28 May 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  •    - Brunei
  •    - Cambodia
  •    - East Timor
  •    - Indonesia
  •    - Laos
  •    - Malaysia
  •    - Myanmar
  •    - Philippines
  •    - Singapore
  •    - Thailand
  •    - Vietnam
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 01/29/2015, 00.00


    Chin Christians ready to go to jail to stop cross removal

    Francis Khoo Thwe

    Built by members of the Christian community in Hakha, the 16-metre cross targeted by local authorities stands on a hill that overlooks the state capital. Since it lacked the proper permit, the authorities ordered the cross' removal and said that they would prosecute its builders. "If the authorities say I have to go to jail, I am not afraid; I am ready to go to jail for this case," a Chin Christian said. For human rights activists, such an action "continues a decades-long pattern of religious discrimination against Chin Christians."

    Yangon (AsiaNews) - The authorities in Chin State, western Myanmar, have issued a demolition order for a 16-metre cross (pictured) built by a group of Christians on a hill overlooking Hakha. They are also pressing ahead with charges against a local Christian, Tial Cem, a Chin elder who was involved in building the Christian symbol.

    In reporting the latest case of religious freedom violation in Myanmar, the Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) said that local authorities also imposed a deadline, tomorrow, for the removal of the cross on Caarcaang hill.

    For the State Government, backed perhaps by Myanmar's central authorities, the cross was built last April "without the necessary permits." What is more, the pinewood used in the structure was cut illegally and without prior permission from state authorities.

    For these two "crimes," some members of the local Christian community could go trial, including Tial Cem himself, and JP Biak Tin Sang, another Christian involved in the project.

    A CHRO report indicate that Chin Christians' right to worship was subject to restrictions and constraints in the past. The authorities have not allowed them to build churches or use religious symbols and have torn down at least 13 crosses in various parts of the state, four under the current government alone.

    For this reason, Christians in the state capital of Hakha did not seek permission before putting up of their cross, knowing full well that it would not be granted.

    Now Tial Cem faces up to two years in prison for "illegally" cutting pine trees, this despite the fact that they were taken from the property of JP Biak Tin Sang, who is also Christian.

    Tial Cem himself has no intention of giving his work and insisted that he "would not remove the cross".

    "We will have to face whatever it takes," he explained. "If the authorities say I have to go to jail, I am not afraid; I am ready to go to jail for this case".

    Against this background, Chin Christians are planning a major rally in defence of religious freedom, even if the authorities seem unwilling to issue the necessary permit.

    For CHRO's Executive Director Salai Bawi Lian Mang, "This order to dismantle and remove the cross continues a decades-long pattern of religious discrimination against Chin Christians".

    Still, he hopes the authorities will "allow the cross to remain where it is and drop the charges against Tial Cem."

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    17/04/2009 MYANMAR
    Kachin Christians forced to pay tax for Buddhist holiday
    The festival of Thingyan marks the start of the Burmese New Year with water games and activities related to water. Military junta officials imposed a “fixed tax” and go house to house to enforce it. Military rulers claim to be good Buddhists and discriminate against religious minorities.

    05/05/2006 MYANMAR
    Myanmar's prisons running out of medicines

    Human rights activists and the families of political prisoners have made the allegations. Myanmar's military junta has not allowed the Red Cross to visit the country's prisons for four months.

    28/11/2006 MYANMAR
    Myanmar forces Red Cross to close 5 centres

    The centres used to deliver humanitarian aid to members of ethnic minorities. Already banned from visiting political prisoners, the agency's work in the country has been terminated by this latest move of the junta.

    02/12/2015 INDONESIA
    Jakarta can stop discrimination but is unwilling to do so
    The central government could reverse local regulations but instead turns a blind eye. According to the Setara Institute, Indonesia has 57 laws that affect minority rights. For Human Rights Commission official, “Local authorities are the worst violators of religious freedom”. This “shows the weakness of the central government”.

    23/03/2011 BHUTAN
    Archbishop on secret visit to Bhutan’s Christians, first in 18 years
    Bhutan’s Christian community is growing, but authorities have forbidden all forms of proselytism, will not allow the building of churches and the public in celebration of masst. Msgr. Menamparampi, Archbishop of Guwahati (India), speaks to AsiaNews about the lives of the small Bhutanese Christian communities, many of which are never visited by a prelate. Comparing them with the first community of Acts of the Apostles, the Archbishop describes the zeal and courage of these faithful, largely Protestant, witnesses of Christ, despite government abuses and restrictions.

    Editor's choices

    The persecution of Catholics during the Cultural Revolution

    Sergio Ticozzi

    The documentation of that violent period was burned or buried in archives. Only a few survivors speak. The persecutors are silent in fear. The burning of religious objects and furnishings in Hebei. Bishops humiliated and arrested in Henan; nuns beaten with sticks and killed, or buried alive. A persecution that "is not over yet"; Today it is perhaps only more subtle.

    Silence shrouds 50th anniversary of Cultural Revolution in China and in the West

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The bloody campaign launched by Mao Zedong killed nearly 2 million people and sent  a further 4 million to concentration camps. Every Chinese has been marked by fear. But today, no memorial service has been planned and no newspaper article has appeared. The Party’s internal struggles and Xi Jinping’s fear of ending up like the USSR. Even today, as then, there are those in Europe who keep quiet and laud the myth of China. Many are predicting a return to the "great chaos".



    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®