Opposition Leader: China’s Burma Policy Could Backfire
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Opposition Leader: China’s Burma Policy Could Backfire


By WAI MOE Friday, September 10, 2010


Burma's junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe (center), accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Burma, Ye Dabo (center right), visits the Burmese Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo on Sept. 10, 2010. (Photo: Reuters)
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Beijing’s advocacy on behalf of the Burmese junta could negatively impact both China’s long-term interest in Burma and the perception of China as a “responsible stakeholder” within the international community, said a prominent Burmese opposition leader on Friday.

Win Tin, a leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) who spent 19 years in prison, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that as one of the most powerful nations in the world and the country with the world's second largest economy, China must take a more responsive role in Burma affairs with respect to such issues as stability, democratization and ethnic minority rights.

“If the Chinese leaders praise the regime while not being more responsive on issues that affect the people of Burma, China will fail to win the hearts of the people and this could effect China's long term interests in the country. It could also undermine hope in the international community for China to become a responsive stakeholder in international affairs,” said Win Tin.

He said China’s promotion of Burma's repressive regime and unfair elections through a non-inclusive political process could spark more anti-Chinese sentiment among Burmese which in turn could threaten the stability of Chinese investments in Burma.

China’s policy on Burma focuses primarily on stability, but a political process based on elections that are not free, fair and inclusive will cause instability in Burma and negatively effect China's interests in the country, Win Tin said.

Meanwhile, upon junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe's arrival in Beijing on Sept.7, Chinese government spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a press conference that the Chinese leaders would not talk about Burma’s election in meetings with the top general.

 “The general election in Myanmar [Burma] is its internal affairs. We always uphold the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs,” she said. 

She added that China hoped the international community would provide constructive help for the Burmese elections by refraining from taking any action that has a “negative impact on its [Burma's] domestic political process as well as regional peace and stability.”

She said a peaceful, stable and progressing Burma serves not only the Burmese people but also  the countries in the region. She added that Burma’s internal issues “should be independently resolved” by the Burmese regime and people.

According to reports by China’s Xinhua News Agency, Chinese leaders such as President Hu Jintao, No. 2 leader Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao did not directly mention the elections in Burma during meetings with Than Shwe and the Burmese delegation on Sept. 8 and 9, talking only about the concrete ties between the two countries.

“The [Burma] policy will remain unchanged regardless of changes in the international situation,” Hu said, adding that it was China's unswerving policy to solidify and develop good neighborly cooperation with Burma.

On Thursday, Than Shwe affirmed to the Chinese leaders his commitment to “developing strategic relations with China” in the post-election period, including in the formation of the new government.

Bates Gill, a China expert and the director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said in his report, “China Becoming a Responsible Stakeholder,” that China’s trend towards becoming a responsible stakeholder looked set to continue for the near- to medium-term, because it is so clearly in Chinese interests to maintain and even strengthen this posture. 

“China’s more responsible approach to world affairs in the past decade-plus can be attributed to three powerful motivations for the Chinese leadership: (1) alleviate external tensions in order to better address domestic challenges; (2) reassure neighbors about a growing China’s peaceful intentions and defuse the emergence of soft containment or other counterbalancing against China; and (3) work to balance, but not confront, the United States,” he said. 

However, “On questions of human rights, and particularly Beijing’s support for abusive governments around the world, China’s hoped-for acceptance as a 'responsible great power' falters most,” Gill said.

“Close and supportive relations with countries such as Burma and Zimbabwe, while coming under some reconsideration in Beijing, are not consistent with the responsible stakeholder concept,” he said.

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George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
14/09/2010
I knew the historical background of 1967/68 Chinese fiasco more than you did as I witnessed the whole scene as a public employee in Latha township at the time. I saw what happened to the Chinese holed up on the top floor of a 4 storey building in Lamadaw and others also.
Yes Ne Win sidetracked people from shortage of rice in the country and heaped it on the Chinese defying and dying with the RED BOOKS in their hands.
In case there is a repeat scenario of this kind in Burma today, Chinese would fare worse given their arrogance and monopoly on trade and businesses in Burma today.
It would not need Than Shwe's approval even in this case trust me.
All it is needed is a spark like the attacks on Bao Youxiang's UWSA and Shan rebels allied with the Chinese on the part of the Burma Army and all hell could break loose no doubt.
It is not happening today because Than Shwe is holding back his hounds (Burma Army) on the ethnic Chinese in Wa State and Shan State in return for China covering his ass.

