The Taiwan Ecumenical Forum Steering Group, co-convened by Chris Ferguson, General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and Collin Cowan, General Secretary of the Council for World Mission, will be meeting in Berlin, Germany on February 26-27, hosted by the Berliner Missionswerk. Steering Group members participating are:
Victor Hsu (PCT)
Michael Jagessar (United Reformed Church)
Melzar Labuntog (UCC-Philippines)
Nancy Lin (PCT)
Kato Makoto (UCC-Japan)
Linda Patton-Cowie (Presbyterian Church in Canada)
Rex Reyes (Episcopal Church, Philippines)
Park Sungkook (Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, PROK)
Sudu Tada (PCT)
Christof Theilemann (BM)
Sunita Suna (WSCF)
There will be the following non-SG members:
Huang Po Ho (Taiwan), Balazs Odor (Hungarian Reformed Church), and Ariel Siagan (Philippines)
In addition, from the PCT staff:
There will be three main agenda items:
(1) Evaluation of the first meeting of the TEF held in Hsinchu in November, 2018
(2) Review of the November Meeting Report of the Listening Discernment Group (LDG) and
(3) Plan TEF activities for the near future.
(The SG will also receive an update by the PCT General Secretary, Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong. He will inform the SG of the recent developments affecting Taiwan, especially regarding the domestic political situation since the local elections that saw a stinging rebuke of President Tsai Ing-wen’s ruling party. At the same time, China’s bullying tactics continue unabated including President Xi’s statement on January 2 threatening to use force against Taiwan.
A related concerning development since the elections is the continuing obstruction by the KMT in the transitional justice implementation. The KMT continues to stonewall the recovery of its ill-gotten wealth and the proposal to remove the monuments celebrating and commemorating its erstwhile leaders, now viewed by many Taiwanese as dictators.
Consequently, with a view to contributing to the emotional daily national conversation, the relevant governance bodies of the PCT issued four major statements since the November TEF meeting.
The first was on December 17 by the Executive Committee entitled “Striving Bravely Forward on the Way of Democracy with Love and Tolerance”
In this statement the Executive Committee reminded the church that “over the past half century, no matter what kind of difficulties Taiwan went through, the PCT held fast to its Christian beliefs by insisting to be rooted in the Taiwanese land and to identify with all its inhabitants, and to practice love with all its might thus becoming the country’s sign of hope.
It quoted the American Vice President Mike Pence who made a major speech about China in the Hudson Institute on 4 October saying that “Beijing is corrupting some nations’ politics by providing direct support to parties and candidates who promise to accommodate China’s strategic objectives. Ted Yoho, chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, remarked on 11 December saying that “Taiwan is a nation, and it is time to embrace and recognize this fact.” Also, in 2018 the European Parliament supported Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
The second statement was by the Church and Society Committee entitled, “Unity in the Face of outside Aggression is our Responsibility.” This was issued on January 7, five days after the speech by Xi.
It denounced President Xi’s speech which completely ignored the subjectivity of Taiwan as a country and threatened the use of force claiming “Taiwan” to be an internal issue of China and warned advocates of Taiwan independence who work hard for democracy with severe retaliatory measures. The PCT viewed President Xi in contempt and reiterated its determination to uphold the ideal of “making Taiwan a new and independent country.” The PCT sincerely hopes that China will one day be democratized and give up day-dreaming about taking Taiwan.
The third statement was issued on January 11 by the Indigenous Mission Committee entitled, “Denounce China’s ‘Blood Relatives Myth’ in Trying to Annex Taiwan.
This statement said in part:
Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples have lived in Taiwan for more than 16 thousand years. Each tribe has been seeking to be an independent and dignified “real human”. Each tribal name is imprinted in the life of each person. Sediq, Bunun, Tayal, Tao, and Pangcah, for example, are all tribal names of Taiwan’s indigenous peoples and share a common meaning—“human being”. President Xi Jinping has claimed to the Taiwanese people that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are brothers of the same blood”. This is grossly neglecting facts and an arrogant idea. It must be cast aside by all Taiwanese peoples, global indigenous peoples and all ethnicities.
In the process of historical development, Taiwanese people, comprised of migrants and indigenous tribes, have been united as a community of shared destiny. The constitution is clear in stating that Taiwan is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation. We hope that our country can be treated as a really independent subject. This is the deepest wish of the Taiwanese people. The respect of each person, each tribe and the will to be independent is the universal right that granted by the self-determination of the inhabitants.
China’s unification strategy is essentially self-centered and bullying the world, without respect for different peoples and tribal rights. It is purchased with blood and violence. If we just take a look at Tibet, east Turkistan, and modern Hong Kong, we will certainly know how dangerous it is to be “one family” based on such ideology. As the country is facing internal instability and outside threats, the PCT supports President Tsai to stabilize the political situation, and safeguard Taiwan’s security. We are willing to stand in solidarity with all the Taiwanese People, to seek a way of life with dignity.
We hope that the Chinese people in Taiwan will open their hearts and feel their Mother Mountain and Sea—Taiwan. Feel her beautiful face and incomparable life characters of patience, acceptance, love, mercy and perseverance. If we connect our life to Mother Taiwan Land, we believe that you will feel more secure and more dignified living in this beautiful island, our country—Taiwan.
On January 15, the Executive Committee issued another statement On “Safeguarding Taiwan’s Sovereignty and Dignity.”
This Executive Committee statement resolutely rejects China’s “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” saying that the message is full of autocratic and hegemonic ideas, completely lacking universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights. It is also full of lies and political manipulation. The Executive Committee said that the relationship between Taiwan and China is not just “cross-strait relations” but two different countries, one upholding values of “freedom and democracy” and the other “dictatorship and autocracy.” If the two countries are to communicate with each other, dialogue needs to be based on mutual respect and equality. Therefore, we reiterate that Taiwan’s future will have to be decided upon by the Taiwanese people. Only Taiwanese people have the right to make such decision.
We pray that Taiwanese people will continue to insist on Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity, safeguarding Taiwan’s democracy and freedom in face of threats from China. We expect the government to push for reform of the Constitution, so it reflects and speaks to the reality of Taiwan. We also expect the government to participate actively in international organizations to contribute Taiwan’s power, making Taiwan truly a “new and independent country” as we have long prayed.
台灣普世論壇（Taiwan, Ecumenical Forum, TEF）執行小組（Steering Group, SG）的共同主席世界傳道會（CWM）總幹事柯林‧柯旺（Collin Cowan）及普世改革宗教會聯盟（WCRC）總幹事佛谷森（Chris Ferguson）將於2月26日至27日在德國柏林舉行會議，並由Berliner Missionswerk（柏林差會）主辦。參與執行小組會議的成員如下：
Michael Jagessar （英國聯合歸正教會）
Melzar Labuntog （菲律賓聯合基督教會）
Kato Makoto （日本基督教團）
Sudu Tada （台灣基督長老教會總會）
Sunita Suna (世界基督徒學生聯盟)
黃伯河（台灣）、Balazs Odor（匈牙利聯合歸正教會）、Ariel Siagan（菲律賓）
（2）檢閱聆聽洞察小組（Listening and Discernment Group）11月的會議報告
美國副總統彭斯（Mike Pence）10月4日於哈德遜研究所（Hudson Institute）談到中國時說：「北京還直接支持承諾配合中國戰略目標的政黨和候選人，左右一些國家的政治。」美國眾議院外交委員會亞太小組主席游賀（Ted Yoho）甚至在12月11日說：「台灣是一個國家，是時候接受並認清這一事實。」歐洲會議在9月力挺台灣，12月也重申堅定支持台灣參與國際組織。