World View: China Puts Army on High Alert Along Border with Burma (Myanmar)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: A military honour guard raises the flag of China during a table tennis medal ceremony on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at ExCel on September 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

This morning’s key headlines from

  • China puts army on high alert along border with Burma (Myanmar)
  • Burma’s army appears to be exterminating Rakhine State Rohingyas

China puts army on high alert along border with Burma (Myanmar)

Kachin soldiers in Burma praying
Kachin soldiers in Burma praying

In October of last year, the government of Myanmar (Burma) concluded a peace agreement with its armed ethnic groups that had been under negotiation since 2011. According to the government rhetoric, the agreement was “bringing hope” that the entire country would soon be “at peace.”

However, of the 15 armed ethnic groups in Burma, only eight attended the lavish signing ceremony and signed the agreement. The others indicated that they wished to continue fighting Burma’s army.

Now three of the non-signers have launched a series of violent attacks on military outposts and police stations across the northern part of the country. Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes, some crossing the border into China. The groups are:

  • The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) is the military wing of a population of ethnic Kachins in northern Myanmar. The Kachins are a coalition of at least six tribes whose homeland encircles territory in Yunnan in China and Northeast India, in addition to Kachin State in Myanmar.
  • The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) is the armed wing of the Palaung State Liberation Front and promotes self-determination for the Ta’ang people living in Shan State, Yunnan and Northern Thailand.
  • Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), is led by ethnic-Chinese commander Peng Jiasheng and is an active insurgent group in the Chinese-speaking Kokang region, an area in the northern part of Shan State on the border with Yunnan.

The conflicts have resulted in a central part of the country dominated by the majority Burmese, surrounded by various ethnic minority populations who form the majority in their own areas. Most of Myanmar’s ethnic groups are now concentrated within particular regions corresponding more or less to the states named after the seven ethnic nationalities: Karen, Kachin, Mon, Arakanese, Karenni, Chin and Shan.

China’s defense ministry issued a statement saying, “The Chinese army is on high alert and will take the necessary measures to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and safety, as well as protect the lives and property of Chinese citizens living along the border.”

China has not intervened in the Burma conflicts, but might do so if Chinese citizens, in either Burma or China, were threatened. There have at least nine deaths and dozens of wounded.

Following World War II, Burma experienced a series of extremely bloody crisis civil wars that only climaxed in 1958 when the army took over power. There has been sporadic fighting among these groups in the decades since then, but nothing that has escalated into a major war.

But now, 58 years after the climax of the last generational crisis war, Burma is entering a new generational Crisis era. 58 years is the point where the generations of survivors of the last crisis war lose enough of their power (through death or retirement) so that they can no longer influence events enough to prevent a new generational crisis war, and so a major new war could break out now or at any time in the future. South China Morning Post and International Business Times and Radio Free Asia

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Burma’s army appears to be exterminating Rakhine State Rohingyas

As we recently reported, Burma’s army is conducting a scorched earth attack on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. As of a week ago, over 430 buildings had been burned down. Now, Human Rights Watch has released new satellite photos showing that 1,000 homes have been burned down, almost all in Rohingya villages, many of which no longer exist. Dozens of people have been killed, and at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, with many fleeing into Bangladesh. Witnesses and alleged victims also accused soldiers of widespread rape.

Burma’s government has completely closed off the entire region, refusing to allow reporters or investigators to see for themselves what has happened. Furthermore, the government is saying that thousands of Rohingyas have burned down their own homes. I must admit, Dear Reader, that hearing crap like this from government officials really infuriates me. But it’s what we’ve come to expect from leaders like Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, and Pierre Nkurunziza. AFP and BBC and Deutsche Welle

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Myanmar, Burma, China, Kachin Independence Army, KIA, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, TNLA, Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, MNDAA, Peng Jiasheng, Rakhine State, Rohingya, Bangladesh
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