Myanmar military burn man alive : CCP help to stop violence
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
WTPOHK have first hand experience of mass peaceful protests that began 9 June 2019 in Hong Kong (HK) without the extreme violence of the murderous Mynamar soldiers, plus COVID-19 ! Mentally these experiences are so difficult to deal with.
Milk Tea Alliance! Our HK hearts and minds bleed for our brothers and sisters in Myanmar : We support you the Burmese people - please fight on for your freedom and democracy!
RFA's article of 28 March 2021 titled 'Myanmar Soldiers Burn Man Alive in Weekend Orgy of Junta Violence' is totally unacceptable. The deliberate targetting of children by the military is apalling. Leading democracies must ensure that all those responsible for the attrocities that have taken place in Myanmar in recent years must be held accountable.
What is happening now amounts to war crimes including ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Burmese people by the Myanmar military which is supported by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The situation in Myanmar can easily spiral out of control into a civil war which could engulf neighbours : e.g. Thailand also has Milk Tea Alliance protests!
We urge the CCP to support the Burmese people in their struggle for democracy by helping to stop the bloodshed in Myanmar.
Xi Jinping you are not the Emperor and China is not the Middle Kingdom!
Please read our blogs on Myanmar:
Myanmar Soldiers Burn Man Alive in Weekend Orgy of Junta Violence
RFA 28 March 2021 (format added)
Security forces in Myanmar unleashed machine guns and grenades on protesters Sunday, a day after the army’s slaughter of more than 100 protesters sparked demands for international action and marauding troops n Mandalay burned a night watchman alive while shooting at people who tried to help him.
The fallout from eight weeks of increasingly violent army attacks on civilians since the Feb. 1 military takeover spilled across the border into Thailand, where 3,000 villagers in southeastern Karen state fled after air attacks by the army killed three in a district controlled by an ethnic armed group, aid groups said.
The 13 deaths in Yangon, Sagaing, Mandalay and other regions–following Saturday’s killing of 114 people, including six children–pushed the death toll since the coup to over 450 people, as international condemnation poured in along with calls for action to halt the violence.
“We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions,” said a statement by the defense chiefs of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Britain, and the United States.
“The United States will continue to promote accountability for the coup and the abhorrent violence committed by the Burmese military regime. We call on all countries to speak with one voice against the brutal violence by the regime against the people of Burma,” said State Department Spokesman Ned Price in Washington.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Thailand-based NGO, said it had confirmed 459 deaths and 2559 arrests as of Sunday, with 119 people in hiding. RFA’s confirmed death toll surpassed 400 people at the weekend.
Witnesses to grisly burning of neighborhood watch volunteer Aye Ko, a 42-year-old father of four children, said he was shot in the chest as he observed police and the military arrive at the scene of a fire at a local government office.
‘Only bones were left’
A witness said the man was still alive and screaming for help when soldiers threw him onto a pile of burning tires, but non-stop gunfire prevented onlookers from coming to his aid.
“They dragged him and threw him into the burning flames,” said a local woman who witnessed the incident in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city.
“Only bones were left by the fire. It was a very inhumane, wild and cruel act. They burned him alive,” she said.
“This inhumanity is a tactic of the junta to create a climate of fear among the people,” said AAPP in a blog post. The group said some 60 houses in Mandalay were destroyed by fire and “people in nearby neighborhoods were prevented from helping when the junta shot at them.”
RFA was able to confirm the killing of nine protesters in Sagaing region, two in Mandalay Region, and one each in Bago, Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions.
In the commercial center and former capital Yangon, police and the military used sound bombs, teargas and live grenades in crackdown on protests near a railway stop in the city’s Hlaing township, residents said.
“They came in by train in the morning, around five or six soldiers at Thiri Myaing Station. Then they started shooting,” said a local witness. “Soon after, they started using teargas and grenades.”
“One of the protesters picked (a grenade) up and tried to throw it back, but it exploded in the air and he lost his hand, while other man was hit in the thigh ad others nearby were also hit with shrapnel,” the witness added.
