Pastors Ordered To Stop Church Construction
8 November 2010: In early October, pastors from the Baptist, Gospel Baptist, and Methodist churches in Kanpalet received orders to halt the renovation and construction of three church buildings in the town, from a local officer of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Kanpalet Baptist Church is used for public gatherings whenever high level military personnel visit Kanpalet, and permission to renovate the building had been granted by General Thura Aung Ko, previously Burma’s Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs, according to a local resident. U Thura Aung Ko recently retired from the military, and is standing as a candidate for the Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) for the Union Solidarity and Development Party in Kanpalet.
In Burma, permission forms numbers 105 and 106 have to be issued by local authorities for renovation or construction of religious -related buildings, but for Christian organizations the permission is notoriously hard to obtain. However, Buddhists can construct monasteries and pagodas without seeking prior permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The heads of the Ministry of Religious Affairs in each township are usually considered loyal to the chief abbot in the town.
Nine crosses in Chin State have been destroyed on the orders of local authorities since 1990, most recently in Mindat Township in July. 90 percent of the population in Chin State is estimated to be Christian. Religious persecution against the Chins has been widely documented, most recently by Christian Solidarity Worldwide in their 2007 report Carrying The Cross.