on Sunday, January 30th for Persecuted Chin Christians in Burma
January 20, 2005
Dear friends and Chin supporters,
Chin Human Rights Organization invites you to join a global action in protest of the latest destruction of a Christian cross in Chin State by Burma’s ruling military regime. We call on all Chin people in and outside of Chinland, friends and supporters of Burma’s human rights and democratic movement around the world to observe Sunday, January 30th as a Day of Prayer for persecuted Chin Christians in Burma. We especially encourage Chin communities and supporters living in the capital cities of Asia, Europe and North America to stage a protest in front of Burmese Embassy.
On January 3, 2005, the Burmese military regime has destroyed yet another Christian cross in Matupi Township of Southern Chin State. Measuring 50 feet in height and built with solid concrete by multi-denominational churches in Matupi, the cross was considered to be one of the few remaining crosses in Chin State. During the last several years beginning in mid 1990s, the military regime has dismantled at least half a dozen crosses in Matupi, Tonzang, Hakha, Falam and Thantlang townships and has demolished several church buildings. In many cases, through illegal taxes and forced labour exacted from local Christians, the military regime has built Buddhist pagodas to replace these crosses.
The regime has no justifiable cause for the removal of those crosses and construction of Buddhist pagodas in a land where the people are predominantly Christians. The intent behind its action, however, is unmistakably clear. The regime is vigorously pursuing a policy of religious persecution against Chin Christians in order to expand the influence of Buddhism in Chinland. The ultimate goal is to gain control of the Chin people by annihilating their culture, religion and ethnic identity. The destruction of crosses, church buildings and persecution of Christian religious leaders are evidently designed to crush the will and psychology of Chin Christians to preserve and defend their religious, cultural and ethnic identity.
While the military junta alone is responsible for encroaching upon religious freedom and persecuting Chin Christians under the guise of national unity, we invite people of all religion including our Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu friends to join us in prayer for Chin Christians in Burma.
The military regime has persistently ignored calls by the United States and the larger international community to respect human rights and religious freedom of all its citizens. But we can together help to ameliorate the suffering of our people by showing to the world we are united against the reprehensible actions of the Burmese military junta.
An internationally synchronized action is certain to bring an impact on our cause. It is high time that we act together in unity and send a strong message to the junta it cannot get away with its reprehensible actions.
Chin Human Rights Organization