Kachin Refugees Forced Home by China

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Kachin refugees who fled the ongoing ethnic conflict in northernmost Burma to live in temporary shelters in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province have started to return home due to growing pressure from the Chinese authorities.

There are an estimated 4,000 Kachin civilians who crossed over the border to seek refuge in China after fighting between the government and ethnic rebel Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) resumed in June last year.

Around 700 have already been resettled in KIO-controlled camps over the past few days, Kachin relief worker Mai Li Awng told The Irrawaddy, with another wave of 600 refugees arriving in Kachin State on Wednesday. She said that Chinese soldiers and police are rushing the return of refugees.

“The Chinese authorities destroyed all shelters immediately after the refugees left them. Some refugees haven’t gone back to Kachin and were waiting to return home, but their huts were already destroyed by Chinese soldiers,” said Mai Li Awng.

“The refugees feel sad about that. They feel that they are not welcome.”

Another group of refugees returned to the KIO-controlled Nya Naung Pan Camp in Mashi Township, southern Kachin State, near the border with northern Shan State, said Mai Li Awng. However, the total number of returnees was not immediately available.

“The elderly and young children are vulnerable groups and get sick when they get wet from the rain,” said Mai Li Awng. The refugees will be looked after by the KIO and local non-governmental and community-based organizations.

There are more than 2,000 refugees remaining in three temporary shelters in China, according to local reports. They will also be forced to return home and will require local assistance upon arrival.

More than 60,000 people have been displaced because of hostilities between the government and KIO in northern Burma, claim humanitarian groups, with most remaining displaced families living in rebel-controlled territory.

Although government negotiators have held several rounds of peace talks with KIO leaders over the past few months, there has been little progress towards a ceasefire. The KIO is one of the strongest ethnic armed groups in Burma with an estimated 15,000 fighting troops.

The Chinese authorities explained that they were repatriating the refugees as they have no agreement with the United Nations to provide shelters on their territory. They said that thousands of the displaced have lived on their land for over a year and so now it is time for them to return.

Human Rights Watch reported in June that forcing Kachin refugees to return to the conflict zone would put them at great risk and create a pervasive fear of forced relocations among those who remain in Yunnan Province.


10 Responses to Kachin Refugees Forced Home by China

  1. “The Chinese authorities…have no agreement with the United Nations to provide shelters on their territory”,
    In that case, let me ask you China how long Myanmar has harbored those Chinese living in Myanmar? There are more Chinese living in Myanmar than those Kachin refugees staying in your Communist-flourished country. Is it an exhibition of Communist-like kindness to mankind?

  2. A Burmese Freedom Fighter

    Both Burmese Army and KIA are responsible for deplorable situation of Kachin people. What spring in my mind in the wake of this news is the sincerity of both KIA and Burmese Army in finding a solution without taking any advantage of current political development in Burma! While most ethnic armed groups are able reach cease-fire with the U Thein Sein government, KIA is noticeably standing alone in arm-conflicts with it even though KIA was one of the noticeable one cooperating with the previous military regime in the past.

    The puzzle of these divided-rule and war-game with the lives of ordinary people is beyond my reach, eating up inside of me, and it is corrosives hazardous to living standard of our people and country development. Blaming and shaming on each other will only get worse for the Kachin people and the development of our nation.

    It is time for both side to grow sincerity, tolerance and empathy to stop what have been going wrong on both sides for resorting to violence with the expectation of gaining more than what both side had enjoyed before present government. My heart completely goes out to the suffering of Kachin people in this so prolonged – civil war, unfairly waged by succeeded regime of Burma.

    I hope, in my life time, I will witness the overcoming of all these unbearable torments in victory of the fight for equal right, autonomy, and self determination under the federal system. As I am typing this, I do really feel sorry, angry, frustrated and dying for why, and how the hell on earth, the whole world is not giving more urgently needed-attention to ongoing war in Kachin State, rather than communal riots in Rakhine State.

    A Burmese Freedom Fighter

  3. Chinese way of handling problem. Cut off ties with the Red China.

  4. World Body must intervene directly to this conflict.
    Kachins feel hey are ignored by the International Communities and leave them in the hand of State Sponsored Criminals with license to torture and kill.
    Kachin will never end until their rights are granted, enough is enough. We Kachin can no longer take the lies of the successive Governments of Burma. We may be tiny, but will never surrender and will confront the unjust war until a drop of blood left.

  5. what a sad news….. but what is real behind this !? what is your opinions ?!

  6. Bama military thugs first invade Kachin land and rent out Kachin land to China. It is the main reason for fighting each other. I am fed up to hear Pinglong agreement or federalism. Those will not be implemented because of bamanization from than shwe and thein sein for their unethical behavior in their low standard and class. China is worrying about the Kachin refugees who will permanently settle in China in future as long as Than shwe continues to kill Kachin. Than shwe might want more Kachin refugees to settle in China land. In return, than shwe might bargain with China for asking more favorable term again from China if for opening the power plant or not in Burma. Than shwe is playing the game as he thinks he is more smarter than China because he learns stupid psychology in Burma. What he learns in psychology is how to torture and kill his opponents cruelly. Than shwe might think that politically, he gains a lot in Rohingha issue because he gets huge donation as well as few support from local some naive Arakanese. For those creating dirty tricks, than shwe thinks he will get more international attention for gaining more bargaining power against US,EU, UK, China as well. Than shwe knows that UN is paper tiger(Chairman Moa’s word). One question is that why Kachin does not seek refugee status in other neighbors, especially India in every fighting. Where is the Kachin’s descent(China or India)?Thein sein declares that he wants Rohingya to be accepted by third world countries as refugees(not being burmese ethnics) but he does not tell the reason that Burma is the most poorest country in the world. So thein sein said it is immigration issue. So, China is worrying about that remark after hearing thein sien’s claim to sell Rohingya to other countries if rich Muslim does not donate money to poor Burma. Than shwe and thein sein have no ability to create successful local economy in addition to their paranoid personality.

  7. Clearly a work of Kachin puppet government and their business partner Yunnan government. This also shows incapability of the KIO to refuse Chinese demand. Nobody should be forced to return and reportedly this has been the case.

    Why can’t the international community, China in particularly, help resolve the underlying grievances first? Thein Sein government cannot stop the war; so he put pressure on the Kachin government to negotiate with China as for Thein Sein the dual pipelines due to be accomplished by January 2013 out valued the Kachins’ lives. The Kachin government shows its true colour that they are loyal to – the central government against its own kin. The KIO cannot deny China but they be better prepared to protect the very people that gives the KIO its legitimacy.

  8. If China welcomed Kachin as her own people, Burma would be more concerned.

    So, be grateful.

  9. Its also time to go home for millions of Chinese Refugees in Burma.

    China is rich now, so Chinese Refugees should go back to their mother land.

    Chinese Refugees are flooding Mandalay town. The town owners Mandalites are living poorly in suberb of Mandalay.

    While arrogant Chinese live in downtown Mandalay.

    • Those arrogant Chinese “refugees” in Mandalay or elsewhere came with money that benefit Myanmar. How else they live in downtown?

      Don’t worry though as soon as they make you poor, since you’re unable or don’t to compete with them, they’ll leave without a backward glance on narrow minded people like you.

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