Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Presbyterians played catalyst role on road to reforms

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan played a significant role in pushing for democracy during the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) authoritarian rule.

When the nation celebrated the 20th anniversary of the lifting of martial law last month, little attention was paid to the "human rights declaration" proclaimed by the church 30 years ago.

Throughout the 1970s, the Presbyterian Church actively opposed political oppression, declaring a "human rights declaration" to help encourage the democratic movement that changed the fate of the country.

On Dec. 29, 1971, after then US secretary of state Henry Kissinger secretly visited Beijing, the church declared that the Taiwanese people had the right to self-determination. They asked the KMT government to implement democratic reforms, including direct elections for all representatives to the highest government body.

In the run-up to US president Gerald Ford's visit to China, the church on Nov. 18, 1975, called on the government to work on its diplomatic predicament and to establish a relationship of mutual trust with the church.

Click here for the Taipei Times article

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