Impose sanctions against Myanmar military and Chinese companies
Updated: Feb 22, 2021
Democracy in Myanmar must be reinstated as soon as possible!
Despite the discredited international status of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1 February 2021 military coup in Myanmar is now a problem for the international democratic alliance and for the Chinese Communist Party.
NGO 'Justice for Myanmar' 30 January 2021 blog 'Who profits from a coup? The power and greed of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing'.
Based on latest news from Radio Free Asia (RFA), supported by social media, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its resources, including companies, are involved in the 1 February 2021 military coup in Myanmar. However, NGO 'Justice for Myanmar' has not specifically identified CCP as being involved.
UN Security Council has already made a statement in support of democracy asking for the Myanmar military to release everyone they have arrested.
US President Biden after freezing US$1 billion Myanmar assets placed sanctions on Myanmar military leaders.
Myanmar protesters are using some of the experience gained by Hong Kong (HK) protesters since 2019: Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and HK are part of the 'milk tea alliance'!
Argument/evidence for CCP supporting Myanmar military coup includes:
CCP's China has invested heavily in Myanmar as a key part of its 'Belt and Road Initiative'. In CCP's view it 'needs' Myanmar's Indian Ocean ports for transport of goods, oil and gas otherwise all Chinese shipping lanes are controlled by democratic alliance countries in the North (Japan through Taiwan) and in the South through the Straits of Malacca;
In the last five years Myanmar under leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been turning the country towards democracy and away from the authoritarian Myanmar military: Myanmar's democratic movement opposes the Myanmar military and the self-interests of CCP;
Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is due to retire soon and he may be trying to remain 'relevant' and in 'power': military in Myanmar politics is not supported by majority of Burmese people. (See PBS video below).
Argument against Myanmar military wanting CCP support in its coup:
People of Myanmar, as common throughout countries that neighbour China, are at best 'uncomfortable' with, and at worst openly 'hostile' to (e.g. Vietnam) Chinese influence in their country. China is the big brother that has always cast a shadow over them and most people throughout SE Asia do not need nor want Chinese 'influence';
Ethnic armies in the North of Myanmar at war against the Myanmar military are equipped with Chinese guns, etc. making these areas effectively part of CCP's 'security zone' i.e. there may be no 'love lost' between Myanmar military and CCP;
Traditionally Myanmar seeks balance in its relationships: with CCP's involvement there is no balance only conflict, corruption, etc.;
Myanmar military Chief has close relationship with the neighbouring Thailand military which traditionally is linked to USA.
There are posts in social media linking CCP to Myanmar military coup:
While the internet was shut down in #Myanmar, people found that there were 2 airplanes traveling 6 times between #Yanggon and central #China. It raises suspicion that the military brought China soldiers to Myanmar to support them. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #blackout #militarycoup
1) Reported on 15-Feb: Those are more like #ChineseArmy than Myanmar military! Their skins are more white, couldn’t communicate with locals, and military trucks even get lost on in town! And they have badges looks PLA alike! #WhatIsHappeningInMyanmar #SaveMyanmar
To support democracy and human rights in Myanmar there needs to be a steady and strongly built response: support for the people of Myanmar from the international democratic alliance ought to be based upon UN obligations and the rule OF law.
February 1, 2021 NGO 'Justice For Myanmar' calls on the international community to apply immediate and comprehensive targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military, their leaders and their business accomplices. The military coup shows a systemic failure in how the international community has dealt with Myanmar in recent years by normalising the Myanmar military and their businesses, despite the fact they have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. This has enabled them to operate with total impunity.
The failed approach of the US, EU and international community to the Myanmar military must end today. The military leaders and their business associates must be held accountable for their actions. Responsibility must be taken to protect the people of Myanmar.
This is not only about Myanmar or Hong Kong (HK) - this is really about CCP and its control over China and the world. The micro or short term view includes Myanmar's 1 February 2021 military coup and Hong Kong's illegal annexation using CCP's national security law. The macro or long term view involves recognising CCP's 'middle kingdom' strategy for global domination, the democratic alliance's pushback against CCP and their rule BY law, and the necessary response - to decouple the party from China and the world. This process is far from being over!
