Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
China repatriates Kachin refugees: priest
An estimated 600 refugees have been sent to a new camp in KIO-controlled territory in MyanmarKachin refugees at a camp in Nongdao district in Yunnan province
- John Zaw, Mandalay
- August 23, 2012
Father Stephen Zaw Min Latt said Chinese police arrived on Wednesday at two camps in Nongdao district in Yunnan province to begin repatriating some of the estimated 4,500 Kachin refugees in makeshift camps in the provinceâ€™s Nongdao district.
â€śAbout 600 refugees have already been relocated to a new area in KIO [Kachin Independence Organization] territory, with Chinese authorities arranging transportation,â€ť said Fr. Zaw, who has provided relief aid to refugees in Yunnan province.
The priest, from Banmaw diocese in Kachin state, said another 130 families were relocated on Thursday morning, with 20 of them moving to the new camp and 110 others opting for a Catholic Church-run camp in Mang Wing in Kachin state.
â€śIt was like hell yesterday when Chinese police came to guard the refugee camps and force the refugees to leave,â€ť Fr. Zaw said.
â€śSome of the families had fled the camps the previous night for fear that they would be forced by police to leave.â€ť
The repatriation was part of negotiations between Chinese authorities and officials of the Kachin Independence Organization that began last month, and which proposed relocating refugees to a new camp in Lana Zup, according to a report by the Kachin News Group.
Analysts from Kachin state have suggested that Chinese police were repatriating Kachin refugees incrementally and in small numbers to avoid scrutiny and condemnation from the international community.
A Kachin man who said he witnessed the relocation but declined to give his name out of fear for his safety told ucanews.com: â€śChinese police confiscated cameras from people who were photographing the refugeesâ€™ relocation.â€ť
However, a report today in Chinaâ€™s English language newspaper Global Times quoted authorities in Yunnan province and the consulate general of Myanmar in Kunming as denying that China had forcibly repatriated refugees or put pressure on the KIO to encourage them to leave.
The article further noted that officials in Ruili, on the China border with Myanmar, had also denied receiving any orders to return refugees to Kachin state.
Fighting between Myanmar government forces and the Kachin Independence Army broke out in June last year, ending a 17-year ceasefire and displacing tens of thousands of people.
Up to 10,000 Kachin refugees have crossed the Chinese border into Yunnan province since that time, according to a recent report by New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Kachin refugees fear ouster from China