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Maesai Baptist Chinese Boarding School
Maesai Chinese Baptist Church
300 Akha Children Taken From Their Mountain Homes, Villages, and Culture.
Conversion IS Violence
Financed By Hong Kong, Taiwanese and American Chinese Baptists
Protest the acts of Maesai Chinese Baptist Church
Pics of New Boarding School Coming Below
The money this school cost to build could be spent to give the Akha better control over their lands and lives.
Oh sorry, that wouldn't be very Christian now would it?
Maesai Chinese Baptist Church
Maesai, Chiangrai, 57130
Stop them cold!
"We don't need no forced conversion
We don't need your boarding schools
No dark discriptions of our culture
Missionary leave us kids alone
Hey, Missionary! Leave those Akha kids alone!"
Not Exactly Jesus
The Maesai Baptist Mission Boarding school was built at a cost of $500,000 US dollars in a rice bog 7 kilometers south of Maesai, to the west of the super highway. It is noteworthy for its big buildings, large red roofs and large cross, also the manner in which it looks totally out of place. Name on highway sign at Ban Chong is Bethel Bible Institute or something like that.
Built by the Maesai Baptist Chinese Church and working to displace the Akha hill tribe by use of Lisu pastors.
The culture of the Lisu has been mostly destroyed already.
We do not know what monthly operating cost is for this facility but mission staff stated their intent was to house up to 300 hill tirbe children for indoctrination into Chinese Christian Fundamentalism.
This is a gross violation of these Akha children?s rights. We are asking that this center be closed.
Simon, the pastor at Maesai Baptist told us that since the Forestry department wanted the Akha out of the mountains, it was ok to take their children and help the government in this fashion.
More reading below.
The Chinese Baptists of Maesai illustrate the Incredible Financial Desparity of the Maesai Baptist Boarding School .
Designed to relocate 300 hilltribe children to a rice bog.
Away from their mountain homes, cultures and family, because other people are
?more fit? to raise them than their own parents.
We protest this boarding school to the Thai Government, we hope you will too.
Human rights volunteers from Ireland report on the boarding school
Maesai Boarding School Report
Maesai, Chiangrai, Thailand
Aug. 25, 2001
Last June we (a couple from Ireland) came to Maesai to help out Matthew on his project. We saw a boarding school that was being built by the Maesai Chinese Baptist Church 7 kilometers outside Maesai, near the village of Ban Chong. Later we visited the missionaries at their base in Maesai to find out for whom the school was intended and also to ask them a few questions.
We spoke to the music teacher there who informed us that the school was intended for mostly Akha children, maybe some Lisu [if there were any traditional ones left]. She also told us that no Akha music would be taught to the children. Upon realising that we weren?t there to commend them on the school she told us that they were closing and that she couldn?t speak English. She then began working on a nearby computer. Another man present in the room, who seemed to be amused by what was going on, went to get someone who could speak English. A man and woman returned, by now a few more (seven altogether) had come to see what was going on, only three did the talking.
We asked them some questions about what they?d be teaching and found out, unsurprisingly, that no Akha music, history, culture, ?religion? would be taught to the Akha children. Obviously, they feel that anything to do with the Akhas is not good or important enough to be taught in school. The missionaries repeatedly said to us that the children would go home at weekends, but this hasn?t been the case in their other schools. It?s unlikely that it will happen here after the first few weeks, especially if the families have to pay for the long journey back to the mountains. This is why the missionaries are such are threat to the Akha culture, the children don?t learn anything about their heritage except that it?s something to be ashamed of. They are taught what the missionaries choose which is never pro-Akha. The result is that the children rarely return to their village to settle, choosing to go elsewhere and get jobs and marrying non-Akha. In the end there are Akhas scattered all over the place, living like millions of other people, with no culture and nothing to distinguish them from the rest of the masses. The villages fall apart and with no younger people to learn it, so does the traditional Akha way of life.
