China Denies Turning Back Kachin Refugees

By Nyein Nyein 18 January 2017

The Chinese Embassy in Burma rejected reports that China had blocked Burmese refugees fleeing fighting in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township from crossing the China-Burma border last week and pointed the finger at “local authorities” on the Burmese side.

Burma Army offensives to seize Kachin Independence Army (KIA) outposts and subsequent shelling has displaced some 4,000 residents that were reportedly stopped from entering China by Chinese security forces last Tuesday.

“It is learned that Myanmar [Burma] local authorities have strengthen[ed] the resettlement and management of those displaced people and required them not to enter China unless they have to,” read a response from the embassy spokesperson released Tuesday. “There is no such thing that the Chinese side has blocked them from entering China.”

The embassy added, “In fact, out of humanitarian consideration, the Chinese side has been continuously providing such aid as food and pharmacy to the displace people from Myanmar [Burma].”

General Sumlut Gun Maw, vice chairman of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) told The Irrawaddy recently that the KIO had approached Chinese authorities on the matter of accepting Kachin refugees.