Please read our recent blog on Myanmar coup:
RTHK 22 February 2021 'Myanmar gripped by strike as anti-coup protests grow'
RFA 20 February 2021 'Two Protesters Shot Dead in Mandalay in Bloodiest Day Since Myanmar Coup'
RFA 19 February 2021 'First Myanmar Protester Death Galvanizes Anti-Coup Demonstrators'
RFA 19 February 2021 'Civil Disobedience Against Military Rule in Myanmar Paralyzes Banking Sector'
RFA 18 February 2021 'Arrests, Journalist Beatings as Myanmar Junta Faces Relentless Protests Rejecting Army Rule'
Apple Daily 18 February 2021 'Chinese state-owned firms ranked biggest arms suppliers for Myanmar Army'
Apple Daily 18 February 2021 'China’s path to regional hegemony is not smooth｜Wang Dan"
Chinese Companies Supplying Arms, Military Equipment to Myanmar: Group
RFA 18 February 2021 (format added)
Chinese state-owned enterprises are among the biggest suppliers of arms and military equipment to the Myanmar military, according to an advocacy group 'Justice For Myanmar' and public domain information.
The group has listed 122 top business partners of the military government, which staged a coup on Feb. 1, ousting the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD). The five biggest suppliers are listed as China North Industries Group (NORINCO), the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC), the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. (CASIC), and the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC). More than a dozen other suppliers were funded from China or Hong Kong. A spokesperson from Justice for Myanmar said weapons supplied by NORINCO to the Tatmadaw were being used on unarmed civilians amid mass protests that have followed the coup. Norinco also runs two copper mines in the country, which have been accused of evicting local residents and polluting the environment, the spokesperson told RFA. Other Chinese investors include Wanbao Mining (Hong Kong) Copper Ltd., Yang Tse Mining Limited, and busmaker Yutong, as well as several textile companies. A "Dirty List" published by Burma Campaign UK listed 12 Chinese companies as having ties to the Myanmar military, including most of those already mentioned in this article.
An open secret Zhang Shengqi, chairman of the Myanmar-Burma Assistance Association, said it is an open secret among Chinese in Myanmar that Chinese companies have been selling weapons to the regime for a long time. "It is no secret that China supplies arms to the Myanmar military," Zhang said. "Ten years ago, the Chinese government moved its security defense line south from Yunnan province and into northern Myanmar." "It [CCP] sees the whole of Myanmar as a security zone," he said. "The stability of Myanmar directly impacts China's national interest and its security." "If Myanmar had gotten closer to the U.S. [under a democratically elected government], then it would have fallen back into an endless civil war." China's international infrastructure investment project, the Belt and Road initiative, currently includes the flagship China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC). Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has indicated that Beijing is willing to speed up the construction of the western, northern, and eastern ends of the CMEC. Chinese state media reported last month that Wang is keen to promote an early implementation of the Kyaukpyu deep-sea port, the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zon, and New Yangon City. The CMEC bisects the northern part of the country and ends at the $1.3 billion deep-sea port at Kyaukpyu in southern Rakhine state along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It includes plans for a U.S.$8.9 billion high-speed rail link from Yunnan, as well as gas and oil pipelines. China is also increasingly dependent on rice imports from Myanmar, with rice imports soaring from 100,000 tons to 500,000 tons in the past decade, accounting for 65 percent of Myanmar’s total export trade with China. "The military port and China-Myanmar oil pipeline in the Bay of Bengal in Myanmar will be a crucial strategic supply line, and Beijing has to protect it," Zhang said. "These military investments and presence in Myanmar will aid its stability." "I can say with a clear conscience that the people of Myanmar have no choice," he said. Chinese scholar Si Ling agreed, saying that there is a co-dependent relationship between the two countries. "Myanmar is dependent on China for many things, including technology and personnel," Si said. "Beijing also has to consider geopolitical factors like the national security implications of what is happening in Myanmar on its southern border region."
Border area still quiet A Chinese national who lives in the border region, and gave only a surname, Wang, said that while the authorities appeared to be firing on protesters elsewhere in the country, the border area had remained quiet since the coup. He said there could also have been Chinese Communist Party (CCP) involvement in emergency censorship during the coup. "I heard there was shooting ... maybe of high pressure air guns, and also that they cut off internet access," Wang said. "China is the best at this kind of technology." Rights groups -- including Burma Campaign UK, Justice For Myanmar, Korean Civil Society in Solidarity with the Rohingya (KCSSR), and Korean Transnational Corporations Watch (KTCW) -- are calling on companies to cut commercial ties to the Myanmar military. Meanwhile, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre said it had invited 18 of the companies mentioned in recent reports articles to respond. Justice For Myanmar called on the international community to impose immediate comprehensive and targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military in response to the coup, and their continuing violations of international law, including their campaign of genocide against the Rohingya and war crimes and crimes against humanity in ethnic regions. Reported by Qiao Long for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by Chan Chun-ho for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
Indonesia's Foreign Minister in Diplomatic Push for ASEAN Action on Myanmar Coup
RFA 17 February 2021
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi traveled to Brunei on Wednesday and was to visit Singapore a day later as part of a diplomatic push to get Southeast Asian neighbors more involved in addressing the military coup in Myanmar.
