Thousands of Catholics marched on 28th May 2018, through the streets of Myitkyina, the capital of the State of Kachin, in the name of peace in Myanmar. Last May 24, the diocese published a letter inviting all citizens to the prayer march. The document made it clear that it was not a political manifestation. On 28th May, Msgr. Francis Daw Tang, bishop of the city, led the procession and prayed with the demonstrators, among whom there were also many Protestants and non-Christians. This is the first public demonstration by Kachin Catholics for peace: he urged them to march through the streets of Myitkyina raising the alarm about their situation.
The bishops of Northern Myanmar issue a declaration every year to ask for peace in the country. However, the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Episcopal Conference (CBCM) does not usually make official statements on the Kachin question. For this reason, Card. Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and the first cardinal of Myanmar, is often criticized by Kachin Catholic communities around the world. They accuse him of being more interested in the humanitarian emergency affecting the Rohingya Muslims, compared to the suffering of the persecuted and displaced Kachin Christians.
Starting last April, in the north and east of Myitkyina, the armed clashes between the Tatmadaw [the Burmese army] and the rebels of the Kachin Independence Army (Kia) were reignited. It is the ethnic army of the Kachin minority, which has a large Christian component of 40% Catholics and 60% Baptists. Usually, villagers in areas affected by the conflict are allowed to flee and escape. However, this time the government army did not allow displaced civilians (IDPs) to save themselves. The Naypyidaw Armed Forces detained the Idp hostage near military bases, using them as human shields so that the rebel army Kachin will not attack them.