PB Publico Wrote:
14/09/2010
"A Chinese Wrote: 11/09/2010
So, would you like us to step into your internal affairs?"
You don't care whether we like it or not. Do you? Actually, you have been doing that all along, siding with and aiding the junta.
By staying in support of it (veto and all) and staying mum when the junta was doing excesses on the lives and well being of the people.


Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
14/09/2010
Wishful thinking. More relevant historical background is this: the Chinese were humiliated by the Western powers; don't you know 'the breaking of the (Chinese) melon'? Restaurants signs said 'Dogs and Chinese not allowed'. Chinese understand the humilitation Burmese had suffered at the hands of English coloniser. Likewise, Indians also understand Burma's historical burden placed upon her by the ex-coloniser.

Keep wishing evil on Burma;keep wishing humiliation of Burma; keep dreaming. We know who are traitors and who are patriots.

Seeing what is not there, imagined parallels, only proves your delusions.

Traitors have no place in our future. We will unite, reconcile and work for common good.

Aung Tun Wrote:
13/09/2010
George T.S.H. said,
"China's interests in the country together with the ethnic Chinese in Burma would fare worse than in 1968 this time in the wake of an upheaval inevitable as well and soon also."

You must be funny Bollywood style illusionist. For any incidents you'd better check the historical background. The 1967 incident was orchestrated by Ne Win who tried to stop leftist extremism from spreading to Burma and to avoid the public's anger over the rice shortage problem that was created by the policies of the Burmese leader himself. I can't see any major shift in government in the future, not for at least 10 years.

Burmese Chinese Wrote:
13/09/2010
In their dream to be a super power,communist China sees fit to support all the pariah states of the world, not least of which are the murderous generals from Burma. They are of course dreaming that the status quo will remain until the day Red China becomes no.1 in the world.
Well dream on, remember Chairman Mao promised the great leap forward to beat UK,France and USA by 1970?

Marty Myanmar Wrote:
13/09/2010
In every photo of Than Shwe, there is always someone assisting him. Poor guy, all the medical trips to Singapore have not been helpful. Probably gives himself about 4 years to go. Then he will be put into a coffin too short for him and dumped into a mass cremation.

tocharian Wrote:
12/09/2010
I wouldn't bet on that.

China is a cunning and selfish nation with an Orwellian hypocritical foreign policy. It has been doing "shady" things almost all over the world and the "think tanks" of the West do not have the real power to change the political landscape. In fact, China actually knows how to manipulate the press in the US.

PB Publico Wrote:
11/09/2010
The Chinese spokeswoman has said, "China hoped the international community would provide constructive help for the Burmese elections by refraining from taking any action that has a “negative impact on its [Burma's] domestic political process as well as regional peace and stability.”
Is China providing constructive help to the people of Burma by appealing to the international community not to criticise the junta and act in support of the people's legitimate rights?
What rights or mandate does the junta have
to do everything to give all the economic rights in Burma and strategic access to the Indian ocean through Burma.

What did or did not China say when North Korean embassy staff raided and took away the books from the premises of the writer? Isn't North Korea a vassal state of China the same way Burma presently is?

PB Publico Wrote:
11/09/2010
Isn't supporting the repressive junta for the sake of economic exploitation and geopolitical advantage an act of interference in a neighbor's internal affairs?

Isn't China's idea of constructive involvement for the progress of the people of Burma a shameless lie, considering their thorough knowledge of the junta's destruction of the moral and economic values of the Burmese people?

JSL Wrote:
11/09/2010
look at Than shwe He can't stand by himself, so that means when he falls his value is nothing..

Kerry Wrote:
11/09/2010
The truth is, the world is over China.

Who can possibly respect a nation whose leaders still beat monastics regularly to death, who execute people with mental illness, torture humans barbarically, support murderous regimes, block all efforts globally to avert environmental catastrophe, who try to bully ALL the leaders of the free world, and who fete or show real respect to anyone, except the likes of Than Shwe, Mugabe and Kim Jong Il!!

What happened to a country with so much potential to contribute to the world? Not only are they the moral pariahs of the globe, but they are also rapacious beyond belief, which will soon throw the balance of the whole planet into an abyss of darkness!

