China is working to reinforce and build new border walls along its boundaries with Vietnam and Myanmar, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Sunday.
China is in the process of extending “a 4.5-meter-high iron fence, topped with barbed wire, along the Beilun River,” which runs along its border with Vietnam, the outlet noted. “Built between 2012 and 2017, the $29 million project … stretches 12 kilometers [7.5 miles] and is there to curb the smuggling of goods, drugs and people,” ABC wrote on January 24, citing a report by China’s state press agency Xinhua. Similarly, China reportedly completed construction of a 410-mile-long fence along a section of its border with Myanmar in December, according to ABC.
China aims to extend the wall along the entire extent of its border with Myanmar (about 1,243 miles) by the end of 2021 as part of a “second phase” of the project, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on December 14. A third phase will be completed by October 2022 and will include the installation of “high-voltage power grids … on the [border’s] key smuggling sections. Skynet camera systems and infrared alarms will be installed in all places,” according to the report.
China cited the spread of coronavirus into the country via illegal border crossings from Myanmar as a reason for its recent efforts to increase border controls with the country in late November. According to RFA’s December report on the Myanmar border wall, however, the Chinese government has reinforced the barrier, at least in part, “to prevent the exodus of its citizens to … Myanmar.” As for its border wall with Vietnam, China’s reinforcement of the barrier coincides with a recent upsurge in the number of Chinese migrant workers illegally crossing into Vietnam searching for work.
Vietnam repatriated 29 illegal migrants from China in December, ABC noted on Sunday, citing local Vietnamese media.
The Vietnam Public Security Border Bureau said last fall that it arrested “more than 100 stowaways from Guangxi, China, in the area near the Chinese border.”
“The migrants had lost jobs in factories in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, and had been hoping to find work in Vietnam,” RFA reported on October 29, citing Vietnamese state media.
“In one case, border patrols in the northern Vietnamese province of Lao Cai found 76 smuggled migrants from China, while a further 25 Chinese nationals were found by police in Ha Giang province,” the broadcaster revealed.
“On October 20, video footage of around 1,000 Chinese migrant workers gathering near the border checkpoint in Guangxi, readying themselves to seek work in Vietnam, was posted to social media,” according to RFA.
China’s Yunnan province borders Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos. It has long served as a launching pad for Chinese residents seeking to leave the country and travel further west.