Thein Sein met Chin officials, leaders on Sunday
18 February 2013: During his first visit to Chin State as the President of the country, U Thein Sein held a meeting with Chin State government, officials and town-elders in Hakha in the morning on Sunday.
President Thein Sein said at the meeting that his trip was ‘aimed at fulfilling the needs of the local people in Chin State’, Burma’s poorest state with the largest percentage of Christian population in the country.
“The meeting took place from 10am to 2pm. Normally, church services in Hakha start at 10am till 12 noon. So, Chin Christians who had to attend the meeting could not go to church,” a community leader from Hakha told Chinland Guardian.
Accompanied by Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the President visited Thanthayar Aye Pagoda at Zetawun Meditation Centre in Hakha yesterday, making donations to the Members of the Sangha led by Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Tejosara.
An official statement from the President Office said the President also paid homage to Sayadaw Maha Ganthavaçaka Pandita Dr Bhaddanta Tejosara, Member of the State Central Working Committee of the Sangha and missionary Sayadaw of hilly regions and Chairman Sayadaw of Myoma Monastery and Zetawun Monastery.
Late last year, a report “Threats to Our Existence”: Persecution of Ethnic Chin Christians in Burma by the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) said Christians in Chin State face systematic religious discrimination and violation under both the previous and new governments of Burma.
CHRO’s research reveals that the Ministries for Border Affairs and Religious Affairs work in close cooperation in the implementation of the Na Ta La residential school programme where Chin students face coercion to convert to Buddhism.
The President presented 10 million kyats and 200 bags of rice provided by the Ministry for Border Affairs for Chin State, according to the President Office.
Flying from Kalay of Sagaing Region on Saturday, U Thein Sein made a short stop at Tedim and Falam, also meeting with local authorities at the military battalion based in the northern parts of Chin State, according to the New Light of Myanmar yesterday.
After spending a night at Hakha, Thein Sein, then Lieutenant General and Prime Minister of Burma, left for Mindat town in the southern part of Chin State in the evening.
During his two-day visit, President Thein Sein briefed on issues related to reform processes and developments as well as the need for government officials to have ‘good character and integrity’ at work.
Van Biak Thang ([email protected])