(October 2018) This month, Kachin Christians in Myanmar faced persecution from both Myanmar’s state army and from the United Wa State army. Churches have been destroyed and replaced with Buddhist temples. Christians have been expelled from their homes. Humanitarian aid has been cut off.
According to Uppsala University’s Conflict data program, China has a history of sending more funds to the United Wa State Party than to Myanmar’s official national government itself. This, in addition to the close proximity of recent persecution to the Myanmar-Chinese border and China’s continued opposition to the UN examining cases such as the Kachin and the Rohingya Muslims causes several sources—including Christian Solidary Worldwide—to suspect that the Chinese are encouraging and funding this persecution. NGO China Aid reports that the Wa State Army’s persecution of Christians began shortly after an American pastor who had been establishing schools in the area, John Cao, was arrested.
North Carolina pastor John Cao (Photo: ChinaAid)
“Whether or not China supports the persecution of the Kachin, it is happening,”
Voice of the Martyrs representative Hyun Sook Foley says.
“The question is not, ‘Who is persecuting the Kachin,’ but instead ‘What are Christians around the world doing in response to their suffering?’”
Representative Foley explains that many Kachin feel as if the church around the world has forgotten them. Global Christian media frequently report on the condition of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, but few are reporting on the current persecution of the Kachin people.
Further, she says that the Kachin situation is a reminder to Christians around the world that changing a government often doesn’t mean an improvement in the situation for persecuted Christians.
“Our experience with persecuted Christians is that they do not rely on the political process to bring change to their lives. Instead, they rely on God for that and pray for whoever their leaders are to come to know Christ. Regardless of their situation, they try to be faithful to Christ and leave the political solution in God’s hands.”
“Pray with the Kachin Christians that they, themselves, will be the light of Christ to all the political forces that oppose them,”
Representative Foley urges.
To learn more about the church in Myanmar, read Voice of the Martyrs Korea’s Myanmar country profile. You can also visit the Voice of the Martyrs Korea website (www.vomkorea.com) to read the profiles of the more than 70 other countries around the world where Christians are persecuted.