Three Burmese Chin Christians Forced to Convert to Buddhism

Chin people in unidentified area of Burma in 2007. Wikipedia – Corto Maltese.

Local authorities in western Burma (Myanmar) last month forced three Chin Christians to convert to Buddhism, area sources said, according to Morning Star News.

In Ann Township in southern Rakhine state, five local officials led by U Tin Shwe Maung took two ethnic Chin Christians from their homes in Padi Kyin village to a monastery on May 24 and threatened to expel them from the village if they did not convert to Buddhism, according to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).

Forcing pastor U Aung Thin and a member of his 30-member house church who requested anonymity to sign documents stating their conversion to Buddhism before the Buddhist monk in charge of the monastery, the officials also threatened that the two Christians would be fined 100,000 kyats (US$80) if they engaged in Christian activities, villagers told CHRO.

Previously local officials have demanded money from other Christians, according to area Christians.

Morning Star News reported that in a separate case the next day (May 25), a Buddhist monk took Padi Kyin village Christian U San Tin Aung to a village administration office and compelled him to sign documents stating conversion to Buddhism or else he would be expelled from the village, according to CHRO.

“We released a statement publicly to let the Burmese government know that ethnic Chin people in Padi Kyin village were forced to convert to Buddhism,” CHRO Field Director Salai Terah told Morning Star News. “We are trying to travel to that area to find out and solve the problem.”

Village officials have told CHRO leaders that they do not want them to visit, and Terah said doing so now would only worsen treatment of Chin Christians there.

“We can’t travel there at the moment because local authorities and local residents don’t want us,” he said.

Christians told CHRO that after the men signed the documents, area officials again threatened to expel them from the village if they continued practicing Christianity.

The officials also banned the three men from visiting the homes of Christians and doing business with them. Authorities patrol the village announcing through a loudspeaker that if the three men fail to obey, they will be fined 100,000 kyats (US$80) each, local sources told CHRO.

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SOURCE: Assist News