Saturday, November 15, 2014

Albert J.F. Lin Human Rights Award

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
invites you to attend the presentation of the first
Albert J.F. Lin Human Rights Award
to
Dr. Ed File, Teacher of Empowerment


Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm
Taiwanese United Church in Toronto
53 Cummer Avenue, North York
followed by a Human Rights Fair and Reception

Free admission - All are welcome!  
For inquiries, contact thracanada@gmail.com.

The 2014 recipient of the Albert J.F. Lin Human Rights Award is Rev. Dr. Ed File. Human Rights are rarely given as gifts from the powerful. Rather they must be demanded and fought for, often with great sacrifice. But how do oppressed people do this in an effective, sustained, organized and peaceful way?

For over 50 years Ed File has trained and inspired leaders of marginalized people to fight for their rights - in Canada (Canadian Urban Training Project, CUT), globally (World Council of Churches URM Advisory Committee) and in Taiwan (Taiwan Urban Rural Mission). In his 32 years of work with Albert Lin in the TURM, Ed played a key role in Taiwan’s peaceful democratization. He has also empowered trainees from North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe in programs held all over the world. Ed's partner Donna Loft has also been part of this work, especially in relation to the Taiwan Aboriginal URM. ​


Please invite your friends and join us on December 13 for the awards presentation and human rights fair to acknowledge and continue the long-time work of those who work for human rights. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Albert J Lin Human Rights Award: Call for Nominations

Albert J Lin speaking at THRAC's 2012 Annual General Meeting and Human Rights Fair.




At our 2014 Annual General Meeting, THRAC members voted to establish the Albert J Lin Human Rights Award. The goal of this award was: 
To recognize and encourage the long-time work of people or organizations in Canada or Taiwan for human rights, democracy and social justice.
The award is given in honour of a man who is a living example of this commitment, and who has given his life seeking to realize these values in Taiwan and in Canada. 
The award shall be made annually on the recommendation of the executive of THRAC, in consultation with Dr. Lin, and previous presidents of THRAC. Nominations for the award may be made by any member of THRAC. 
The award shall consist of a certificate of recognition and small gift, to be presented in a public ceremony. In addition, the name of each successive recipient shall be inscribed on a permanent plaque.
We now open a call for nominations to THRAC members and allied human rights organizations for the 2014 award. Basic contact information, a short bio, and your reasons for nominating this person or individual are required. Please use the nomination form available for download below.

Please submit your nominations to thracanada@gmail.com, mail to THRAC, 45 Fontainbleau Drive, North York, ON M2M 1P1, Canada, or deliver to any THRAC executive member. If you have any questions, contact us at thracanada@gmail.com. The last day for nominations is October 10, 2014.

We will be hosting the award ceremony and a human rights fair on December 13, 2014. Save the date! For more information, check out our upcoming events.


Forms for download:
Nomination form download (English)
Nomination form download (Mandarin)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

THRAC and ATOT oppose Confucius Institute in Toronto schools

On a August 23rd THRAC executive meeting, THRAC voted to request that the Association of Taiwanese Organizations in Toronto (which includes THRAC) send an urgent letter to the Toronto District School Board to vote to end the contract with the Confucius Institute. This issue was raised particularly in light of a globe and mail article that suggests China may be pressuring the TDSB to continue their contract. Under leadership of THRAC, ATOT published the following letter below on August 28. Text follows:


To: Ms. Mari Rutka, chair of TDSB

The Association of Taiwanese Organizations in Toronto (ATOT) is a coalition of 15 different organizations representing all aspects of the GTA Taiwanese Community. We are writing to urge you to vote to end contract former TDSB Chair Chris Bolton signed to put a Confucius Institute in the TDSB.

There is a specific danger in CI that concerns us as Taiwanese Canadians. Because Confucius Institutes are ultimately controlled by the Communist Party of China, the worldview explicitly and implicitly presented to students in a CI class includes the assumption that Taiwanese are “Chinese” and that Taiwan is naturally part of China, defined as the People’s Republic of China. Over time, because of what they hear in classes in a CI, the next generation of Canadians will accept these assumptions as part of their own naturalized world view. This ultimately threatens the right of the people of Taiwan to choose their own future, by cutting off international understanding and support for Taiwan in the face of annexation threat from China facing our homeland.

Another concern is that texts used in Confucius Institutes use simplified characters, not the traditional Chinese characters used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the rest of the Chinese speaking world. It is fairly easy to learn simplified characters if you know traditional characters, but very hard to go the other way. This is not accidental. When simplified characters were introduced in China by the new Communist regime in the early 1950’s , and greatly expanded during the Cultural Revolution, one important goal was to cut the people of China off from any past books not “edited” by the Party, and remake “Chinese culture” their own image. Teaching Canadians only in simplified characters brings this cultural brainwashing to our Canadian children.