We also brought up about the many Akha women who have miscarried after receiving the tetanus vaccine whilst pregnant. Since they claim to care about the Akha what are they doing about this? Also, what about the murder of an elderly man, by the police, in a Christian village the week previously. They told us that they don?t get involved in these matters, that they are only here ?to do with Christ? and his teachings etc. We asked them why spend half a million dollars on a boarding school when most Akhas are living in poverty and the heads of the missionaries drive around in nice cars and live in big houses. Well, they give clothes to the villages! Note that the few clothes they do give are Western style tee shirts and trousers, which donbt compare to their hardwearing traditional dress.
Finally as their last line of defense they said that we had no right criticising them, as we didn?t know any Akhas, the Akha language or so far had not done anything to help them.
We returned to Maesai two weeks ago and here?s what we have done so far regarding the boarding school. We went out to the site and took photographs, which are up on the web site. We spoke to the
foreman on site who explained the layout, he also told us the cost ($450,000).
The compound, which will house up to 200 children, consists of two 2-storey dorms, a church, a school and a ?clubhouse?. It?s built 200 yards from a busy motorway on very marshy lands. There is no natural play area as the surrounding lands are cornfields. The only available play space will be the square area that the buildings enclose.
The location alone of the school will lead to problems:
1. The marshy land is the ideal habitat for mosquitoes which carry numerous diseases
2. The children are from highland homes and will be more susceptible to diseases that are common in the lowlands,
3. Herbicides, pesticides and insecticides are used in the surrounding fields, which can only be detrimental for their health.
4. The proximity to the motorway means they will be forced to inhale noxious fumes.
5. It?s in a Thai neighbourhood - Thai people, in general, look down on the hilltribes and treat them badly.
6. Buildings are not built using traditional Thai methods i.e. raised off the ground allowing airflow underneath keeping the building cool.
On the 23rd of August we visited the governor of Chiang Rai to see where he stood on the matter of the boarding school and also about signs that the missionaries had put up around Akha villages. A few days before we had gone out and took down these signs which translated as ? Believe in Jesus, Have Life Everlasting?. These signs serve to create a Christian and missionary presence in Christian and non-Christian Akha villages.
At the governor?s building we spoke to two men, one was representing the governor and the other translated. We gave them a letter outlining our concerns, mainly being that the boarding school will seriously damage the Akha people and their culture and that this, in turn will damage the tourism industry in the area. The latter, was mentioned in hope of arousing the governor?s interest and perhaps some concern in the situation.
The main points of the conversation are as follows:
He didn?t understand why we were there - did we want to teach in the school?
What did we want to happen since the school is built and has to be filled and also children need to go to school?
There was nothing wrong with the boarding school, why he went to boarding school in Europe [and look how well he turned out!]
Whatever the missionaries are going to teach the children is ok because every school must be approved by the Department of Education.
It doesn?t matter that they are Christians proselytising in a Buddhist country - Thailand is open to all religions.
No connection was made that it may damage tourism.
We showed them the sign we had taken down and asked what they thought. He (the translator) commented that he had seen them before on his way to Chiang Mai and that it was an issue for the highway department. The other man got quite angry when he saw the sign, either because the signs annoyed him or because we had brought one in - it was hard to tell for certain. He did take the photos and our letter. He was also very interested in who we were, which guesthouse we were staying and our travel plans.
To conclude, it?s obvious that the Akhas will not receive any concessions or assistance from the Thai government. The boarding school has got government backing and approval. Help for the Akhas is unlikely to come from within Thailand so must come from abroad. Ideas on how to stop the boarding school taking the children are welcome. Even if it goes ahead there are ways of creating problems for the missionaries and halting their progress of indoctrination Akha children and destruction of Akha culture.
It is further shameful that this boarding school is following the lead of other western backed boarding schools for hilltribe children in removing them from their village locations.
Note Ground water in the flat rice bog environment, will result in high humidity and sickness for these mountain children plus swarms of mosquitos.
A letter to an investigator:
This is a very serious matter.
I do not know the names of the people at the church. We are not exactly on
There are numerous administrators and pastors.
There are also numerous churches here.
