10/14/2013, 00.00
MYANMAR - HONG KONG
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Death of Kachin leader and father of a PIME missionary, Patrick Sin Wa Naw Tsumhpawng

by Gianni Criveller
Death due to head injury following a car accident. Active in the peace talks between the Burmese government and Kachin rebels, he was known for moderate positions. Recently worked as a volunteer at the Church of St. Columba, in Myitkyina. His son is PIME missionary in Hong Kong, the condolences of his confreres.

Myitkyina (AsiaNews) - On Saturday October 12th Mr Patrick Sin Wa Naw Tsumhpawng, father of PIME missionary in Hong Kong Augustine Zaw Aung, died for a severe head injury, due to a motorbike accident at Myitkyina, the capital city of  the Kachin State, Myanmar. Mister Sin Wa Naw was 65 years old, and was a prominently involved in the struggle and welfare of his people, the Kachin.
 
The Kachin are an ethnic group of nearly 1.300.000 people, populating the northernmost state of Myanmar, which borders with China and India. The Kachin have endured decades of brutal repression at the hands of the Burmese military, against which, starting from 1962, the Kachin has
waged a low-grade insurgency. Today the Burmese military is in control of major towns and lucrative jade mines, while the Kachin army maintains autonomous control in mountainous rural areas.  Unfortunately since June 2011 the violence and the oppression have intensified. At the same time Burma government and the Kachin have started peace talks that aim to put an end to the conflict.
 
Mister Sin Wa Naw was one of the participants in the peace talks between the Burmese Government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), which started on August 1st, 2011, held at Laja Yang Village, in the area controlled by the Kachin forces. Former American President
Jimmy Carter was also involved in the peace process. On October 10th, just two days before Mr Sin Wa Naw tragic death, the KIO and Burmese government reached a seven-point agreement to prepare for political dialogue. A joint committee will be set up to prevent further armed conflicts and for the cessation of hostilities. As a consequence an order was given on Friday 11th to Kachin fighters to temporarily stop attacking military targets, unless Burmese troops intrude on the territory controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization.
 
Patrick Tsumhpawng Sin Wa Naw was born in 1948 in Shalwi Yang Mare, Hopin City, Kachin State, Myanmar. In 1972 he graduated in Zoology, and then served as a high school teacher and, for many years, as Secretary of city council in Kamaing (Kachin State).  He had seven children, and
served as Catholic Catechist at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hpa Kant City (Kachin State) Myanmar. From 2002-2011 he was President of Kachin National Consultant Office in Myitkyina. In the last two years of his life he volunteered at St. Columban Church in Myitkyina and was involved in other social activities in the community.
 
In 2012 Sin Wa Naw visited his son Fr Augustine and PIME community in Hong Kong. During the meetings with PIME, Mr Patrick shared about the difficult struggle for freedom and dignity of his people. He was a very gentle, enjoyable, well educated, peace loving and politically moderate
person. He planned to travel to the USA to attend his daughter's wedding. However USA authorities did not grant him the visa, and Mr Patrick had no choice but reluctantly renounce this much anticipated family event.
 
Mr. Patrick's son, Fr Augustine, arrived in Hong Kong in 2009 and is currently serving at the Ss. Cosmas and Damian Parish, Tsuen Wan. He has recounted the story of the Kachin people and its Catholic community in the most recent DVD "The Unbroken Reeds", produced by the Hong Kong
Diocesan Audio Visual Centre.  It will be presented to the public on Saturday 26 October 2013 (3pm), at the 9th floor hall of the Catholic Diocese Centre (16, Caine Road).
 
Fr Augustine has taken a few days off to participate in his Father's funeral back home. To Fr Augustine and his family go our sincere condolences in this difficult moment. May his Father obtain from Heaven freedom, justice and peace for his people, the Kachin, a cause for which
he generously spent much effort.

 

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