Extremely Disturbing Barely-Noticed Story of the Week

 

From AP, noted in the Jakarta Post: 

YANGON: In its first public comments on a week of fighting in northeast Myanmar, the government said Saturday that ethnic Kachin rebels fired first and the army had to act to protect a major Chinese-built hydroelectric power project.

The skirmishes were some of the fiercest in nearly two decades between government forces and the Kachin Independence Army. They erupted June 9, displacing at least 10,000 people over the course of about one week. The rebels have blamed the government for launching an offensive after militia fighters rejected a call to leave the strategic region.

The government says it did call on rebels to leave, but accused them of firing first after threatening Chinese technicians and detaining two army officers, according to a report Saturday in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

So: Threaten Chinese technicians and they’ll displace 10,000 of you in less than a week, and the only place it will be reported is in the New Light of Myanmar, which you can be dead sure is only hinting at the horror of this. 

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @SouthernPessimist

    Thanks for posting this. I spent three days in Burma in 1998 and for me the most striking aspect of the country was that there were tanks and military jeeps everywhere, manned by boys who looked barely 14. The military appears to be the only industry available to vast segments of the population. Another observation was that in the midst of oppressive poverty, there seemed to be unusually deep devotion and involvement in their Buddhist faith. The gold leaf on their stupas consumes vast quantities of wealth and hours of daily application. There were almost as many monks with their rice bowls as soldiers with their guns. Almost… sadly, only almost.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Editor
    @Claire

    I was there a few years before you–in 1995–and noticed the same things.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @outstripp

    Northern Burma is interesting. It shares a long border with China but has not been under complete control of the Rangoon government since WWII. The people of this region (Kachin, Karen, Shan,.. etc) are not Burman. The Chinese need electricity (Kunming is booming) and presumably ordered the Burmese military to crush any opposition in the vital locations of the dam projects.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    outstripp: Northern Burma is interesting. It shares a long border with China but has not been under complete control of the Rangoon government since WWII. The people of this region (Kachin, Karen, Shan,.. etc) are not Burman. The Chinese need electricity (Kunming is booming) and presumably ordered the Burmese military to crush any opposition in the vital locations of the dam projects. · Jun 19 at 7:52am

    It would not surprise me to learn that the Chinese PLA did the crushing. The Chinese have no desire to see ethnic liberation movements bloom anywhere on or near their borders: they have enough of their own inside China to deal with.

    On the other hand, China certainly is happy to see Assamese liberation movements making trouble in India. Assam is territory claimed by Burma, so there is a connection there as well.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Viator

    http://www.burmariversnetwork.org/

    http://www.salweenwatch.org/

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @outstripp
    Viator: http://www.burmariversnetwork.org/

    http://www.salweenwatch.org/ · Jun 19 at 11:29am

    Those are great links but you need to delete the initial http://.

    The extent of the construction is breathtaking in a country where most people have no electricity. The Chinese obviously like dealing with corrupt military dictatorships. Check out the map.

    • #6
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