No Christmas celebration allowed in Panghsang

The Kachin Post / December 24, 2019

Christmas celebration in public is not allowed in Panghsang, the capital of Burma’s semi-autonomous Wa State, even though most of the Christian Churches have been reopened a year after shutting down by Wa authorities.

Christian in town can only observe the Christmas at home due to the main Pangshang Baptist Church is not reopened yet, said a Panghsang resident who is in condition of anonymity. More than fifty Churches got permission to reopen from Wa authorities in early of this month. Most of the Churches belong to Lahu Baptist Convention (LBC).

In September and October of 2018, over a hundred Churches belong to LBC and Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) were shut down . More than two hundreds of Church members and some Pastors were detained and later released most of them.

Panghsang Baptist Church has been recently signalled to reopen, but Wa authorities haven’t handed over to Church members yet, said the resident. Wa authorities also haven’t released five Church members who were detained since last year crackdown on Christian Churches. One of them is a preacher of the Church.

The Panghsang resident believe that Wa authorities do not like Wa nationals to become converted Christians. They want Wa people to keep the tradition Spirit or Nat worship, he said. Majority Wa people are animist and they were once well know as “Wild Wa” by the British due to their practice of head hunting.

The anonymous source think that the growing numbers of Christian within the Wa people seems to become ungovernable citizens in the eyes of Wa authorities.

Wa State is ruled by its supreme leader Boa Yuxiang and his United Wa State Army, which is the largest armed organization apart from Burma Army in the country.