President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday praised the nation’s religious groups for helping to promote Taiwan’s image in the international community through aid and charity, adding that Taiwanese religions showcase “Chinese culture (中華文化) with Taiwanese characteristics.”
Although the origins of many of these religions can be traced back to China, they “flower, grow, bloom and thrive in Taiwan,” Ma said, adding that he is proud of Chinese culture as Chinese history has experienced no religious wars.
Saying that Taiwan is a nation of religious freedom, he added that Taiwan’s religions, unlike those in the past in China, pay more attention to public issues such as social welfare and charity and they focus on improving people’s lives.
Ma made the remarks while meeting with representatives from a Taoist association in Taiwan at the Presidential Office.
Ma said Taiwan’s religious organizations with branches and volunteers in different countries have made great contributions worldwide.
These groups are also managed as efficiently as private companies, Ma said, especially when they enhance international support when launching disaster relief operations.
Taiwanese people frequently demonstrate their charitable nature by making donations, for example the NT$6 billion (US$208 million) given to Japan in earthquake and tsunami relief, Ma said.
The government of Japan has sent delegations and issued letters to the people of Taiwan to express their gratitude.
“When friends have trouble, we always lend a helping hand,” Ma said.
In addition, Taiwan also sponsors 280,000 underprivileged children around the world and almost 8 percent of Taiwanese have donated blood, Ma said.
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