22. The First and Second National
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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