“They were shooting in and out, street by street,” he said. “They came in from all direction, around 100 soldiers.”
3,000 seek haven in Thailand
The relentless killings and brutal crackdown did not stop protest marches in Monywa, Myaing, Salay, Dawei, Mandalay, Sal and several other towns.
“We faced two attacks today,” said a protester in Myitkyina, the Kachin state capital. “They were shooting at all the gatherings using rubber bullets.”
In Karen state, several thousand villagers fled to nearby Thailand on Sunday after the military launched air strikes on camps of the Karen National Union (KNU), whose fighters had seized an army outpost, killing 10 people.
The International Karen Organisation said Myanmar military fighter jets bombed Karen territory for the first time since the early 1990s, killing at least three people and driving more than 1,000 local people into hiding in the jungle.
Reuters news agency quoted the Karen Women’s Organization as saying more than 3,000 Karens crossed to Thailand. The agency cited the Thai Public Broadcasting Service as reporting that about 3,000 had reached Thailand.
The KNU, which was part of a 2015 ceasefire with the government that has been thrown into uncertainty by the coup, has been sheltering hundreds of people who have fled violence in central Myanmar, Reuters said.
The weekend carnage showed that "Myanmar’s security forces need to be urgently stripped of the weapons, money and resources that enable them to operate, through a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions enforced by a UN Security Council mandate," said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch.
"It’s time for the international community to do more than issue toughly worded statements when the Tatmadaw and police are shooting dead children in their homes and protesters on their streets," he said early Sunday in a statement from Bangkok.
Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Kyaw Min Htun. Written in English by Paul Eckert.
China's Myanmar Quagmire
China Talk 25 March 2021
The Myanmar coup leaves China with no good options. It’s a complete disaster for its Belt and Road dreams and Sino-Burmese relations, but any attempt to oppose the coup is fraught with peril.
The February 1 coup in Myanmar has left the country reeling from some of the worst violence witnessed in recent political history. The military (Tatmadaw)-mounted thwarting of the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led democracy plunged Myanmar into a power vacuum. Neither the army nor the anti-coup protesters have managed to win the upper hand. Whilst the army retains nominal control of the country’s government and political apparatus, as well as large swathes of its economy and media, the defiant civil society – under the fragmented leadership by disparate actors such as the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) and the General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN) – holds substantial sway in highly populated urban regions and regions where the NLD has traditionally enjoyed substantial support (including the former capital Yangon and the second-largest city, Mandalay).
Amidst all this, China has come under attack from both the international community and the movement on the ground for its ostensible support and backing of the coup. Chinese diplomats have – ignominiously – refused to explicitly take a stance against the Tatmadaw, terming the coup a “major cabinet reshuffle”. Despite its ambassador to Myanmar openly declaring that the coup was “absolutely not what China wants to see”, its critics remain unconvinced. Chinese firms and locals have been targeted by protesters, who are adamant that China’s reluctance to take a stance is both a sign of and complicit in its tacitly condoning the Tatmadaw’s actions.
The Myanmar coup leaves China with no good options. It’s a complete disaster for its Belt and Road dreams and Sino-Burmese relations, but any attempt to oppose the coup is fraught with peril.
The Coup Was Not in Beijing’s Economic Interests
Firstly, the army is substantially less reliable a partner than Suu Kyi’s NLD regime. The army has repeatedly flip-flopped on critical infrastructural projects, including the Myitsone Dam, which was a $3.6 billion mega-dam project shelved by former President Thein Sein, the previous military leader that had overseen the country’s partial democratization and liberalization. China has persistently viewed the Tatmadaw’s expansionism and hyper-nationalistic militarism with suspicion.
