Protest Against Cross Destruction In Chin State
08 September 2010: Chin people in New Delhi, India held a public rally yesterday, protesting against the recent destruction of Christian Cross by Burma’s military authorities in Mindat Township of Southern Chin State, Burma.
The demonstration, organised by New Delhi-based Chin Churches and Christian Fellowship, began with an opening prayer by Pastor W. Phong of Burmese Christian Assembly, and short speeches by Rev. Vungh Hau Thang and Rev. Thawng Khan Lian.
Rev. Vungh Hau Thang told the rally: “Although the state’s law has given religious freedom to all citizens in Burma, the military junta is still persecuting the Chin Christians through various forms of repressive measures. They have destroyed our Christian crosses, a symbol of our faith. This destruction in Chin State clearly shows the military’s ruthless attempts in dismantling our Christian faith, and eliminating the Christian Chins by means of systematic persecution.”
The rally, attended by about 120 people including women and children, marched towards downtown New Delhi at Janta Manta, held placards and posters with some reading ‘The cross is the most sacred symbol of Christianity on which the Saviour Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for the sinners’ as they shouted slogans.
Rev. Thawng Khan Lian also encouraged the mass by saying that: “We are persecuted, oppressed, and have faced a series of problems from the SPDC. But we will never waive our faith in Christianity. Instead, these challenges make us stronger and more united in our faith.”
The Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) also strongly condemned the destruction of the 23-foot high concrete Christian cross in Mindat, saying: “The SPDC claims to respect religious freedom for all faiths in Burma and yet they are actively pursuing a policy to persecute religious minorities in contravention of their own constitution and other international human rights standards, which they claim to observe.”
In a statement released on 24 August 2010, CHRO said at least nine crosses have been destroyed or dismantled on the orders of the local authorities in all of Chin State’s nine major Townships since 1994.
The Chin Christians from different denominations and fellowships based in New Delhi accused the SPDC of ignoring its own laws guarateeing religious freedom, and called for an end to destroying the crosses and persecuting Christians in Chin State, Burma.
The cross was forcibly destroyed by direct order of the authorities, including the District and Township level Peace and Development Council, the District Religious Affairs Department, and a Mindat abbot from the Hill Region Buddhist Mission, according to CHRO’s report.
Originally built with wood in a 20-acre ‘Prayer Garden’, the Christian cross, which was later replaced with a concrete structure in 2008 with official permission from the local authorities, was destroyed on 24 July 2010.
Van Biak Thang