An Occasional Newsletter from the General Secretary,
Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong
“May Taiwan become a country blessed by God”
A Message on the General Election of 16 January 2016
(issued 19 January 2016)
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) offers thanksgiving to God that the people of Taiwan have written a brand new chapter in the history of Taiwan through the expression of their democratic right by casting their vote this past Saturday, January 16, 2016. They elected Taiwan’s first woman president, Dr. Tsai Ing-Wen, and gave the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a comfortable 68 seats in a 113-member Legislative Assembly.
The PCT congratulates President Tsai on her election. The PCT is especially impressed by the young people’s active participation in the political campaigning and in presenting themselves as candidates. The strong showing of the New Power Party (NPP), which won all three seats it contested, represents a new vitality in Taiwan’s democratization. More importantly, the NPP with two additional at-large allocations will ensure that its voice on behalf of the youth of Taiwan will be heeded.
While the PCT is deeply gratified that the DPP and President Tsai have been voted into power, and while the PCT has been an inspiration for the birth of the DPP in 1986 and has been a constructive partner ever since, the PCT reiterates its Confession of Faith that it must “embody love and suffering and become a sign of hope.” The church must be the conscience of the nation on the basis of the Scripture and its Christian faith to love mercy, uphold justice and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
Given the enormity of the issues that have to be addressed, for example, a deteriorating economy, low wages and high unemployment among the youth and among the Austronesians, it is a welcome political development that the President will enjoy the support of the Legislative Assembly. However, to ensure that the President and the DPP lay a solid foundation for the future of Taiwan, the PCT calls on President Tsai to make good her pledge that her Presidency would be transparent and accountable and would attach a top priority to cooperate with other political parties on such major issues as constitutional reform and the restructure of the economy.
On the thorny issue of the relationship with China, the PCT applauds President Tsai’s basic conviction that the will of the Taiwanese people would be the basis for relations with China. It must not repeat the mistake of the Ma administration which ignored the will of the people in developing the Service and Trade Pact with Beijing. The PCT supports her premise “that both sides of the Taiwanese Strait have a responsibility to find mutually acceptable means of interaction that are based on dignity and reciprocity.”
The PCT is deeply aware that President Tsai will encounter significant international challenges in its foreign relations, particularly in forging new diplomatic ties, in opening new markets and in making preparations to join the recently formed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In attempting to overcome the inevitable obstacles, the PCT urges the President to develop innovative strategies to ensure that the sovereignty and dignity of Taiwan are respected by the international community.
In this regard, the ecumenical movement is fully aware that the PCT in 1977 called for Taiwan to be a new and independent nation. As an issue of justice and basic human rights, the PCT renews its appeal to its partner churches and all the global ecumenical organizations to continue to advocate for the right to self-determination of the people of Taiwan with regard to its own future and its place in the international community. The twenty-three million people of Taiwan deserve their place in the sun.
The PCT mission theme for 2016-17 is “Learn from Christ in one accord and serve God faithfully with humility.” In her election night acceptance speech, President Tsai exhorted her supporters to be humble. The PCT pledges to remain faithful to continue its God-given mission in Taiwan by serving the people in humility and be a sign of hope to the nation. Please pray for us and for the future and the people of Taiwan.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour…..for the mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. (Luke 1: 47, 49)
On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan 60th General Assembly Executive Committee,
Rev. Tin Bun-Jin Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong
PCT Moderator, 60th General Assembly PCT General Secretary