It is very hard to get this information and the reason should be no mystery.
They don?t like people to know what they are doing.
The Church in Bangkok is very familiar with all of their operations however.
I have been working to safeguard the villages, and hold them together against
government attempts to take their land and force them to either starve or
In the Doi Mae Salong Area the Akha have already lost much of their land
while the Chinese plantation owners of tea, fruit and flowers prosper
enormously with increased farm holdings.
This same event is repeating itself elsewhere.
For this reason it is extremely serious that no children be taken from their
villages, not that it was ever good.
But at this time, any indication of a weakening village, less workers, only old
people, increases the government pressure to take more land or relocate the
As well, the Akha have a unique culture. It has never been necessary to
destroy their culture in order to tell them the inherent truths of Jesus.
Truths seperate from a western view of it, if you will.
Yet the Chinese missions here have taken great delite in villifying every aspect
of the culture in a black and white fashion which causes polarization on the
issue and villages to split. In other words if you are to believe in Jesus, you
must stop being Akha. Its that basic. Stop being who you are, and what you
This was first instituted by the catholics and others such as Paul Lewis in this
The Chinese missions here are basically American Baptist.
All of these missions I have alerted that they were creating an impending
In more and more villages they have made pay offs or struck fear in the
villagers if they did not convert.
Hua Mae Kom Akha village, over run.
Mae Chan Luang Akha village, Split
These two are just a couple.
All of the Chinese Baptist Missions are networked to the Maesai Chinese Baptist
Mission in Maesai, Chiangrai.
But there are many missions in this network, they have meetings, and there
are also American Chinese Baptist, American Baptist, and German missionaries
working in this same network.
The Chinese facilities are:
Maesai Baptist Church.
Maesai Lisaw Children?s Home
Huai Krai Mission
Huai Krai Mission ##
Haen Taek Chinese Church
Haen Taek Akha Boarding School
Haen Taek Chinese for Akha boarding school
Emanuel Gospel Fellowship at Huai Krai
(Ms. Sing? American Taiwanese, her mission has repeatedly tried to take over
the traditional villages in her area. After a take over there is no more practice
of the traditional knowledge system of the Akha or their orthodox
There are more, but I do not know where they are all located.
They now have many churches in the mountains, using Lahu and Lisaw to
pressure the more resistant AND INTACT Akha.
Besides this boarding school, counting the others, it adds up to hundreds more children.
You will not find any tradition left with any of these children. They are
required to convert.
This breaks the parent child link, made hard by distance already, to the oral
traditions and knowledge system that each Akha child learns.
The conditions of poverty in the villages are immense. Rather than fight
government policy, they take advantage of this incredible tragedy and pull
the children. They have pulled so many girls particularly that there are not
enough for the young men to marry. This is definitely a case of illegality at a
very tragic level. High grading the young women out of the community to
take ownership of them. They will seldom return and even more seldom
marry to Akha.
The Maesai Chinese Baptist mission is currently building a 300 bed boarding
school for pulling more Akha children out of the mountains far from their
traditional environment and family. Though this is a time tested formula for
getting money from donors it is WRONG.
Unfortunately American Missions set this precedent.
The 300 bed boarding school cost $450,000 US dollars to build, is nearly
complete. The land cost in addition to that.
The message to the children is that ?we can be better parents to you than Akha
We asked Maesai Baptist Church about this boarding school and the talked
desparagingly about the Akha community in the mountains.
They did not mention the growing Chinese Tea plantations, nor the fact that
the Akha land is very valuable and that children are needed in the villages.
Neither do they mention that there are numerous Thai schools near any one
village and that IN VILLAGE schools can easily be set up if they are not just
being set up to prosyletize.
In addition the cost of this boarding school sets a further horrible precedent
that it is just fine to do this if you have money.
Let me put it to you this way.
A tea processing plant, completely, capable of processing more than 10,000
kilos of tea per day, costs $150,000 to set up.
$10,000 will buy all of the tea plants needed to make an entire Akha village
economically independent in two years.