In contrast, the ousted Suu Kyi’s NLD government has historically proven to be a substantially more reliable trading and economic partner. The NLD courted the support of more internationalist elements within the Tatmadaw, and through their conjoined efforts, as well as the opening-up to private capital and foreign investment in the country, bilateral trade between China and Myanmar surged substantially. China had occupied little over 6% of Myanmar’s total export volume – a figure that would later increase to 33% in 2019. Suu Kyi has herself repeatedly advocated the pursuit of friendly relations with China in the interest of Myanmar’s economic development.
Furthermore, China has received substantial backlash for, in the minds of many Burmese, backing the coup. Chinese-financed factories were set ablaze, with Chinese staff injured and trapped by attacks on garment factories in Hlaingthaya. China’s calls for “further effective measures to stop all acts of violence” have been met with vitriolic dissent and threats of further violence by internet users in Myanmar. Relations between ethnic Chinese communities and the local Bamar majority – fraught even under the best of times – have deteriorated substantially, with prominent local and foreign investors considering withdrawing from joint Sino-Burmese projects.
China has clear skin in the game. The Sino-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines – an integral component of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) – have come under substantial public scrutiny, after a February 23 meeting in which Chinese officials sought reassurances from Tatmadaw that the pipelines would be defended with heightened security. Elsewhere, protesters have declared that an attack on China’s pipelines would be an “internal affair”, as a sardonic snipe at the rationale China has given for not intervening in Myanmar’s “domestic politics”.
Diplomats under Xi had long viewed the economic successes of the Sino-Burmese relationship as a pivotal proof of concept for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as a testament to a renewed model of diplomacy that would cut across conventional ideological fault-lines. Economic benefits from leading Chinese ventures in Myanmar, such as the banana trade, the Myitkyina economic zone in the Kachin state, and the ongoing expansion in transportation infrastructure in Northern Shan state, had long been touted by China as a demonstration of the political returns and economic rewards of collaborating with the country.
The coup and ensuing unrest have are upending China’s plans. While staunch, pro-China allies in the region (e.g. Cambodia and Laos) would find themselves largely convinced – whether it be through manipulation or genuine conviction – of China’s merits as a partner, others are both visibly alarmed by China’s reticence to oppose the coup and the potential spill-over implications of the crisis. Indeed, China faces a greater headache ahead – the prospects of heightened American military or indirect presence in the region. None of this is in Beijing’s economic or, indeed, geopolitical interests.
China’s Dilemma – Caught in a Bind
It is one thing to argue that the coup did not benefit China. It is another to assert that China would be distinctly and apparently benefited by seeking to end the coup. In truth, China is caught in a bind. On one hand is the plethora of reasons – outlined above – for which it should not back the Tatmadaw. On the other hand, China is wary of its other geopolitical commitments within the region.
Firstly, Beijing is wary of coming across as wavering or indecisive in its commitment to backing other strong-man regimes in the region. The CCP views the Milk Tea alliance with wariness and suspicion, especially in light of the increasing salience the movement is attracting in international media. Should its diplomats vocally and unambiguously oppose the coup, the move could well alienate other strong-man regimes in Southeast Asia, with which China has continually sought to cultivate long-lasting partnerships.
Secondly, should Beijing seek to intervene visibly in Myanmar in favor of the protest movement, not only would this pose a justificatory challenge for its policymakers, but it would also open the floodgates to similar questions being asked of its ongoing support for authoritarian regimes in Cambodia, Laos, and flawed democratic regimes in Thailand and Bangladesh. Politics comes from the barrel of a gun – and the guns of these countries would only be aimed away from China provided that Beijing leaves their political arrangements intact.
Thirdly, whilst China is wary of increased Western presence in the region (as forecast and demanded by the ongoing calls for humanitarian intervention from the United Nations and the West), it is equally wary of committing itself to a protracted military conflict right to the south of its border. When push comes to shove, what matters is less who wins in the ongoing tussle for power, and more when this tussle concludes – its primary interest lies with conflict termination, as opposed to conflict mediation. It has limited incentive to throw its weight behind a movement with elements that have openly decried its presence and involvement in the region.
Hence China is caught between a hard place and a rock. Beijing may not like the Tatmadaw generals very much, but they must, or so it seems, put up with the guns – at least for now.
