Chinese Farmers Trespass on Burmese Soil, Lawmaker Claims

By Htet Naing Zaw 16 February 2017

NAYPYIDAW — Chinese farmers have been illegally planting crops in Man Waing Gyi, near the Burma-China border of Kachin State, according to Lower House lawmaker U Chin Pe Lin who represents Kachin’s Mansi Township.

“Chinese farmers have been crossing the border and have been working illegally on farms on the Burmese side for years,” U Chin Pe Lin told the Lower House session on Wednesday.

The lawmaker asked the government to take action, saying that Chinese farmers had encroached on about 10 acres of Burmese land. He also presented photographic evidence of Chinese farmers growing sugarcane near milepost No. 53/2 of the Burma-China border in Man Waing Gyi.

Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Maj-Gen Aung Soe replied that the government would take action in line with the regulations of the Burma Immigration Emergency Provisions Act of 1947 if Chinese farmers were found to be illegally entering Burma.

However, the deputy minister added that Chinese businessmen have recently been working in partnership with Burmese farmers near milepost No. 53/2, close to the Pang Kham border check-point.

“I heard that Chinese businessmen offer loans to Burmese farmers and then buy the crops according to market prices after the harvest, deducting the loans,” said Maj-Gen Aung Soe.

U Chin Pe Lin insisted that Chinese farmers are illegally working on the farms in Man Waing Gyi.

“They have now harvested sugarcane and are plowing the land. This problem can be settled quickly by a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Otherwise, the Chinese farmers will trespass and grow crops on our soil every year,” U Chin Pe Lin told The Irrawaddy.

The lawmaker also criticized the government for its failure to construct a retaining wall near mile post No. 53/4 on the Burma-China border.

“The government needs to pay attention to this. I think it is rather negligent. This is a border post, and you can’t build a new one as you wish, saying the old one has collapsed,” said U Chin Pe Lin.

The construction of a 30-meter (100-foot) retaining wall is estimated to cost around 20 million kyats (US$15,000), but the Kachin State government did not include this amount in its fiscal year budget proposal for 2016-17, said Maj-Gen Aung Soe.

However, the funds will be allocated in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget, he said.

“I don’t think construction of a small retaining wall will cost that much,” said U Chin Pe Lin.

The mile post No. 53/4 lies on the bank of Nang Wang Creek in Mansi Township. The mile post is leaning toward the creek, the lawmaker said.

Burma’s foreign affairs ministry has reported the problem to Chinese authorities, according to the deputy minister.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko