The constitution provides for freedom of religious belief. Domestic service workers and caretakers are not covered under the labor standards law and are therefore not legally guaranteed a weekly rest day. Due to this exclusion, many domestic workers were not able to attend religious services. Authorities stated they viewed the domestic service workers’ attendance of religious services as a religious freedom issue that is part of a broader labor issue. A Tibetan Buddhist organization reported monks were unable to obtain resident visas for religious work. Authorities said they did not grant resident visas because of general rules governing foreigners who use travel permits instead of passports, not because of the religious purpose of the monks’ applications.
A Tibetan Buddhist group sued a local Buddhist organization that reportedly was Chinese-funded and harassing them. The Tibetan Buddhist group said the Supreme Court had heard the case but had yet to make a ruling on the case because of opposition from local Buddhists. Authorities said all court cases involving the Tibetan Buddhist group had been closed.
Staff of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) regularly met with authorities as part of its efforts to promote religious freedom and tolerance. AIT representatives consulted with government officials and lawmakers, including on the issues of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and labor rights as they affect domestic service workers’ ability to attend religious services. AIT representatives also met with religious leaders and representatives of faith-based social service organizations to promote religious tolerance.