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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 4

14

4. The First Local Spiritual Assembly in Taiwan


The first Local Spiritual Assembly in Taiwan was elected in Tainan in 1956. Consequently, that Assembly could send a delegate to the first National Convention of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia to be held the following year. There were ten Bahá'ís in Tainan at that time.

(click for larger picture)
The first Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Tainan, Taiwan, April 21, 1956. Nine of the ten Bahá'ís shown in the photo constituted the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Tainan. As nearly as we can deduce the following identification is correct.

Seated: Mr. Wang Chi-chang, Mrs. Suleimani, Mr. Pai Chung-chen, Mrs. Ruthy Tu, Mr. Tsao Li-shih. Standing. Dr. Ni Jun-chung (ching), Mr. Suleimani, Mr. Chu, Mr. Winston Luk, Mr. Ho Chung-tzu.

We knew there must be a reason for submitting a photo of the Local Spiritual Assembly with ten people instead of nine.

We discovered that as there were ten Bahá'ís in the community they held an election but could not break the tie among all ten. However, they had been asked to submit a photo to the American Bahá'í News of their Local Spiritual Assembly as it was one which would participate in the election of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia the following year.

They finally wrote to the Asia Teaching Committee of the United States about the problem. That committee suggested that they draw ten slips of paper; one being blank. Mr. Suleimani drew the blank slip, but by the next year Dr. Ni was off and the other nine were elected.

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The community elected Mrs. Ruthy Tu (Tu Guan-chiao) as their delegate to the convention in 1957; however, she wasn't able to attend. Mrs. Tu had the distinction of being the first woman in Taiwan to accept the Faith (1955). She originally came from mainland China. According to Miss Alexander, Mrs. Tu was one of the first women pilots in China.

Mrs. Tu died in 1969. When Mr. Suleimani visited her in the hospital he wrote that she was very weak but "still perfect in spirit and mind." About twenty years later her daughter accepted the Faith.
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