Christian Cross Destroyed by USDP Members in Tedim Township
19 April 2012: Members of the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) destroyed a clock tower with a Christian cross erected on its top in Mualbem village of Tedim Township, Chin State last Wednesday.
The cross-donned clock tower was planted in 2009 to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Assembly of God church in the village.
In a BBC Burmese interview on Tuesday, Pa Thang Do Khen, of Mualbem village, said the local authorities are responsible for the destruction.
When asked about the reason, Thang Do Khen said he did not know details, adding: “We have heard that it was destroyed on the direct order of the village chairman for road expansion.”
It is still unclear whether the order to destroy the cross originated with the village chairman or it came from higher up.
Local members of government-backed USDP did not consult or inform the villagers of their plans to pull down the cross, according to one community leader.
“We are not really sure the real reason why the cross was destroyed. These local USDP members are all Christians,” the leader told Chinland Guardian.
Collectively constructed with financial contributions by the local villagers, the cross-donned clock tower was razed to the ground by a bulldozer on 11 April 2012.
Thang Do Khen also confirmed in the interview that Pa Hau Khan Nang, organizer of Tedim Township USDP party, who is also the village chairman, is a younger brother of Pa Suan Do Cin, an MP elected in 2010 on USDP ticket.
The Christian cross was originally erected by the Assembly of God church in association with the Mualbem Christian Family under the leadership of the previous village headman Pa Kai Sian Mung on 26 March 2009.
Mualbem village has only Christians and Laipian, a local indigenous religion, residents.
In July 2011, two Christian crosses were demolished in Kyindwe village, Kanpetlet Township on orders of the Chin State government.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang