Working side by side with Bitter Winter, taijimencase.org will present the history of the Tai Ji Men case and will be a clarion call for truth and justice.
by Daniela Bovolenta*
*A paper presented at the webinar “The Truth, Please, About the Tai Ji Men Case,” co-organized by CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers on March 24, 2022, United Nations International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of the Victims.
On December 4, 2020, Bitter Winter published its first article on the Tai Ji Men case, introducing the movie “A Question of Justice” directed by Massimo Introvigne and the side event at the 3rd Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, co-organized in Warsaw by the U.S. Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland. Both the movie and the event were important steps in the international campaign advocating justice for Tai Ji Men, and it is significant that our coverage of the case in Bitter Winter started from them. We have now published 113 articles on the case in fifteen months.
Bitter Winter is a magazine devoted to human rights and religious freedom throughout the world. While we mostly cover cases of bloody persecution, killings, and torture, we are also aware that religious discrimination has many facets. The Tai Ji Men case is of global importance, as it is an almost stereotypical example of how taxes can be used to discriminate against a spiritual minority and violate its human rights. It is for this reason that the campaign of Bitter Winter advocating for Tai Ji Men will continue.
Nothing and nobody will prevent us from speaking out for Tai Ji Men. If somebody in Taiwan believed that fatigue would one day overcome us, and just because we kept advocating without achieving results we would cease our campaign, then I should tell you that somebody in Taiwan was badly mistaken. Our voice will not be silent, until the voice of justice for Tai Ji Men will finally resonate in Taiwan. Our voice will continue to call for justice, and to tell those who perpetuate injustice that they are, as it is now fashionable to say, on the wrong side of history.
Today, however, when the United Nations celebrate the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of the Victims, I am pleased to announce that we are ready to go one step ahead. In cooperation with our friends in Taiwan, today we launch a new website, taijimencase.org.
The new website does not mean that Bitter Winter, which has a global audience with multiple interests, will stop publishing about the Tai Ji Men case. On the contrary, we plan to continue our regular plan of publishing news about the webinars and seminars, and about the presentations of the Tai Ji Men case in international scholarly conferences and religious liberty events, as well as individual papers from these webinars and events.
Taijimencase.org will walk side by side with Bitter Winter and other publications covering the Tai Ji Men case. It will not replace them. But it will offer those interested in the Tai Ji Men case, and those who “should” be interested in it, a collection, easy to use, of what has been published on the case in magazines, including Bitter Winter, and scholarly journals, as well as videos of the events, and other videos.
Netizens will first find an outline of the Tai Ji Men case. In ten minutes, they will be equipped to answer three crucial questions: What is Tai Ji Men? What is the Tai Ji Men case? Why do Tai Ji Men dizi (disciples) and their supporters protest in Taiwan and internationally?
From this outline, they will understand that in its basic features the Tai Ji Men case is simple. A peaceful spiritual movement has been targeted by a political aggression, which started as a criminal case and, when the courts declared the criminal charges unfounded, continued as a tax case. It is very simple. As it happens in some wars, including the one we are currently witnessing, there is an aggressor and there is a party that has been aggressed. People of conscience can only side with the aggressed.
On the other hand, the weapons used by the aggressor are complicated. They include legal tools, administrative tools, and slander. In a campaign of aggression, as we are again tragically learning in these days, slander is a dangerous weapon, because it tries to reverse the truth. Through slander, the aggressor is presented as if it was the aggressed, and the aggressed is presented as if it was the aggressor. We should be totally clear here. Tai Ji Men is the innocent aggressed party, the rogue bureaucrats are the aggressors. However, we should also deconstruct the tools the aggressors use. Our main way of doing it in the new website is a chronology. This chronology is not short, but is very important. It explains exactly, and unmasks, the various attacks against Tai Ji Men, telling netizens who, when, and how perpetrated the injustice. I encourage you to read it carefully, and to send the link to your friends. The chronology is something new, a powerful weapon of defense in the campaign for Tai Ji Men.
Then, we plan to collect in taijimencase.org all the articles published in Bitter Winter, and we hope in the future elsewhere as well, on the Tai Ji Men case. The welcome page will show the last additions to the website, but the “articles” section will eventually become a large, encyclopedic repository.
In addition to the magazine articles, there is a small but growing corpus of academic papers about Tai Ji Men. These are published in the section “Academic papers” and can be downloaded.
Another session, “Documents,” present the statements that our friends of the Coordination des associations et des particuliers pour la liberté de conscience, a United Nations ECOSOC-accredited NGO, have presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, and letters scholars and associations have written to the President of Taiwan.
You will also see the videos and films in the session “Videos” grow day by day.
Finally, there is a contact form, and we plan to send to those interested a newsletter with updates on the Tai Ji Men case and the website.
I do not believe that a website can change the world. It is not the website. It is the passion, the enthusiasm, the commitment of those who believe that the idea of justice we are advocating for Tai Ji Men will prevail. Ultimately, it is the idea itself that may have powerful effects—the website is a tool in the service of the idea, although an important tool.
As the French novelist Victor Hugo once said, nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. The time for taijimencase.org has come. The time for the idea of conscience, truth, and justice for Tai Ji Men has come.