China is building a wall along its 1,400-mile border with Myanmar allegedly to help protect it from an alleged influx of the Chinese coronavirus, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.
The Chinese government began constructing the border wall in September 2020 shortly after local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials ordered the lockdown of Ruili to contain a local Chinese coronavirus outbreak. Ruili is a Chinese city that shares a 105-mile long border with Myanmar. Communist officials in Yunnan, the Chinese province that contains Ruili, started building a barbed-wire fence spanning 370 miles of the China-Myanmar border shortly after Ruili’s first coronavirus lockdown last fall. Officials said the barrier would deter illegal border crossings and thus help decrease future transmissions of the Chinese coronavirus. The fence stretches between the Yunnan cities of Ruili and Lijiang and “is now nearing completion,” the Diplomat reported on July 13.
“Recent photos posted to the [Chinese] social media platform Weibo showed the fence snaking across a mountainous region near Ruili, with lights along it during the hours of darkness,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on July 9.
“This is to prevent illegal border crossings,” a resident of a Yunnan town bordering Myanmar told RFA.
The man indicated China beefed up its border with Myanmar not only to prevent virus transmission along the boundary but also to keep Chinese nationals from fleeing to Southeast Asia.
“Lots of Chinese people leave the country this way without papers, and when they come back … they will also cross back illegally,” the Yunnan resident, surnamed Ma, revealed.
“That’s what the barbed-wire fence is for,” he said.
Ma further revealed to RFA the Communist Party is also building walls along a 500-mile long stretch of Myanmar border located between Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna region and the cities of Ruili and Lincang.
“They are all building walls,” Ma said of the three Yunnan districts.
He added that the new barriers “will also prevent Myanmar soldiers and militia members from casually slipping across the border into China to go shopping and to meet up with friends.”
“In recent days, pictures and videos of iron wire walls standing in border cities in Yunnan have attracted Chinese netizens’ attention with some saying that ‘these are firewalls built over one night to prevent imported cases from spreading,'” China’s state-run Global Times reported on July 9.
“Some pictures taken at night showed the iron wire walls were built along the long borderline between China and Myanmar,” the CCP mouthpiece added.
The newspaper said it had “learned from an official of the Ruili government who asked for anonymity” the Myanmar border walls near Ruili “were not built recently.”
“In fact, they were built since the first lockdown in Ruili at the end of September 2020. Besides the iron wire, there are cameras on the walls to prevent illegal border crossings,” the Global Times revealed.
Local officials locked down Ruili most recently on July 5 to contain the border crossing’s latest Chinese coronavirus outbreak. The mandate marked the fourth time since September 2020 that Ruili has been forced into lockdown over the disease.