Scientology is recruiting in Taiwan – Eeep! 台灣山達基

I didn’t realize how developed the Scientology infrastructure is in Taiwan, but got this familiar looking leaflet through the door asking me if I wanted a free stress test:

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It reads:

Do you know where your stress is?

Is your vitality being drained by past experiences?

Find the source of your stress!

With this voucher you can get a free stress test!

Dianetics Daan Center

This is a professional and very accurate stress test, which uses a refined piece of equipment to help you find what is holding you back in life, the things that are causing you stress, it will also show up your problem areas, that are holding you back from your true potential and happiness. You’ll be able to see clearly what it is that is destroying your life and holding you back from your heart’s desires.

Come now and get a free stress test!

Scientology is called 山達基 in Chinese and their website is here. I’ve been watching some shows on Scientology on the Media Mayhem Youtube channel:

Makes for pretty scary watching.

I’ve searched the Taiwanese media, but there seems to be largely positive coverage of local branches of Scientology in the news, mentioning their voluntary work.

  • Here they are organizing an International Human Rights march in cooperation with other groups in a report by Central Daily News, with no reference to controversy over the group in the US.
  • Here they are helping out in the disaster area after the tragic Kaohsiung gas explosion in a report by China Times, with a direct reference to the philosophy of Ron Hubbard:

    提供教會創始人L.羅恩賀伯特所研究的「援助法」,幫助災民舒緩身體緊繃及情緒紓壓。Using the “assistance techniques” researched by the religion’s founder L.  Ron Hubbard, to help those affected by the disaster relieve the tension in their bodies and helping them with stress.

    but no reference to controversy over the group in the US and they are referred to as a “教會” (religion).

  • Here they are in Central Daily News again, with an anti-drug advocate from Scientology teaching kids more about the facts on drugs again with no reference to any controversy. The article also cites L. Ron Hubbard:

    黃彥嘉引用人道主義者L. 羅恩 賀伯特之言「當前文化中,毒品藥物的破壞性勝過一切。」Huang Yan-chia cited the words of humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, “In previous cultures, the destruction of drugs was greater than anything else.”

  •   And in this Central News Agency article they are credited with helping setting up an educational resources platform, again with no reference to controversy.

I could not find any specific negative references to Scientology within Taiwan, only reportage on the controversy in the US:

  • A film attacking Scientology about to be released in the US is discussed in this article by Storm Media, which describes the group as a “highly controversial religion”. It also refers to some of the controversies specifically but doesn’t mention Taiwanese Scientologists at all.

There was also a reference in this Australian news article talking of Australian Scientology using Taiwan as a recruiting ground.

There does seem to be some resistance to Scientology in Taiwan and the Chinese-language blogosphere though, like this anti-Scientology Twitter feed, which seems to trace back to this blog. There is also this blog which has a strident anti-Scientology message.

I would be interested if anyone has found any (preferably more in depth) articles written on Scientology in Taiwan, let me know in the comments section.

In case it was not clear already – this is not an endorsement.

UPDATE (2016/8/1): An article critical of Scientology in Taiwan which cites an ex-Scientologist was recently published in the Atlantic.

5 thoughts on “Scientology is recruiting in Taiwan – Eeep! 台灣山達基

  1. In the Words of Lynyrd Skynyrd, I know a little ’bout it.

    Taiwan is the most fertile recruiting ground in Asia for the cult for a few reasons – their government has a ridiculously laissez faire attitude towards new religions, Tawanese religious culture tends towards the eclectic and superstitious – making them easier marks, and the average Taiwanese does not speak English well enough to have easy access to the English language critical literature.

    A Taiwanese Ex going by CCAS used to publish a blog on the Co$ in Taiwan, S/he still posts occasionally on the Ex Scientologist Message Board.

    http://ccascientology.blogspot.ca/2013/03/blog-post.html

    S/he has this to say about the first point I mentioned, above:

    http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?34141-Taiwan-Ideal-Org-to-open-on-12-7-with-Miscavige(-)&p=888813&viewfull=1#post888813

    “Taiwan is the most religious tolerant country in the world, or most fucked up depending on how you see it. We have a law that it’s the govt’s responsibility to promote religion. Narconon had applied grant from the Foreign Affairs department to hold local teacher education conferences. I didn’t even know how fucked up the system is until I got the reply from the department. He usually attends mass religion ceremonies to show that you still have religion freedom, and you can still have more than one child, and that seems to be the priority for Taiwanese. Anything to be 180 of PRC is OK. There is no cult in Taiwan (because you are a legal religion as long as you fill in a form) until shit happens, such as recently a mother suspect that is son is doing drugs (he’s not) and ask her small time cult leader to lock him up and cure him. At the end it’s Lisa McPherson + Narconon + RPF – multiple cult members beat him to death in more than 19 days I think, and took him to a far away hospital to avoid suspicion of the cult.

    The president is trying to be a human rights person (180 deg of PRC). And scn is trying to be the religion of human rights. So they make use of each other a bit. Also, Scn has a much bigger sister cult, the religion of democracy.”

    This desire to be 180 of the PRC is at the root of all the uncritical or favorable press coverage of the Co$ that you see.

    If you peruse the entire thread in the link (from which CCAS’s comment came), you will see that the Co$ recently opened an “Ideal Org” in Kaohsiung. I visited it last Christmas, and it was almost entirely empty.

    In addition to the official Co$ presence, Taiwan also hosts one of the largest Indie organizations in the world, probably second only to Ron’s Orgs in Eastern Europe. It is run by a woman named Helen Chen. Almost 2 years ago, she was running her Org Sea Org fashion, working her employees and volunteers in punishing 18 hour shifts, with one “volunteer” watching the kids in an illegal nursery while the others worked. One of the kids got the flu and died from inattention a few years ago, it was in the news in Taiwan. Turns out the nursery was unlicensed. Chen seems to have escaped prosecution, but since she is the daughter of a retired KMT general, I’m sure she has political connections. The strange thing is that she also operates a school in LA right under David Miscavige’s nose and seems to suffer no persecution form the official Church. That is … odd. I have a thread about her on ESMB, here. It has links to Taiwanese news sites with the coverage when the child died, as Chen is a minor celebrity in Taiwan due to her matchmaking activities.

    http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?34163-Helmut-Flasch-and-Helen-Chen

    Feel free to drop by ESMB and search for a few more tidbits about the Co$ in Taiwan. I am particularly interested as a Co$-watcher (a never-in) who is married to a Taiwanese.

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