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History of Chin as Refugees

The United States classifies people groups as refugees for several reasons,
including:
1. Ethnic Persecution. The Chin are a persecuted ethnic minority people
group. The ruling military junta are Burmer.
2. Religion Persecution. The Chin are 98% Christian. The Burmer military is a
violent variant of Buddhism.
3. Political Persecution. Chin were seen as threats by the Buddhist military
junta who rules the country because they supported Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,
the pro-democracy candidate in the 1990 general election, which she won
handily.
Instead of recognizing the results of the election, the military made her
prisoner and began to go after those who had supported her. The Chin
overwhelmingly did not support the military, so government began to kill
their leaders/pastors, harass and intimidate the people with forced labor
camps, rape, and beatings.

Many Baptist pastors were either killed and their bodies draped across the
podiums of their churches to intimidate their congregations or they were
sent off to labor camps. At that time, many Chin fled their country to India,
Thailand and Malaysia.

The U.S. and other countries, through the UN, offered to take a certain
number of Chin as political refugees. In the aftermath of 9/11, the
resettlement stopped because there was some question as to whether the
Chin had fought against their government, which was ground for denial from
the U.S. However, the Chin were eventually granted exemption, and the
resettlement to the United States has been going strong ever since.

In November 2010, Myanmars ruling junta stated that its party, the Union
Solidarity and Development Party, won 80% of the votes. This claim was
widely disputed by pro-democracy opposition groups, asserting that the
military regime engaged in rampant fraud to achieve its result. However,
shortly after, the military authorities in Burma released the pro-democracy

leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, she was elected to Parliament, and she was able to
leave the country for a visit to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.

In early 2013, some Chin who have become U.S. citizens have traveled back
to Chin State and were not harassed. However, economic conditions for the
Chin remain deplorable: No education, no health care, no employment.
Because of the changing political climate, the U.S. State Department has
announced that it will begin shutting down the resettlement program for the
people of Burma in three to five years. But they will first resettle the 30,000
Chin who are still in Malaysia, mostly to either the United States or Australia.
Only those who have friends or relatives already in Lewisville will be resettled
here.