Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Annual Tai Ji Men meet turns into electioneering

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The qigong group Tai Ji Men held its year-end gathering yesterday with President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) among the guests.

The gathering at the Taipei International Convention Center was co-hosted by the Association of World Citizens Taiwan, a non-governmental organization, and the Federation of World Peace and Love.

Qigong is a major form of Chinese martial arts, and Tai Ji Men is one of the leading qigong groups in this country

Thousands of Tai Ji Men practitioners, dressed mostly in white, demonstrated qigong and performed dance and choral pieces.

Tai Ji Men president Hong Shih-ho (洪石和) told the audience that the group should help qigong culture to continue, and that all should help the world to hope.

Both Chen and Lu commended the group's efforts in promoting morals and peace.

"The group focuses not only on martial arts but also morals, and it teaches its practitioners to love their families and country. The spirit of the group deserves commendation," Chen said.

"It is the dream of the Taiwanese people to have a normal and complete democratic country, and this is also A-bian's greatest mission. The confirmation of the Chen-Lu ticket is the start of a huge responsibility and a new hope, and we need to be very practical to carry out that dream and create a peaceful future," he said.

Lu said Taiwan sought to create a peaceful environment in the region.

"Those from our government and 23 million people who would oppose war and support peace are all angels of peace," Lu said.

"President Chen needs to remind the world all the time that there are 496 Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan, and that's the most wise and peaceful diplomatic strategy," she said.

Tai Ji Men was founded in 1966 by Hong, who is better known as Hong Tao-tze (洪道子) by practitioners. It has also extended its influence to the US, where it has two centers on the West Coast.

However, Hong has also been the center of controversy. He was accused of fraud by a group of some 300 practitioners and the case dragged on for six years. In September, he was found not guilty.

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