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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 22


22. The First and Second National Conventions
of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan, 1967 and 1968

The Universal House of Justice wrote to the parent assembly, the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia, that it attached great importance to the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan because it was the first National Assembly to be formed in Chinese territory. The House also assigned Hand of the Cause Dr. Muhajir to represent it at the convention.

Dr. Muhajir was not able to leave the Philippines in time to attend the convention so he asked Auxiliary Board Member Mr. K. Payman from Indonesia to attend in his place.

The convention was also attended by representatives from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia: Mr. Philip Marangella, Mrs. Barbara Sims, Mr. Hideya Suzuki and Mr. Hiroshi Yamazaki. Auxiliary Board Members Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi and Mr. Charles Duncan also attended.

The four Local Spiritual Assemblies that had delegates assigned were Taipei (7), Tainan (6), Hualien (4), and Pingtung (2), making a total of nineteen delegates. Eighteen ballots were cast. Twelve delegates were present and six ballots were received by mail. It was recorded that there were about 500 Bahá'ís in Taiwan at that time.

The members of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan were Mr. Robert Yen, Mr. Kuo Rong-hui, Dr. Sidney Dean, Mrs. Isabel Dean, Mr. Tsao Kai-min, Mr. Huang Tsen-min, Mr. S.A. Suleimani, Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani and Mr. Huang Ting-sheng.

The Universal House of Justice sent a special message to the new National Spiritual Assembly, giving them several new goals. Some of the goals were left over from the original Nine Year Plan, but many of the new goals were for a larger and more consolidated community which Taiwan had become. For example, they were to raise the number of localities where Bahá'ís reside to one hundred; raise the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies to twenty; establish a Teaching Institute with the assistance of the National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia; and to extend teaching among the aboriginal people. Another goal was to acquire a site on which to build the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. The land was purchased in 1972 and recorded in 1978; 9920 sq. mtrs. in the town of Lin Kou, near Taipei. Another piece of land was purchased in Lin Kou which counted as an Endowment, the acquisition of which was also a goal.

That fall it was necessary to have two by-elections. The first by-election was due to the resignations of Mr. Tsao Kai-min and Mr. Huang Ting-sheng. Their replacements were Mr. Kit Yin-kiang and Mr. Lin Yi-mou.


Mr. Kit had just come from Malaysia. He was fulfilling a goal given to the National Spiritual Assembly of Malaysia to send a Chinese-speaking pioneer to Taiwan.

Dr. and Mrs. Dean left Taiwan that fall. There appears to have been one or two more by-elections with the final result of Mrs. Elizabeth Yen and Mr. Shan Yi-chian being elected to the National Assembly for that year.

In November 1967 Mr. Suleimani wrote to the secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia, Mrs. Sims, that they had a successful celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh in both Taipei and Tainan. This was a joint effort of the Taipei and Tainan communities. Three hundred invitations were sent out and one hundred people attended. A brief announcement was made by Tainan Victory Radio and the Taiwan Daily News. It was a joyous event.

(click for larger picture)
The First National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan, 1967. Sitting: Mrs. Isabel Dean and Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani. Standing: Mr. Kuo Rong-hui, Mr. Robert Yen, Dr. Sidney Dean, Mr. S.A. Suleimani, Mr. Tsao Kai-min and Mr. Huang Tsen-min. Missing member is Mr. Huang Ting-seng.


There were prayers, greetings, speeches, Bahá'í songs, entertainment and refreshments.

That month Hand of the Cause Mr. A.Q. Faizi paid a brief visit to Taiwan. Later in a letter he wrote to the friends in Taiwan, he mentioned his appreciation of the Bahá'í community, especially Mr. Chu, who translated for him. He also wrote that he would never forget the smiling face of Mr. Kit and praised him for pioneering to Taiwan from Malaysia.

Mr. Suleimani reported that at the second Annual Convention, 1968, elected to the National Assembly were three Chinese (Mr. Lin Yi-mou, Mr. Yu Hsih-ho and Mr. Huang Ting-sheng), one American (Mr. John Huston), one Briton (Mrs. Elizabeth Yen), one Chinese-Malaysian (Mr. Kit Yin-kiang) and three Iranians (Mr. and Mrs. Suleimani and Mrs. Mehri Molin). The backgrounds were quite different

(click for larger picture)
The first National Convention of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan, 1967, was attended by several members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia and by Auxiliary Board Member Mr. K. Payman. Front row from the left: Mr. Lin Yi-mou, Mr. Loren Dzen, Mr. Peng Fu-fa, Mr. Yu Hsih-ho, Mr. Charles Duncan and Mr. Wu Wen-jen. Middle row: Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi, Mrs. Isabel Dean, Mr. Philip Marangella, Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani, Mrs. Ruthy Tu, Mr. Suleiman A. Suleimani, unidentified. Back row: Mr. Hideya Suzuki, Mr. John Huston, Mr. Heshmat Vahdat, Mr. K. Payman, Mr. Kuo Rong-hui, Mrs. Barbara Sims, Mr. Richard Hatch, Ms. Hung Hoh-tsu, Dr. Sidney Dean, Mr. Robert Yen, Mr. Byron Larson and Mr. Hiroshi Yamazaki.


racially, culturally, and in religious affiliation; however, he said, they functioned as one family.

The years 1968/1969 were dedicated to proclaiming the Mission of Bahá'u'lláh to the various heads of states in the world. The book The Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh was given to President Chiang Kai-shek. He graciously acknowledged receipt of the book through his Director of the First Bureau Office.

In 1968 the Universal House of Justice appointed a new institution called the Continental Boards of Counsellors. Mr. Rouhollah Mumtazi, of Japan, was one of Counsellors appointed for this area. He appointed Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani as an Auxiliary Board Member in Taiwan. She was also a member of the National Spiritual Assembly and was one of the few Auxiliary Board Members who were allowed to continue to serve on a National Spiritual Assembly. She remained a member of the Auxiliary Board until 1973.

(click for larger picture)
Delegates to the second National Convention of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan, 1968. Seated in front, from the left: Mr. Kit Yin-kiang, Mr. Peng Fu-fa, Mr. Wang Tseng-min, Mr. Chen Ron-hsen. Middle: Mrs. Mehri Molin with her child, Mrs. Elizabeth Yen, Mr. John Huston, Mrs. Orpha Daugherty, Mr. Leong Tat Chee and Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani. Rear: unidentified, Mr. Kuan Ku, Mr. S.A. Suleimani, Major Liang, unidentified, unidentified and Mr. Yu Hsih-ho. Mrs. Daugherty and Mr. Leong, who were visiting Taiwan, were not delegates.


(click for larger picture)
The second National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan, 1968. Front: Mrs. Mehri Molin, Mrs. Elizabeth Yen, Mrs. Ridvaniyyih Suleimani. Rear: Mr. Kit Yin-kiang, Mr. John Huston, Mr. Yu Hsih-ho, Mr. S.A. Suleimani, Mr. Lin Yi-mou and Mr. Huang Tsen-min.


Mrs. Barbara R. Sims, secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia seated in Tokyo, Japan, represented that body at the first convention of the Bahá'ís of Taiwan. After the convention she and Auxiliary Board Member Mr. K. Payman visited Bahá'ís in other cities accompanied by Mr. Kuo Rong-hui (left). This photo was taken at a village near Hualien and shows one of the elders of the village and a young Bahá'í who accompanied the visitors. Mrs. Sims recalls showing her teaching album which had some Japanese explanations. Some of the villagers, especially the older ones, could not speak Mandarin Chinese but she could communicate with them in Japanese which they had learned during the Japanese occupation.
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