Oh behalf of the 40,000 some Taiwanese Canadians in the GTA, we appeal to you to stand up for Canada and not sell out Taiwan by letting the Confucius Institute operate in the TDSB.

Jean Chen, Coordinator of Association of Taiwanese Organization in Toronto

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Letter to PCT on Same-sex Marriage

Following our letter to Taiwanese legislators (THRAC Statement of Support for the Equal Marriage Act in Taiwan), THRAC has sent the following letter to the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT). English follows on page 2.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Talk - "Outlook on Taiwan: Perspectives of Overseas Taiwanese Youth"

THRAC is one of the co-sponsors of the NATWA program featuring Dr. Lily Wang 王俐力醫師 and three members of THRAC executive - Ching-Fang Hsu, Nikki Lin and Austin Yan. The talk is this Friday at the Taiwanese United Church in Toronto. We invite you all to attend.

Details below:


Topic: Outlook on Taiwan: Perspectives of Overseas Taiwanese Youth 海外青年看臺灣
Time: Friday, July 4, 7:30 to 9:30 pm
Location: Taiwanese United Church 多倫多台灣聯合教會
53 Cummer Avenue, North York, ON, M2M 2E5

Admission is free.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

THRAC Statement of Support for the Equal Marriage Act in Taiwan

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada has issued a statement sent to legislators in Taiwan, stating support for support for the Equal Marriage Act as proposed by legislators Teng Li-chun, You Mei-nu, Hsiao Mei-chin et al (我們支持由鄭麗君、尤美女、蕭美琴等立委共同提出的婚姻平權「多元成家」法案)。

The letter, sent in English and Chinese versions states that THRAC "believes that the issue of equal marriage (same-sex marriage) is an important human rights issue in the world today. For this reason we declare our support for the Equal Marriage Act as proposed by legislators Teng Li-chun, You Mei-nu , Hsiao Mei-chin et al. This is a reasonable bill, removing gender reference from the relevant laws, thus permitting same-sex marriage without inserting other political agendas into the bill."





Sunday, May 11, 2014

THRAC Annual General Meeting 2014

The Very Rev. Bruce McLeod speaking at the 2014 THRAC AGM
The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada (THRAC 加拿大台灣人權協會) held its Annual General Meeting in Toronto on Saturday, May 3. Almost 90 people attended – a new record for THRAC. The theme of this year’s AGM was the 50th anniversary of Peng Ming-min's (彭明敏) 1964 "Declaration of Formosan Self-Salvation" (台灣人民自救運動宣言). Members watched a 40-minute video made by THRAC in which Dr. Albert Lin 林哲夫 interviewed Dr. Peng about the events of 50 years ago and what they mean for Taiwan today. The video, and other reports of the annual meeting, will be posted to THRAC website (thracanada.blogspot.ca).

After the video, Dr. Lin will recounted how in 1964 he and other Taiwanese students in Canada organized the "Committee for Human Rights in Formosa" and worked to save Peng. The Right Reverend Bruce McLeod told how in 1966, as part of a group of Canadian reporters brought to Taiwan by the KMT regime, he secretly visited Dr. Peng (then under house arrest) through the arrangement of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan.

Members voted to establish the Albert J.F. Lin Human Rights Award 林哲夫人權獎, to be given annually “to recognize and encourage the long-time work of people or organizations in Canada or Taiwan for human rights, democracy and social justice. (為獎勵在加拿大或台灣長期間對人権,民主和社會公義有所貢獻的個人或團體者)”。Other resolutions were passed opposing Harper's latest "tough on crime" bill - C-26, and calling for the release of Chen Shui-bian (陳 水扁) from prison. All are posted on the THRAC website.

Two new members were elected to the THRAC board - Edward Chung 鍾雅澤, former president of the Taiwanese Canadian Association (2011-13) and co-chair of the Canadian Mackay Committee ; and Hsu Ching-Fang 許菁芳, PhD student in Political Science at the University of Toronto. In 2008 Hsu was president of National Taiwan University Student Association and an activist in the Wild Strawberry Student Movement野草莓運動 . Su Cheng-hsuan 蘇正玄retired from the board after many years of service to THRAC. Continuing as board members are Akio Chen 陳明雄博士 , Nikki Lin 林湘斐,Michael Stainton 史邁克牧師, Austin Yan 顏立哲 and Nick Chen 陳孟廷 (corresponding board member living outside of the GTA).

Dr. Peng Ming-min's Video can be found on Youtube here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Register NOW for the THRAC Annual General Meeting!

Registration Link below:

REGISTER HERE!

