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Malaysia

Pastor Bu Naing Ling, 58

Dai Chin refugees from Chin State in Burma, now living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

In southern Chin state, Buddhism is being spread by the government who offer inducements to people to convert (over 90% of Chins practice Christianity). In 1981 I became a Christian and started preaching in the villages but they took away my travel documents. I was banned from preaching, I was threatened and had to stop building the church I had been building.

I had to report to the local authorities every night and pay them bribes. Many other preachers like me were forced to work and interrogated regularly. I endured this for many years until I finally decided to leave in August 2009. With the help of traffickers we traveled by foot and by car, often by night and with little or no food.┬áIt took us two weeks to get to Kuala Lumpur with my family. I borrowed money and sold all my wife’s jewelry to pay the traffickers but I still owe them money for the journey. My wife is working here and I’m preaching. When we have some money we send it to the traffickers. They keep calling us and are charging interest on our debts.

In 2010 I was arrested in a raid on our building. I spent nearly five months in prison. Now I have a UNHCR card but I still find it difficult here. I wish we could be resettled because my kids can’t go to school here.