Taiwan Church News
December 14 – 20, 2015
The Compassionate Law Of God
Recent controversies of legal issues dominates Taiwan’s media. For example, the speculative and mass deals of the so-called “military housing” by Ms. Wang Ju-hsuan, KMT Vice Presidential candidate, generates a wide spread of criticisms if the laws are breached, though she insists everything is legal in the plunging opinion polls; a wave of purchase action, “instant-buy-and-instant-claim”, which furiously protest against the acquittal of Ting Hsin International at the first trial’s sentence on the case of the shockingly adulterated oil, is another climax of current social events. In comparison with these two cases, a final quality verdict of an aboriginal Bunun hunter, Talum, with three and six months prison term seems outlandishly absurd!
In the past several thousands’ years on this island, hunting as a Bunun tradition, is a way of wisdom to conserve the environmental resources and supply the food for the families, yet it becomes a serious crime under the laws of modern state. In the name of civilized laws, the tool of the aboriginal hunter becomes the potential homicide weapons, the animal hunted turns into the endangered species and the hunter a disgraceful criminal. In contrast with the aboriginal wisdom, practiced and inherited through thousands of years on this island, modern laws appear so pale, cruel and incapable.
From the legal point of view, or even from the view of a non-aboriginal society, hunting only means for leisure and killing. So, it is very natural to give Talum a guilty verdict and put him in jail. But, from the perspectives of the aboriginal people, the tradition of hunting has a history longer than the modern countries on Taiwan. Giving a guilty verdict to Talum means an injustice and a serious contempt of the aboriginal culture practiced in this island for thousands of years. An apparent clash of two totally different values is therefore emerged. And this conflict forces Taiwan society to think seriously about the fundamental problems of our legal system: Which Justice? Whose Justice?
Ideally speaking, superseding the interests of any party or individual, the spirit of the law is the culmination of the will of the people. Its main purpose, through an appropriate and deliberative legislation, is to deliver a reasonable development for our country and society and ensure a strong protection of our liberty, equality and fraternity. The ideal of our laws, though, may be amended following the changes of times, it is undeniably scandalous that an implicit negligence toward the traditional indigenous culture is embedded within our legal code and administrative stipulation. Our aboriginal hunters will continuously be sent into jail, if such unjust laws can not be overhauled.
In contrast of the cold and indifferent attitudes to the Talum case, the hysterical tongue-lashing toward the protest action in the event of “instant-buy-and-instant-claim” makes lots people confused about the moral integrity of Taiwan society. Thus, it turns into a very strange phenomenon: most people become poignant yet still keep silent, when their food safety is seriously infringed; yet some daring protesters are rewarded with heavy lashing from those related Ting Hsin Int’l suppliers whose short-term interests are gravely challenged.
“Keep silent before evil, stand away from justice” is a common aberrant mentality among Taiwan society. When our government use their arbitrary legal laws to marginalize the aboriginal peoples, should Taiwan church take the same stance to treat those aboriginal churches marginalized in modern economic exploitation. The scripture says in Romans 13:8 that “owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law”. Before the aboriginal cultures are respected and integrated into the government’s laws and codes, Taiwan church should stand up and speak out for the aboriginal peoples because such action is the compassionate law of God!