In the early days of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the battles for the right to pray to the CREATOR were fought in the open with steel swords and justice paid in blood. Xian Sheng said that our history will record similar injustices against people who only wants the right to pray to the CREATOR. However, the battles with swords are replaced with pens, the arena replaced by the Courts and blood replaced by apologies.
- 1 The Catalyse
- 2 The trials and tribulations
- 3 The saga continues for Xian Sheng
- 4 The continued persecution by press and media
- 5 The turning point for the Baitiangong movement
- 6 The battles in Court
- 6.1 Mister Weekly Issue 272
- 6.2 In Vindication of Baitiangong: A Statement and Apology by Raymond Lee and Susan Ackerman. 4 April 1993
- 6.3 Singapore, The Straits Times article on Wister Weekly
- 6.4 Apology from Women Publications Sdn Bhd. 12 April 1993
- 6.5 Clarification by General Manager of Life Publisher Berhad. 9 Mar 1995
- 6.6 Various Letters
- 7 The attempts to register an association with the Registrar of Society (ROS)
The events that led to the arrest and the trials and tribulation of the followers were triggered by a series of false accusations against Xian Sheng that started in 1979. Xian Sheng was preaching to the Chinese community that was indoctrinated in idolatry practices, ancestral worship, frequented the Chinese temples and believes in mediums and spiritualist.
Xian Sheng reminded the Chinese people that 5,000 years ago, Chinese prayed to Tian or Shangdi before they lost their ways resulting in the Chinese religion and culture replaced by idolatry and superstitious practices. Xian Sheng wanted to change their erroneous ways to once again follow in the religious practices of their early ancestors as demonstrated in one painting of an emperor in the Altar of Heaven in Beijing kneeling down, facing skywards and praying to Shangdi. Xian Sheng’s teachings apparently upset some influential individuals from the political, business or religious institutions.
Although the abovementioned articles do not refer directly to Mr. Chew or the Baitiangong movement, it was obvious to the public that these articles implicate Xian Sheng as the protagonist in this evil cult due to the indisputable similarities. Xian Sheng sought legal actions in the Courts to counter these libellous articles, but strangely, these legal proceedings were repeatedly postponed in the Malaysian Courts. Xian Sheng’s detractors seemed to be untouchable by the Courts.
The trials and tribulations
In all the previous years anniversary celebrations, we have always held our anniversary dinner in a private venue on a Saturday or Sunday night. On 7 October 1978, it was at Restoran Metro, 6 October 1979 at Restoran Ling Kee, 4 October 1980 at Restoran Hilton and 3 October 1981 at Chinese Assembly Hall. However, as Chinese Assembly Hall cancelled our booking on Saturday, 2 October 1982 at the eleventh hour, we were forced to hold our anniversary dinner at our Salak South Holy Hall, a private reclaimed squatter land, which falls under the jurisdiction of Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), as we could not find another venue large enough to hold over 100 tables on such short notice.
Prior to the celebration of the 6th anniversary in commemoration of the Receiving of the Prayer to pray to the CREATOR to Xian Sheng on 4 October 1976, Xian Sheng has hinted to the followers to remain calm and not to panic on that night.
Thus, the trials and tribulations with regards to the charges of belonging to an unlawful society and participating in an illegal assembly came to an end for the followers. However, for the purpose of academic debate, we need to ask ourselves this question. Why is it that in Malaysia, a country where the freedom of religion is enshrined in its Federal Constitution, a group of followers that seeks to organise themselves for the purpose of praying to the CREATOR are denied the opportunity to register their organisation, not once but twice, but would later be charged as an unlawful society; while its followers from the age of 14 years old to 78 years old were charged for participating in an illegal assembly simply because they were attending an anniversary celebration to commemorate the receiving of their Prayer to pray to the CREATOR that was supposed to be held in a private venue, but was mysteriously cancelled at the last minute forcing them to move the celebration to a public area? Was there even a single shred of evidence to justify the harsh actions taken by the enforcers of the law to suggest that this group of followers have done any action that can threaten any general law relating to public order, public health or morality?
Photos from 2 Oct 1982 – 8 Feb 1983
The saga continues for Xian Sheng
It is worth noting that a letter from the Education Service Commission to reproof and warn Xian Sheng, and the fact that he was transferred to three different schools within a short span of six months would have meant the end of an illustrious career as an active labour union activist in the teaching profession for Xian Sheng.
Instead, Xian Sheng was recognised as one of the five recipients of the Outstanding Service Medal Class One Award at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the National Union of Teachers’ Training College, Peninsular Malaysia. The award was presented to him by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohammad on 19 Dec 1987. This was the second time he was recognised by the leaders of our country. The first time was on 31 Aug 1969 when he received the Certificate of Appreciation (Sijil Penghargaan) from the DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong for bravery shown during the 13 May 1969 racial riots where he single-handedly defended many Malay families from being slaughtered by a group of angry Chinese wielding machete (parang).
The continued persecution by press and media
Although the persecution of Xian Sheng using the court of law was unsuccessful, it did not deter the detractors from pursuing another course of action, the character assassination of Xian Sheng via the court of public opinion using the Chinese media.
The turning point for the Baitiangong movement
The year 1992 marked the turning point for Xian Sheng and the Baitiangong movement. Xian Sheng’s trip to the World Chinese Conference in Mauritius reignited the ongoing defamatory media campaign with more malicious and libellous articles in Malaysia and Singapore that no longer hides behind pseudonyms and subterfuges as in the past. The direct reference to Xian Sheng and his followers and the severity of the charges such as disloyalty to the country, sedition, criminal trespass, brainwashing and even intended world domination would surely mean the imminent arrest of Xian Sheng and his followers by the authorities the moment they step foot on Malaysian soil. However, the lack of the presence of policeman, their dogs and their trucks, was a telltale sign of these false accusations.
Mauritius Trip. 23 – 25 April 1992
The battles in Court
In late May 1992, Xian Sheng instructed his legal counsel in Singapore to begin legal proceedings as some these articles were also circulated in Singapore.
Mister Weekly Issue 272
In Vindication of Baitiangong: A Statement and Apology by Raymond Lee and Susan Ackerman. 4 April 1993
Singapore, The Straits Times article on Wister Weekly
Apology from Women Publications Sdn Bhd. 12 April 1993
Clarification by General Manager of Life Publisher Berhad. 9 Mar 1995
The attempts to register an association with the Registrar of Society (ROS)
Throughout the years, starting from 1979, Xian Sheng has tried to get the Baitiangong movement registered as an association. However, his application was turned down all 4 times he tried. He also made two appeals to the Ministry of Home affairs for registration under Societies Act. However in Singapore, the ROS approves the registration of the society without any hassle. In Malaysia, ROS finally approved the formation of an association in 2002, 2 years after Xian Sheng Returned to the Plane of Nothing.
It is worth noting that that his application was rejected twice, in Apr 1979 and May 1982, before the incident that the police accused Tiangong Baixian Holy Hall as an unlawful society.
The reason why the Baitiangong movement was rejected for 4 times when Xian Sheng was still with us was revealed to him during a Hari Raya Puasa open house hosted by PM Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohammad. Without naming any person or organisation in particular, Dr Mahathir told Xian Sheng that there was resistance to Xian Sheng forming an association. Could it be because of the fear that Xian Sheng would one day turned his spiritual activities to political activities and threaten the livelihood of certain Chinese political personnel?