Bomb Explodes at Chinese-Backed Factory in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 11 June 2021

A bomb exploded at a Chinese-backed clothing factory in Ayeyarwady Region on Friday morning.

It is the latest attack on a Chinese-owned business in Myanmar after arson attacks on factories in the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone in Yangon in March.

The blast in Pathein, the capital of Ayeyarwady Region, came less than a month after coup leader Min Aung Hlaing’s assurance to Chinese-language Phoenix TV that the junta will protect all foreign investments.

Witnesses said the explosion occurred at Huabo Times Textile and Clothing Company. Details about damage and casualties are not known.

The security forces arrived shortly after the blast.

According to the junta-controlled Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, the factory registered to make clothing in Myanmar in 2016.

Three Chinese citizens are listed as company directors.

In March, during bloody crackdowns on protesters in Hlaing Tharyar, some Chinese-owned factories burned down.

The Global Times, a Chinese government mouthpiece, claimed 32 factories built with Chinese investment had been attacked, looted or burned, causing around US$37 million (61 billion kyats) in damage. Beijing demanded that the junta act against the perpetrators and protect Chinese citizens and interests.

The junta blamed anti-regime protesters. Activists condemned Beijing’s demands and denied the allegations, saying the arson attacks were a plot by the military to justify harsher crackdowns.

Min Aung Hlaing visited the destroyed factories in Hlaing Tharyar in April.

Late last month, 28 people were sentenced to 20 years in prison with hard labor by a military court for arson attacks on two Chinese-backed factories in March.

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