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Taiwan Bahá'í Chronicle:
An Historical Record of the Early Days of the Bahá'í Faith in Taiwan

by Barbara R. Sims

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Chapter 16

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16. Bahá'í Literature in Chinese


There were several books and pamphlets in Chinese which had been translated many years earlier on the mainland by Dr. Tsao Yun-siang, President of Tsing Hua College, and Mr. Liu Chan-song. Dr. Tsao translated Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, which was printed about 1931, and Paris Talks of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in 1932. Both men translated Some Answered Questions independently but Dr. Tsao's was printed. There were other books and pamphlets. Due to the devastation of World War II, most of the translated and printed books of Mr. Liu were lost with only a few copies of his edition of The Hidden Words that he had given away surviving. As for more recent literature, a prayer book printed in Macau in 1956 and a pamphlet printed in Kuching, Sarawak, in the mid-fifties was available. The early books were not generally available to the Bahá'ís, as there weren't enough copies.

As the Faith progressed it became increasingly important and necessary to have literature in Chinese. With this in mind, in 1958 the National Assembly appointed a Translation and Reviewing Committee. Mrs. Danielsen-Craig was secretary of the committee, and although she couldn't speak Chinese she was instrumental in getting the work done. Within two or three years several pamphlets and books were produced.

The basic pamphlet first printed in Kuching was revised and reprinted in 1957. Mr. Chu, who did this revision, worked on the committee for several years after it was appointed.

Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era was revised and reprinted in 1960. The committee printed 500 and gave one copy to every Bahá'í in Taiwan. They had about sixty left which were immediately ordered by other countries in South East Asia. It was decided to print an additional 1,000, realizing how great the need was for literature in Chinese. A new prayer book was printed in 1961 using prayers from the one printed in Macau and adding some. The smaller one was also available.

By 1962 there were five basic pamphlets available in Chinese in Taiwan, translated from ones in English: The Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'í Answers, Basic Facts of the Bahá'í Faith, The Keystone, Bahá'í Teacher's Manual.

The old version of Paris Talks by 'Abdu'l-Bahá was revised and 1,000 reprinted in 1963. It was printed again, 2,000 copies, in 1966. The New Garden was a new translation done by Mr. Tsao Li-shih printed in 1965. Also in 1965 another pamphlet, One Universal Faith was printed, 1000 copies. It was a good beginning.

The Taiwan Bahá'í Publishing Trust was established in 1972, The number of books and the attractive quality of the printing is now well-known.


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(click for larger picture)
Some of the early pamphlets printed in Taiwan available by 1962. Bahá'í Answers (lower left) was translated in 1958 by Mr. Mason Yuan (Yuan Hien-hsien) who became a Bahá'í after being taught by Mrs. Miriam (Mother) Haney in Washington D.C. many years earlier. That pamphlet of 2500 copies was financed by the Taipei pioneers.
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