National Assembly included Taiwan.[4] In 1958, the second Local Spiritual Assembly of the island was established in Taipei with the arrival of two pioneers and one more citizen convert. By April 1958 the number of Bahá’ís in Taiwan had reached twenty-two. The first official use of the Tainan Bahá’í Centre was in 1959. In 1960 the book Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era was revised, translated and reprinted and one copy was given to every Bahá’í in Taiwan. In 1963 Mrs. Tu was able to attend the first World Congress which also the year of the first Bahá’í marriage ceremony in Taiwan.

The first Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan was first elected in 1967 — the members of the institution were[4] Mrs. Isabel Dean and Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani, Mr. Kuo Rong-hui, Mr. Robert Yen, Dr. Sidney Dean, Mr. S.A. Suleimani, Mr. Tsao Kai-min, Mr. Huang Tsen-min and Mr. Huang Ting-seng. At the time there were local assemblies in Taipei, Tainan, Hualien, and Pingtung. Then in 1970 the Bahá’í community of the island was recognized by the government.

In 1990, the Chief of the indigenous Puyuma Tribe, Mr. Chen Wen-sheng, became a Bahá’í.[4]

Multiplying interests[edit]

In more recent years the Bahá’ís of Taiwan have particpated in a number of local and international activities. By 1995, the Bahá’í Office of the Environment for Taiwan, in collaboration with the national government, had trained hundreds of teachers throughout the country to introduce conservation issues into curricula. The Office also produced a series of national radio educational programs on environmental care and protection.[11] In December 1997 Bahá’ís were invited to participate in a local exhibit of religions.[12] In 2001 Bahá’ís from Taiwan attended the opening of the Seat of the International Teaching Centre.[13] In 2004, the Taiwanese Baha'i community organizes 20 regular children's classes, attracting some 200 children.[10]

Modern Community[edit]

Circa 2006 the Bahá’ís showed up in the national census with 16,000, or 0.1% of the national population with 13 assemblies.[5][14] This figure was based on self-reporting; the observable Baha'i population of Taiwan (based on attendance at feasts and appearance on mailing lists) is a few hundred. The discrepency seems to result from large numbers of Taiwanese who have signed declaration cards at some point, but are no longer active--a phenomenon which intensive study of the Ruhi books is hoped to remedy.

References[edit]

  1. "巴哈依教(大同教)在台湾早期的传教活动". bahai-academic.hk. http://bahai-academic.hk/file.php?file=chenjinguo_bahayi_datongjiao_taiwan&langu=zh-TW. Retrieved 2008-09-01. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hassall, Graham (January 2000). "The Bahá’í Faith in Hong Kong". Official Website of the Bahá’ís of Hong Kong. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Hong Kong. http://www.hk.bahai.org/The_Faith_in_Hong_Kong.html. Retrieved 208-08-16. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Baldwin Alexander, Agnes; R. Sims, Barbara (ed.) (1977), History of the Bahá’í Faith in Japan 1914-1938, Japan: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Osaka, Japan, http://bahai-library.com/east-asia/history.japan/index.html 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 R. Sims, Barbara (1994). The Taiwan Bahá’í Chronicle: A Historical Record of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Faith in Taiwan. Tokyo: Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Japan. http://bahai-library.com/east-asia/taiwan/. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Taiwan Yearbook 2006". Government of Information Office. 2006. http://www.gio.gov.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/yearbook/22Religion.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Hassall, Graham (2003). "China in the Baha'i Writings". Unpublished Articles. Bahá’í Acadamic Library. http://bahai-library.com/index.php5?file=hassall_china_bahai_history. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  7. Compiled by R. Sims, Barbara (1991). The Macau Bahá’í Community in the Early Years. Japan: Bahá’í Academics Library. http://bahai-library.com/east-asia/macau/. 
  8. Shao, Minghuang; Miller, Lyman (June 29, 2002). "“The Out-of-Tune ‘Flowers on the Rainy Nights’: Some Observational Aspects of Taiwan at Wartime”". Minutes from the Conference on Wartime China: Regional Regimes and Conditions, 1937-1945, Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University. Retrieved on 2006-07-19. 
  9. Universal House of Justice (1986), "In Memorium", The Bahá’í World of the Bahá’í Era 136-140 (1979-1983) (Bahá’í World Centre) XVIII: Table of Contents and pp.619, 632, 802-4, ISBN 0853982341, http://bahai-library.com/books/bw18/748-772.html 
  10. 10.0 10.1 International Community, Bahá’í (2004-12-16), "Attractive center holds fond memories", Bahá’í World News Service, http://news.bahai.org/story/339 
  11. International Community, Bahá’í (1995-05-03), "Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Baha'i Faith", Summit on the Alliance Between Religions and Conservation, Windsor, England, http://statements.bahai.org/pdf/95-0406.pdf 
  12. International Community, Bahá’í (1997-12-21), "Taiwan - Baha'is at Religious Exhibition", Bahá’í International Community, http://www.northill.demon.co.uk/bahainews/#Taiwan 
  13. International Community, Bahá’í (2001-01-16), "Gathering in Holy Land marks milestone in the development of the Baha'i Faith", Bahá’í International Community, http://www.bwns.org/story/131 
  14. "2006 Report on International Religious Freedom". U.S. Department of State. 2006. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71337.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 

External links[edit]

External Links[edit]


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