China Grows Wary as Kachin Conflict Intensifies

Refugees from Kachin State cook meals at a temporary camp by the Chinese border in May 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Refugees from Kachin State cook meals at a temporary camp by the Chinese border in May 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Chinese officials in Yunnan Province are watching warily as the conflict in neighboring Kachin State, which has intensified in recent weeks in areas near the Sino-Burmese border, continues to threaten to unleash a fresh influx of refugees from Burma.

So far, the situation appears to be under control. In Nabang, a city not far from the border, an official told The Irrawaddy that the number of refugees temporarily sheltering there is “less than a few thousand,” while other sources quoted by Chinese state media said that newcomers are still arriving “only in small groups.”

Many of those who have fled to Nabang are relatives of ethnic Kachins who hold Chinese nationality. The Kachin, known as Jingpo in China, are one of 56 recognized ethnic groups in the country.

While the situation remains relatively stable, however, police in Yinjiang, opposite the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) stronghold of Laiza, confirmed media reports that both the Chinese and Burmese governments have “increased their power” along the border to prevent large numbers of refugees from entering China.

According to the official in Nabang, no further measures are being taken at the moment to deal with the situation.

The war in Kachin State has also attracted the attention of officials in Beijing. On Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said that “China follows closely the development of the situation” in Kachin State, and hopes Naypyidaw will “ease the tension through peace negotiations.”

The spokesperson declined, however, to confirm reports that China has sent troops the border to protect the lives and property of those living in the area.

On Wednesday, China’s government-run Global Times newspaper reported that additional checkpoints had been set up near the border, while an official was quoted as saying that an increase in troop activity in the area was part of a regular border drill, and not a response to the Kachin fighting.

According to a reporter for a local newspaper, few military vehicles have been seen on the road from Nabang to the border in recent days.

“The main force is a small number of special police who have been patrolling the area over the past 24 hours,” said the reporter.

2 Responses to China Grows Wary as Kachin Conflict Intensifies

  1. KIA should send in suicide bombers to destroy the DSA in Ba Htoo. This will delay the production of killers and rapists for a few years, and buy the Kachin a few more years of peace. If needed, attack the power generating facilities and refineries. This will bring burmese economic to a halt and they will have more time to sit down in the dark and think hard of their misdeeds against the Kachin.

    Burmen came out in tens of thousands to protest when they themselves were being oppressed. Now that they are too busy making money, they forget about those who still remain oppressed by the very same government.

  2. China can’t have everything. If they want the Myitsone dam, copper from Letpadaung, jade from Phakant, the gas/oil pipeline, Shwe gas, naval base at Kyaukphyu, real estate in Mandalay, Rangoon, Lashio, etc. etc. they might have to support Min Aung Hlaing and his troops. China is a selfish greedy hypocritical double-tongued Dragon. The poor rural Kachin farmers should know that by now but the KIA war-lords with their golf-courses at Laiza are mostly a bunch of selfish smugglers without a deep understanding of China’s global strategy (string-of-pearls etc.), but they still like to suck up to the local Chinese bosses in Yunnan. The Burmese (ex-)generals and their business cronies (tycoons like Steven Law son of the infamous drug-lord Lo Hsin Hang, Tayza, Zaw Zaw etc.) have deeper ties to China (in other words they are bribed with more money by the Chinese) and are involved in many of these destructive exploitative “infrastructure” mega-projects all for the Glory of the Great Leapfrog Forward of the Han Civilisation. It’s all about corrupt “guanxi” dirty business stuff under the thin political propaganda façade!

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