Christian Worship back in Wa State

The Kachin Post / November 25, 2019

Christian living in rural areas of Wa State in North Eastern Burma has been gradually emerged to hold worship service back, albeit the main Churches in towns are still locked down since September 2018.

The main Baptist Church in Wa capital Panghsang was still under confiscation by United Wa State Army (UWSA) and not allowed believers to worship, said a Panghsang resident, who is in condition of anonymity. However, Christians living in other towns and villages are allowed to worship unofficially.

In September and October of last year, UWSA shut down several dozens Churches mostly Baptist Churches which belong to Lahu Baptist Convention (LBC) and Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC). Over a hundred Church leaders and Pastors were detained, interrogated and deported from Wa State.

During the crackdown last year, Wa officials labelled Christians as extremist and sowing disunity amongst communities in its territory. However, Panghsang resident believes that one of the main reason behind the crackdown is the power struggle between daughters of supreme leader Bao Yu Xiang. The eldest daughter is believed to be spirits or Nats worshipper and some younger daughters are believers in Christ. One of the younger daughter is a leading member of the Panghsang Baptist Church, which was shut down and confiscated by United Wa State Army (UWSA).

The main Baptist Church in Panghsang was originally founded with the help of KBC and some key founders of the Panghsang Church are KBC members. KBC had dispatched its missionaries to Wa territory since 1980s.

Wa State was emerged 30 years a ago as a special territory in the country, after mutinied against the defunct Burma Communist Party and reached peace agreement with Burma Army. The territory was controlled by estimated 30,000 well-equipped United Wa State Army. UWSA also controls southern Wa State which is situated along the Thai-Burma border.