Tai Ji Men’s Shimu not only shared the suffering of her husband and the dizi. She inspired their resistance and resilience.

by Camelia Marin*

*A paper presented at the conference “Remembering Shimu’s Fight: Conscience and the Tai Ji Men Case,” Pasadena, California, April 5, 2024.

An article already published in Bitter Winter on April 17th, 2024.

Dr. Hong and Madam Yu with representatives of the King of Morocco and the Bell of World Peace and Love in 2002.
Dr. Hong and Madam Yu with representatives of the King of Morocco and the Bell of World Peace and Love in 2002.

We are here today to commemorate with deep respect the memory of Madam Yu Mei-Jung, co-founder of Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy and former Vice President of FOWPAL, the Federation of World Peace and Love. She was a global advocate for conscience, love, and peace in the world.

At Tai Ji Men Qigong Academies dizi (disciples) are naturally orienting themselves towards inner peace and harmony. In the words of Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, their Shifu (Grand Master), today “people are placing more and more emphasis on the power of spirituality.” They are learning to put their hearts before their minds or any other reality or idea.

We can also say that, by doing this Tai Ji Men dizi are following both the guidance and the example of Dr. Hong, their Shifu, and Madam Yu Mei-Jung, their Shimu. This is also an illustration of the idea that behind a strong man, there is always a strong woman. Madam Yu Mei-Jung was an inspiration not for Tai Ji Men dizi only but for all those who follow a spiritual journey to ascend to a higher level.

Madam Yu Mei-Jung has also shown a prominent level of community involvement. Her efforts to build connections, foster relationships, and positively affect Tai Ji Men and the broader community around her reflect the spirit of collaboration and compassion she manifested.

The community is created by individuals. Many factors are influential in the formation of the individual personality. Families and media, as well as cultural and religious communities themselves, should all support the development of open-minded individuals, capable of free thinking, of constructive dialogue with others, and of manifesting love and generosity.

Those of us who have visited Taiwan have seen the wonderful example of Tai  Ji Men’s spiritual community and their participation to national and international events, calling for love, peace, and conscience, helping people unite in their hearts, and encouraging the search for inner peace and harmony, which will lead to a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

Dr. Hong as President of FOWPAL, together with his beloved wife, Madam Yu Mei-Jung, presented conscience as “the eye of the soul.” With conscience in our hearts, we are able to appreciate the others as they are, and we can engage in understanding, dialogue, and exchange of knowledge in a calm and peaceful manner.

In 2008, on behalf of Dr. Hong, Madam Yu Mei-Jung presented the World Culture Peace Award to President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic.
In 2008, on behalf of Dr. Hong, Madam Yu Mei-Jung presented the World Culture Peace Award to President Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic.

For a spiritual community to live in peace means that all its environment, social and political, should be harmonious and welcoming.

In the case of Tai Ji Men, their human rights and freedoms were violated by state representatives. Obviously, the Tai Ji Men case is not a private problem of Dr. Hong, and it is more than a Taiwanese domestic tax law issue. It is a case raising a question of principle and justice, and of religious liberty.

When the case started, in 1996, Madam Yu Mei-Jung, the Shimu, together with Tai Ji Men’s Shifu, her husband Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, was unjustly detained. They were later recognized as innocents of all charges. However, Madam Yu Mei-Jung did not stop, nor did she give up her role in the community. She continued to inspire in particular women from Tai Ji Men’s spiritual community in Taiwan, during the long years of accusations and abuses against the movement, which were reflected in their private and social life.

After years of investigation and court trials, on July 13, 2007, the Supreme Court found Tai Ji Men not guilty of fraud, tax evasion or violation of tax codes. Yet the Taxation Bureau continued to issue unjustified tax bills to Tai Ji Men and later even transferred the case to the Administrative Enforcement Agency. Madam Yu Mei-Jung did not live to see the solution of this case, but we have hopes that the case will be concluded in the way she had wished for.

The Tai Ji Men case is mostly one of freedom of religion or belief. We know all too well that religious persecution and discrimination frequently use trumped-up charges and ill-founded accusations of financial or tax fraud.

Tai Ji Men protests in Taiwan.
Tai Ji Men protests in Taiwan.

Yet, Dr. Hong’s teachings together with Madam Yu’s example and advocacy offered Tai Ji Men, in the face of discrimination, an uplifting perspective on human relations between men and women, colleagues, friends and so on, which are always based on equality, mutual respect, transparency, responsibility, and non-violent settlement of all sort of conflicts.

Their practices are an example of beneficial orientation to love, peace and conscience, and have since became a source of support for the Taiwanese society and around the world.

Thank you very much to all Tai Ji Men dizi for their important testimonies. Not only they help us understand the Tai Ji Men community but they testify that lives can be uplifted by spiritual practice.

We thank Madam Yu Mei-Jung for the perseverance and optimism that she displayed and shared with all, and for being a force in service of love, peace, conscience, and justice in Taiwan and in the entire world.