WHERE TO PARK FOR THRAC MEETING MAY 3 

FREE PARKING 

* Willowdale Presbyterian Church (Ellerslie at Beecroft, one block south of Mckee , two blocks west of Yonge , behind police station) It is a 5 minute walk to St Louis. No permit needed for this event. (Blue
balloon on map)

* Residential streets east of Doris ( Church, McKee, Norton, Parkview) have free parking on Saturday – access from Kenneth or Dudley Ave. (Blue streets on map)

* Empty lot at Churchill and Canterbury (behind St Georges Anglican Church, west side of Yonge
Street. The company using it is Shiu Pong Developer and they have agreed we can use it. (Green balloon on map)

PAY PARKING ($$$ signs on map) 

* On Yonge Street

* Pay lot west side of Yonge, south of Ellerslie

* Pay lot south side of Parkview, just east of Yonge

MAP

Monday, March 24, 2014

Urgent Action Request to Amnesty

Letter to Amnesty Urgent Action <urgentaction@amnesty.ca>, (cc Alex Neve)

Subject: Riot Police Use Force to Evict Protesters in Taipei, Taiwan 


Dear Marilyn McKim, 

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada is concerned about the ongoing protests in Taiwan that have escalated over the past 48 hours, particularly regarding the excessive use of force used to evict protesters. Please see the summary below, and consider making this issue an urgent action. 

Regards,

Austin Yan
Vice President, Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada



ATTACHMENT:

Ongoing protests that started on March 17 in Taipei escalated Sunday, March 23, as protesters occupied Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Premier's offices) provoking a rapid and violet police response resulting in 137  njured as of 7:00 am, March 24, local time. The protest stems from widespread opposition to the Cross-strait Services Trade Agreement (CSSTA), a controversial agreement opening Taiwan's services industry to Chinese businesses, potentially compromising Taiwan's democracy and sovereignty due to increased Chinese economic and political pressure. The trade pact was initially negotiated behind closed doors in June 2013. Public opposition resulted in a government promise to review the draft agreement, clause-by-clause. Yet, on March 17 last week, the chair of the Legislature Internal Administrative Committee, Chang Ching-chung, declared the review to have passed though no review was ever held. Public outrage resulted in the student-led protests including the student occupation of the legislature that evening. Since then, over ten thousand have joined in the streets surrounding Taiwan's Legislative buildings.

Tensions are high in Taiwan with the protesters demanding that the trade pact be retracted and that a law on oversight of Taiwan-China negotiations be passed, to ensure transparency in future contacts. A press release from Amnesty International on March 19 stated that "the situation is clearly tense and security forces must show restraint... authorities must ensure the rights of all those protesting are upheld and respected". The use of force, including water cannons, pepper spray, and beatings, to violently evict a group of protesters yesterday demonstrates a lack of restraint by riot police and the government, raising serious concerns for the safety and rights of non-violent protesters.

The Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada asks that you express your concern for democracy in Taiwan and urge restraint on all parties, especially the government which gives orders to the police. We hope that a peaceful resolution can be achieved leading to a resumption of clause –by-clause review of this bill, and that efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the government will preserve and maintain democracy and human rights for the people of Taiwan.

Please send appeals to:

President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Ma Ying-jeou
No. 122, Sec. 1, Chongqing S. Rd., Zhongzheng District
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (ROC) 
Tel: +886-2-2311-3731

References:

Amnesty Press release: Taiwan: Restraint Urged in Protests Over China Trade Deal 

Focus Taiwan News: 137 sent to hospitals during week-long protest: bureau http://focustaiwan.tw/news/asoc/201403240017.aspx

The Diplomat: Riot Police Crack Down on Taiwanese Protesters

Wall Street Journal: Taiwan Police Evict Protesters From Cabinet Building

Sunday, February 23, 2014

THRAC President visits Chen Shui-bian

Chen Shui-bian thanks THRAC for cards and concern


 THRAC President Michael Stainton spent an hour visiting with Chen Shui-bian 陳水扁at the Taichung Prison on January 24, accompanied by former legislator Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) and Kaohsiung Legislator Qiu Zhiwei (邱志偉) . Chen's situation was not as bad as expected. He looked good, though he has some trembling of his hands and an occasional slight stutter. He was using a wheel-chair because his balance is bad. Seven prisoners work on shifts as his caregivers. Chen spoke for most of the hour discussing DPP chances in the upcoming year-end election. So though his brain has some shrinkage, which is the source of his other physical problems, he is still very much engaged in Taiwan's political life.

 Michael gave him a new book on George Leslie Mackay, and they all prayed together. The visit took place around a big table in a pleasant living room in his small house with an official from the prison sitting at the other end taking occasional notes, but not interfering in the visit. There was no time limit imposed on the visit by the prison.

Chen remembered and expressed thanks for the concern THRAC has shown for him. He said he has received the cards we have mailed him.