'One refugee family’s long road to Christmas in Chicago'
The Thang family’s long journey to their first Christmas in Chicago started in the summer of 2004. That’s when government soldiers took the father, Khup Hau Thang, into the countryside against his will to cut bamboo for use in building a military camp.
The family lived near the remote town of Kalaymyo in western Burma, also known as Myanmar. Forced labor was common in Burma under the military regime ruling the country, and Thang, a farmer, had suffered through it previously.
As a member of the Chin ethnic group, a mostly Christian minority in the Buddhist-dominated nation, Thang was accustomed to such persecution. But this time, after three days of being forced to work in the sun without food or water, Thang fled.