Monday, April 18, 2011

Gov't orders a Catholic church to remove cross

Monday, 18 April 2011 21:12 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A 15-foot crucifix on a hill in Daungpan Village near the  Myitsone Dam Project in Kachin State must be taken down, according to local authorities.

According to a source close to a local Catholic Church, the cross, which was constructed years ago out of bricks and concrete, must be removed.  It was unclear why the order was given.

The Myitsone Dam project is a joint venture by Asia World Company, China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC) and the central government.

The Myitsone Dam project will block the natural flow of the Maykha River, which is a location for gold prospectors in Kachin State. Photo: Mizzima

‘The crucifix on the hill is a symbol of our religion’, a Christian leader told Mizzima. A deadline of March 26 has passed, and so far the cross remains in place.

He said that on April 12 church leaders met with the authorities and representatives of the two companies, who stressed that the dam was a project of the central government and it should not be opposed, according to a religious leader.

The authorities did not say where the cross should be relocated, the church official told Mizzima.

Similarly, authorities ordered the removal of a Baptist cross in Mali Nami Zup in Kachin State.

The Electric Power Ministry and CPIC launched the Myitsone Dam Project in late 2007.  The area is near the Sagaing earthquake zone. Despite strong opposition from conservationists and activists, the project is moving forward.

Soe Thura Tun, a geologist and  the secretary of the Myanmar Earthquake Studies Committee, said that although large cities in Kachin State are out of the earthquake zone, the Myitsone Dam area is located 14 miles from the earthquake zone.

Because of the project, an estimated 10,000 people from 40 villages were forced to move to a new settlement area called Sanpya Village.  Many residents say that the new location makes it difficult for them to make a living.
Friday, April 15, 2011

Burmese Thingyan in Chiang Mai