So What’s Next for China?
China’s hands are tied. It is highly unlikely that the Chinese government would consider sending in troops to force the Tatmadaw to step down. Such a move would be logistically infeasible, economically costly, and optically disastrous for China as it seeks to maintain its image as a non-interventionist power. The sheer improbability of this option, however, also effectively annuls the credibility of any threat of force – which removes a possible tool from China’s arsenal in mediating or pressing for a resolution to the conflict.
China could also sit by and await the crisis’ denouement, though in doing so it could be committing – inadvertently – to substantially greater risks. Myanmar’s economy is slipping dangerously close to the edge of collapse, and it remains unclear if the protests would indeed subside under the ineffective, albeit brutal crackdown from the Tatmadaw. Beijing would be grossly mistaken to think that the protests would subside – even with military enforcements and, as the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar described it, “effective measures to stop violence and punish perpetrators” (essentially translates to, the usage of force by local police and army against protesters). If this were to happen, the haranguing of Chinese businesses and civilians would only escalate in the short to medium run. There is no exit path for China unless it can clearly and explicitly disentangle itself from the Tatmadaw’s ruinous reputation.
A temperate, middle path does lie ahead. Beijing should work with ASEAN states and the United Nations in pressing for the release of political prisoners and convening of unfettered, open elections within six months.
China should also lay down the law in condemning and insisting that the Burmese military refrain from deploying violence against civilians – this need not come at the expense of its infrastructural projects, which can be defended with targeted security deployments. Finally, mediation and brokering a ceasefire as well as a temporary power-sharing arrangement could be alternative pathways Beijing can and should consider. This path strikes the balance between the two extremities – for both Beijing and Myanmar at large.
How China in fact acts will depend upon a multitude of factors. Firstly, there exist substantial divergences amongst diplomats and army in China – with competing factions jostling for control and verdict over the country’s overarching Myanmar policy. The Chinese army is no fan of the Tatmadaw – the PLA had historically backed rebel groups and ethnic minorities at the fringes of the Burmese state, with the intention of containing the irredentist tendencies of its counterpart. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the other hand, views the Burmese situation more through the lenses of another potential proxy conflict between China and the West: to capitulate or give in to international humanitarian pressures, would constitute a symbolic defeat in China’s ongoing rebuking of the Western model. This, of course, does not imply that the MFA are by any measure fans of the Tatmadaw. How these intra-governmental disputes play out – especially given the already-stretched resources of the Foreign Ministry in light of the recent high-level talks at Anchorage and fraying US-China relations – remains to be seen.
Secondly, will ASEAN states extend the olive branch to China, in enabling the country to play a role in crafting a regional consensus over Myanmar? China is unlikely to undertake the initiative of demanding genuinely accountable elections and return to civilian governance, on its own – after all, the Tatmadaw offers Beijing greater certainty (in theory) than a Milk Tea-alliance-infused opposition front. Only when ASEAN states come out in favor of China’s regional presence, and in acknowledging Beijing’s interest in Myanmar, would China be open to collaborating with the regional bloc over the evolving crisis.
Finally, how staunchly China comes out in favor of either side will depend heavily upon the extent to which it perceives its optics and reception in Myanmar to be salvageable. Should it read its winning the hearts and minds of the Burmese public as a lost cause, then China could well, all things considered, support an ambitious, expansionist semi-enemy, over what it perceives to be a Sinophobic people.
In any case, the resolution of the crisis raging on in Myanmar is unlikely to come any time soon. China’s response to the crisis could well offer a preview of its new approach to regional diplomacy under a new White House administration.
News Update: Refugee status
Thailand Denies Forcing Back Burma Refugees Blocked at Border, (Epoch Times, 30 March 2021)
'We won't push back refugees', (Bangkok Post, 31 March 2021)
Dozens Of Myanmar Refugees Make 'Voluntary Return': Thai Authorities, (International Business Times, 31 March 2021)