Mon 30 Apr 2007
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
The Prison Charity Foundation (PCF) established by Christians in Chin state to help inmates, was shut down by the Burmese military regime on March 4.
â€œIntelligence officers came and told us to change the name of the foundation without giving any reason,â€ Rev. Dr. Joseph, a member of PCF told Khonumthung News.
The military authorities ordered the PCF to remove the word â€œPâ€ (Prison) and call the foundation the — â€œCharity Foundationâ€ (CP). The PCF office in Yangon was closed because PCF refused to erase â€œPâ€, according to Rev. Dr. Joseph.
The junta it seems is uncomfortable with the word â€œprisonâ€ and views the move of PCF members, who preach in prisons, as trying to convert inmates to Christianity. And the number of converts is increasing.
According PCF records that from 1992 to 2007, over 25,000 prisoners were converted to the Christian religion.
The PCF office in Bahan Township , Yangon was closed by the authorities while Rev. Dr. Joseph was travelling. Later, his wife and three sons were taken into custody for sometime.
Dr. Joseph said, â€œThey told my wife to call me back promising to release her. She promised them that she would call him back. As soon as they released her, we managed to run awayâ€.
Dr. Joseph and his family are taking refuge in Malaysia as authorities have issued an arrest warrant after his office was shut down.
Rev. Dr. Joseph said that the PCF group worked for social needs, offered food and medicine to inmates in 21 concentration camps out of 115 in Myanmar . Over 450
members of the PCF also prayed and preached Christian religion for inmates in some prisons camps.
Although the PCF office is closed, other members are said to be continuing their mission. But they cannot function freely as before.
PCF was established in Hakha, the capital of Chin state in 1992 to help prisoners facing various problems. It was shifted to Yangon in 2001 in order to extend the work of the mission.