From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwan's Proposed Religion Law May Hinder Small

From Taiwan Church News <>
Date Thu, 16 Jan 2003 13:47:13 +0800

Taiwan Church News 2655, January 19, 2003
Reported by Li Yi-shin & Lin Yi-ying. Translated and rewritten by
David Alexander

   On January 10th the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) hosted
a meeting of leaders from several Christian church groups to look
over and discuss the draft law on religious organizations that
recently passed a first reading in Taiwan's legislature. Now the
bill is open for amendment and further reading.  If it should
pass a third reading it will become law.
   Though the first of the draft's 37 articles proclaims support
for freedom of religion, there are several other articles which
are restrictive to the development of religious organizations.
   Central among the restrictive provisions is Article 3 that
will deny national recognition groups which do not have an
organized presence in 13 or more of Taiwan's counties or special
municipalities.  Apart from the Presbyterians and the Roman
Catholics, almost no other Christian group will qualify.  Even
the YMCA, for example, which has been in active ministry in
Taiwan for several decades, is not yet that widespread.
   Another complicating factor is in article 4 where religious
organizations are put into three three categories:  1)
Monasteries, Temples and Churches; 2) Religious Social Welfare
Agencies; and 3) Religious Foundations.  Each will be required to
have its own structure of boards and supervisory boards.  If a
church or temple should set up a social service agency or a
restricted fund, it would have to create an independent
organization with its own board to govern the new creation.
Eventually that could produce an organization divided against
   Discussions between religious leaders and members of the
legislature will continue as the bill moves through committee
towards its eventual adoption or demise.

For more information:
     The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
     The Methodist Church in Taiwan
     The Chinese Catholic Regional Bishops' Conference

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