Christian Cross Destroyed To Be Replaced With Pagoda
31 May 2009: A Christian cross planted on the top of Kimo mountain in Paletwa Township, Chin State was pulled down in March, 2009 and is to be replaced with a Buddhist pagoda by the military regime, sources unveiled.
A church leader was quoted as saying that the cross was built with donations from the churches on top of the mountain where a prayer service is held once a year. The cross was destroyed without our knowledge, added the leader.
After the destruction, the authorities ordered the local people to clean up the place so a pagoda construction could begin at the same place.
Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, told Chinland Guardian: “This incident is typical of the regime’s behaviour towards Chin Christians. Over the years it has deliberately destroyed Christian symbols in Chin State, in order to denigrate the Chin people’s identity and culture. The regime is hostile to Chin Christians for religious and ethnic reasons. It is one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom, and it is time that such persecution of religious minorities is stopped.”
“British MPs have called on the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion and Belief to investigate violations of religious freedom, and we continue to make that call,” added author of Carrying the cross: the military regime’s campaign of restriction, discrimination and persecution against Christians in Burma, which detailed the regime’s 17-point document headlined ‘Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma’ under which the first point reads: ‘There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised’.
CSW’s report published in 2007 said that in addition to the destruction of crosses and churches, and restriction on the construction of new churches, the SPDC regularly and deliberately disrupts church services, physically assaults pastors and church leaders, and uses pastors for forced labour, particularly on Sundays.
A series of cross demolition perpetrated by Burma’s military dictatorship has been recorded throughout Chin State since early 1990s.