It will also help them to use the land THEY own for themselves rather than
being driven off by Tea barons and forestry.
$450,000 would buy tea for 40 Akha villages, there are only 282 in Thailand.
The economic contrast to such an expenditure is what Jesus was talking about.
Unfortunately the Chinese Baptist Church, nor their donors, can see this.
We are talking about taking 20% of the entire Thailand Akha community and
making them financially self sustainable.
To not do this, to rather spend this on compounds and mission facilities, for
relocating and seperating children must be called an incredible sin, if you are
to use religious terms.
As well, the location of the 300 bed boarding school is in the rice fields, in the
lowlands, 500 meters from the super highway. Akha?s are mountain people,
not mosquito and heat people. This will cause increased sickness and fever in
these children with further exposure to mosquito born illnesses and the illnesses
in the adjacent Thai communities such as AIDS. The incidents of AIDS is quite low
in the traditional Akha communities due to very strict religious belief.
As well, the entire property is surrounded by rice paddy, no suitable area to run
or play in of any size. Essentially the Christians are setting up prison camps for
the children of the poor.
Unfortunately the Chinese Baptist Church, nor their donors, can see this.
The other western missions are the same.
While the Akha battle the last war for their culture and heritage, people in the
name of Jesus, fail to protect it and help take it away, no, are the most
aggressive to take it away.
We have mounted an International campaign against this Boarding School and
all other similar models.
The Address for the Chinese Baptist Church is as follows.
I do not have an email for them or exact box number.
Maesai Chinese Baptist Church
Maesai, Chiangrai, 57130
They are affiliated with this church in Bangkok:
Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church
PO Box 50
Please fax: fax 66-2-225-0299
Thankyou for your concern and enquiry.
If you are interested to know the conditions that the Akha face at the
hands of different elements in the mountains, you may investigate the
forestry and police issues on
illustrates how these people are treated.
Though the Huai Krai German missionary has a church in this village, he did
not do anything to help investigate the beating death of this man.
I can testify to NO human rights effort being made on the part of any of these
missions to help defend the human rights or land rights of the Akha.
This illustrates the grave miscarriage of human concern and responsibility
which is occurring when money is spent in such a fashion while a community
of unique people, die.
WE MUST ASK if the church is so unwilling to stem the tragedy, and if they are
able to so prosper with projects that increase the tragedy, if they themselves
in a manner of wishful thinking are not creating or at least partners to the tragedy
that is befalling the Akha people.
And we might keep in mind that the Akha in Thailand and the Akha in China continue to
suffer under the hands of Chinese Drug Lords.
The Akha Heritage Foundation
Dear Matthew, reading all your emails and seeing your websites about
the plight of the Akha people has filled us with deep concern. Therefore, we
would like to know a bit more about the Baptist missionaries from Taiwan
that are working in Thailand. Since we are here in Taipei, where most of the
main offices of churches are located, we could express our protest directly
to them, using Chinese.
For that purpose we do have to know
1. which church exactly sent those missionaries,
2. how many there are and, if possible,
3. their names and any other details concerning them. Please try to send us the
necessary information, allowing us to directly contact the concerned
Bangkok Baptist Church denies what the Maesai Baptist Church is doing.
The Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church
591 Mitrichit Road, Pornprab
Bangkok 10100, Thailand
Letter to the Working group on Legal Anthropology
Dr. Rene Kuppe
March 4, 1999
Dear Dr. Rene
Re: Practice of Baptist Church in Akha Village
Thank your fax March 3, 1999. We are shock to hear from you. We are an old established church in this country, we are concerned as you do in prevent destruction of the cultures of ethnic minorities of any tribe.
Our mission outreach has worked among many groups. But no such action ever heard. We will be glad to help in investigate if you will give specific place, time, name and how such events happened; or any local connection in Thailand we can reached.
Dear Dr. Rene, please bear in mind that our church is ready to help to stop such acts. This is the reason we respond your fax immediately, even we never have such idea in mind.
God be with you,
Chairperson of the Mission Board