Faith and Political leaders met at the nation’s capital on Tuesday, July 13th for what organizers called the most important religious freedom event of the year. The three-day 1RF summit advocates for religious freedom with a goal of tackling discrimination around the world. Former U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback helped launch the meeting with a focus on international bipartisanship.
It was important for Dr. Brownback to tout the conference’s diversity in both its attendees as well as within their organizing co-chairs. Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett is the former chair of the
U. S. Commission on international religious freedom.
Many individuals and groups attended the summit to raise awareness for their freedom causes. One of the more prominent participants is the action Alliance to Redress 1219, a coalition that seeks justice in the Tai Ji Men case. Tai ji Men is a spiritual group in Taiwan and the U.S. they believe they are religiously persecuted in democratic Taiwan through an unlawful tax evasion indictent24 years ago that has reached
In a July 13th, 2007 ruling, the Taiwan supreme court found Tai Ji Men not guilty of tax evasion and cleared the group of all charges, but Taiwan’s taxation bureau disregarded the court decision and continued to impose taxes on Tai Ji Men. Kenneth Jacobsen, a professor of law at Philadelphia’s Temple University spoke at the summit and summarized his years of research on the Tai Ji Men case.
During a 2010 public hearing in the legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s ministry of finance openly agreed to resolve the case within two months. That has still not occurred. As a result, Tai Ji Men’s sacred land was nationalized and auctioned on august 21st, 2020. While Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett reserved opinion on the case, she acknowledged that an injustice has occurred.
It was important to the Action Alliance to affirm the persecution against Tai Ji Men on U.S. soil where Tai Ji Men and its leader Dr. Hong, have been welcomed openly in years past as international ambassadors of peace and goodwill.
Attendees heard many similar stories during the inaugural multi-day summit where its main goal was to unite and help one another find solutions and prevent problems from re-occurring. Dr. Brownback encouraged foreign policy and religious leaders to work together to solve foreign policy issues
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DC, 12 July 2021
1. Hotel exterior
2. Capitol hill exterior
3. Summit interior
4. attendees walking into the international religious freedom summit
5. Dr. Samuel Brownback speaking at the international religious freedom summit
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Samuel Brownback, Former US Ambassador
"This is an event sponsored by the International Religious Freedom Secretariat. All the major religions of the world are represented, and we've got one mantra: religious freedom for everybody everywhere all the time."
7. Dr. Samuel Brownback presents at summit
8. Dr. Samuel Brownback introduces DR. Katrina Lantos Swett,
9. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. Katrina Lantos Swett Former Chair of US commission of International Religious Freedom
“I was very honored to be asked to serve as co-chair because one of the things that we want to underscore throughout this summit is that international religious freedom is a cause that brings people together. I’m a Democrat. Sam Brownback is a Republican. Those differences are irrelevant when it comes to fighting for the fundamental rights of people around the world to live their lives in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience.”
10. Taiwanese activists walking into summit
11. Taiwanese activists providing info about the Tai Ji Men Case at booth
12 Action Alliance to redress 1219 protestor outside White House
13 Wide pan of Taiwanese activists holding Tai Ji Men Case banner
14 Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy Exterior
15 Taiwanese activists praying
16. Taiwanese activists protesting outside Walnut Vity Hall
17.SOUNDBITE (English) Duncan lee, Tai Ji Men Member
“The members of Tai Ji Men academy are here in Washington, D.C. to raise international awareness of our case and call on the government officials of Taiwan to stop persecuting us and return the sacred land to Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy."
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Gil Wang, Tai Ji Men Member
“we want to call out to government and other religious groups and spiritual groups that taxation should not be used as a tool to persecute religious groups and that the freedom of religion and belief should be safeguarded”
19. Various shots of Tai Ji Men members protesting
20. Tai Ji Men Members celebrating after being declared not guilty of tax evasion.
21. Exterior of Taiwan’s taxation bureau
22. Kenneth Jacobsen, Professor at Temple University, poses with Tai Ji Men Members
23. Kenneth Jacobsen speaks on the Tai Ji Men case
24. SOUNDBITE (English) Kenneth Jacobsen, Professor at Temple University.
“Taiwan is an island of democracy, a beacon of democracy in an area that has absolute turmoil, political turmoil, as well as oppression, but what has happened here has emerged from the conduct of some rogue bureaucrats and government officials that is now being tolerated by the government itself.”
25. Dr. Katrina Lantos -Swett speaks on the Tai Ji Men Case
26. SOUNDBITE (English) DR. Katrina Lantos Swett Former Chair of US commission of International Religious Freedom
“I know that there's growing concern among a range of legal experts and people who really understand the rule of law, that this is a situation where an injustice has occurred that needs to be rectified and acknowledged”
27. Tai Ji Men protesting outside of the White House
28. Tai Ji Men protesting outside of DC monuments
29. Archive footage of Tai Ji Men leader, Dr. Hong being honored by various U.S. mayors
30 Various shots of attendees at the international religious freedom summit
31.Dr. Samuel Brownback, Former US Ambassador, speaks at the he international religious freedom summit
32. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Samuel Brownback, Former US Ambassador
“We just really got to get the civil society and religious leaders together to stand foreach other. If we can get these relationships built across religions. I think we can really address a number of problems.”
33. Shots of Tai Ji Men Members at the international religious freedom summit
34. SOUNDBITE (English) Unkown Female Tai Ji Mem member
And this is Tai Ji Men wishing you love"