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Taiwan celebrates 150 years since arrival of Canadian missionary George Leslie MacKay

President Tsai lauds Canada Presbyterian Church's contributions to Taiwanese society

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. 

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) highlighted the contributions the Canada Presbyterian Church made to Taiwan's democratization process during a ceremony on Sunday (March 6) commemorating 150 years since George Leslie MacKay’s mission in Taiwan began.

Tsai said that when the Canada Presbyterian Church sent Mackay to Taiwan as a missionary, Taiwanese knew little about Christianity. MacKay mentioned in his diary many of the difficulties and hardships he encountered during his mission, but he did not give up, CNA cited Tsai as saying.

Not only did MacKay learn the Taiwanese language for his missionary work, he also made great contributions to the development of medical care and education in the country, Tsai said. The president pointed out that the church has continuously brought positive changes to Taiwanese society, especially with regard to democracy, freedom, and human rights.

Among those who attended the event were Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦), Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), and Canadian envoy to Taiwan Jordan Reeves.

MacKay, the first Presbyterian missionary in northern Taiwan, arrived in Tamsui in 1872. He traveled throughout Taiwan, offering free dentistry services and conducting missionary work.

He established multiple churches, educational institutions, and even a hospital. He also recorded and collected endemic specimens of geology, flora, and fauna.

The Canadian missionary died in Taiwan in 1901.