Matupi churches ask permission to erect Christian cross
24 August 2013: The Matupi Township Council of Churches (MTCC) said it has asked permission from the government of Chin State to plant a new Christian cross on the mountain of Cangtak in Matupi township next year.
Rev. Victor Lai Lian, MTCC’s General Secretary, said a letter requesting permission to construct the cross has been sent to Pu Hung Ngai, Chief Minister of the Chin State government.
“We are waiting for the result from the State government,” Rev. Victor Lai Lian was quoted as saying by the Hakha Post.
The attempts by churches in Matupi township aim to plant a new Christian cross as a substitute for Boltlang’s 30-ft high cross, which was destroyed by Burma’s authorities in 2005.
After demolition of the Boltlang cross, which was erected in 1987 under the leadership of MTCC, the authorities confiscated the area and built a military camp in 2005 for Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion No. 304.
Erection of the Boltang cross cost 4,000,000 kyats, collectively contributed by local Chin Christians after permission was obtained from the local authorities in Matupi.
Similarly, an organization of Christian pastors from different churches in Hakha has decided to erect a cross in the capital city in 2014 as a symbol indicating Chin State as a Christian State.
The group said they are working hard on finding the location and how to deal with the cross construction in accordance with official procedures under the new government.
London-based Pastor Shwekey Hoipang, of the Evangelical Free Church of Myanmar (EFCM), said: “Thein Sein’s government claims there is religious freedom in the ‘democratic’ country of Burma. This is a test for reality.”
“If permission is neither granted nor responded, it is clear to say that the ideology of the old military regime on religious discrimination and persecution is still in practice,” added the Chin Christian pastor, originally from Mindat township of Chin State.
A 2012 report covering incidents between March 2004 and April 2012 across Chin State by the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) documented destruction of 13 Christian crosses, of which four were demolished under Thein Sein’s government.#