Retno said she held talks on the Myanmar crisis with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Erywan Yusof, her Bruneian counterpart, on the first leg of her trip. The sultanate on Borneo Island this year holds the rotating chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member.
“I continue to maintain communication with my counterparts at ASEAN and foreign ministers from many countries, and the U.N. envoy on Myanmar,” Retno said in a statement. “Many countries, including Indonesia, have raised concerns. Raising concerns is one thing, but the question is: What can Indonesia, and ASEAN do to help Myanmar get out of this delicate situation?” she said, referring to the Feb. 1 coup in Myanmar.
Indonesia, along with Malaysia, was one of the first ASEAN countries to suggest a concrete step – calling for an ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting – to discuss the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar.
Both Indonesia and Malaysia are among the five founding members of the regional bloc, which was established in 1967. Indonesia, the largest of the countries in the grouping, transitioned to democracy in 1998 after nearly 50 years of military dictatorship since winning freedom from Dutch colonial rule.
Indonesia, through Retno’s diplomatic push, is seeking a regional consensus to address the democratic backsliding in Myanmar without rancor, according to an analyst based in Jakarta.
Retno said that any ASEAN response to the crisis in Myanmar would take into account the regional bloc’s founding principle of non-interference in member-states’ domestic affairs. “Indonesia believes that the ASEAN mechanism is the most effective mechanism to help Myanmar deal with this delicate situation,” she said, invoking an article in the grouping’s charter about the promotion of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, and human rights.
“Indonesia will continue its efforts to contribute to finding the best solution for the people of Myanmar and for efforts to maintain regional stability, security, and peace.”
ASEAN members’ reactions to the coup have been mixed, with countries such as Vietnam and Thailand saying they would not interfere in Myanmar’s affairs, and Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore expressing concern about the military’s toppling of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Manila, at first, took the “internal affairs” line, but later changed its tune and expressed worries about the military coup in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Brunei, as the 2021 chair of ASEAN, held a virtual meeting with Myanmar officials to hear about the situation there, Retno said.
“The chair of ASEAN will certainly continue to communicate and consult with other ASEAN member countries, once again, regarding what ASEAN can do to help Myanmar,” Jakarta’s top diplomat said.
Retno was scheduled to fly to Singapore and hold talks with her counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday.
Balakrishnan this week supported Indonesia and Malaysia’s call to hold an ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting to discuss Myanmar, but acknowledged that all members of the bloc had to agree to this.
“A meeting among ASEAN Foreign Ministers would be an opportunity for all ASEAN Member States to share their concerns and perspectives given the importance and urgency of addressing recent developments,” he said on Tuesday in response to a parliamentary question.
“[I] can assure you that there has been an intense flurry of communications, bilateral and group, amongst the foreign ministers in ASEAN. What is the key objective? Our key objective is to achieve peace, reconciliation, and as I said – to help Myanmar get back on the road of democratic transition,” Balakrishnan said in response to another question, according to an official transcript.
Still, the Singaporean foreign minister also cautioned the international community against being “inflammatory,” saying that would worsen the situation in Myanmar.
“I have had conversations with several counterparts – the U.S., Germany, and others, and I have urged against widespread sanctions,” he said, adding that indiscriminate sanctions would affect the ordinary people of Myanmar the most.
‘We know how to approach them’
Indonesia was seeking a regional consensus on addressing the democratic backsliding in Myanmar without rancor, amid intense international pressure on the military regime there, said Teuku Rezasyah, an international relations lecturer at Padjajaran University in Bandung. “Indonesia is worried that Myanmar, which is under pressure from the West, will decide to leave ASEAN or fall into China’s embrace, because Southeast Asian countries don’t seem to have a single voice regarding the situation there,” Rezasyah told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei were influential enough to get other ASEAN members to agree on a common stance on Myanmar, he said.
In addition, Indonesia is among the few countries that understands the situation in Myanmar, because of its own experience with military dictatorship and a transition to democracy, Rezasyah said.
“We have experience on how to talk to the Myanmar military. We know how to approach them without embarrassing the parties there,” he said.
The analyst was referring to the significant role played by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or “SBY,” Indonesia’s first directly elected president, and himself a former general, in Myanmar’s democratic transition.
Yudhoyono helped mediate conflicts between the Myanmar government and ethnic minorities, provided input on drafting democratic laws and invited officials to learn about democratic institutions, the executive director of the Bali Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), I Ketut Putra Erawan, told BenarNews earlier this month.
The coup in Myanmar has prompted calls for Jakarta to again take on the mantle of regional role model to help its neighbor back on the path to democracy.
Reported by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.