Who would have thought that things could go so wrong in the 21st Century, that such cold thugs would rule the planet,

Imagine China ('religion is poison!')as the dominant nation on earth... no-one would be free, or happy, except these black suited clones, lacking humanity in all important ways

Malihkrang Wrote:
11/09/2010
China is not looking to win the hearts of the Burmese people and it has no long-term interests in Burma because it is planning to destroy Burma within the next few years. China is a collaborator with the Burmese regime against a national reconciliation in Burma. There are too many strangers in my country now. No "Made in China", No "Chinese Investment" in Burma please.

Malihkrang,
Myitkyina,
Kachin State

Soe Thane Wrote:
11/09/2010
What planet is U Win Tin living on? He wants China to promote 'democratization' and 'ethnic minority rights' in Burma? Should Burma follow China's example and become a one-party communist dictatorship? If Burma followed China's model, one thing is for sure - U Win Tin would never have been allowed out of jail, much less be allowed to speak to journalists.

If U Win Tin actually thought carefully, he would realize that it is the policies his party has been promoting - sanctions etc - that have given China a huge advantage in Burma. China invests everywhere, and recognizes whatever government is in power - democratic or not. The difference in Burma is that the NLD has chased away investment and trade with anyone else.

Min Thu Wrote:
11/09/2010
I believe Than Shwe will be escorted into court like this picture. He is the biggest criminal in Burmese history and he deserves to be put on trial for the sake of countless crimes he committed for the past two decades.

A.M.O Wrote:
11/09/2010
Homework for China, before jumping onto Burmese bandwagon (in Yes/No format):

-Burma has longest civil war in SEA (Y/N)
-Burma has the most volatile political climate in SEA (Y/N)
-Can China do grab-&-go in 'energy' in Burma(Y/N)
-Regime could turn any crisis into anti-Chinese riots(say '67 anti-Chinese riot)(Y/N)
-Regime's dependence on China is on an ad hoc basis(Y/N)
- Public sentiment towards Chinese is typically negative (Y/N)

[NB:if there are more Ys than Ns, then forget about it]

Myanmar Tiger Wrote:
11/09/2010
Last month, Myanmar Automobile Industries under management of Ministry of Industry 2, bought Injection Molding Machine for production of Car Acessories for Grand Tiger Pickup trucks. The representative person of the company who sold the Injection Machine to Myanmar said that they have to added about 25% of the total value of contracts for personal use of U Soe Thein, Minister of Industry 2. When they bought Hyundai Excavators produced in China for the Ministry of Industry Last year, the Chinese government did not intervene regarding the commission added for the Burmese Minister, but this time hte chinese government asked company who received Burmese government contract why. This suggests the Chinese government will no longer support the Burmese Regime for Long

Tettoe Aung Wrote:
11/09/2010
U Win Tin is right. China's 'mindless protection' of Than Shwe and his military regime will become a big mistake if (and it's just a matter of time) when change in Burma comes. According to international law the incoming government in Burma does not have to honor any of the agreements signed between Than Shwe's regime and China. China will lose a lot if that becomes a reality soon. What is Than Shwe, to me he's just a 'walking dead'. No wonder in the US you have to prove the candidate for Presidency is healthy. Maybe he's making this trip with all of his family so that if his medical treatment in China does not go well and he dies, they're all be at his deathbed. Speculation is that his trip to India was to ask India leaders to help him get medical treatment in the UK. The strange coincidence is that the UK Prime Minister was in India during Than Shwe's visit. Coincidence or is it deliberate? Who knows. Don't they say politics and state affairs is as murky as 'the parrot and jacaranda'?

Ngal Hriang Wrote:
11/09/2010
Finally, killer Than Shwe is apprehended by Chinese officials in Beijing. He will be extradited to the UN for the crimes he committed in Burma.

DetDoe Wrote:
11/09/2010
Why does Brig-Gen Soe Shein have to hold Than Shwe's arm all the time during his China trip? Is he close to dropping dead?

Natshinnaung Wrote:
11/09/2010
It seems like Than Shwe is under arrest in China. Is he so weak that he cannot walk on his own feet?

A Chinese Wrote:
11/09/2010
So, would you like us to step into your internal affairs?

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
10/09/2010
U Win Tin said, "China’s promotion of Burma's repressive regime and unfair elections through a non-inclusive political process could spark more anti-Chinese sentiment among Burmese which in turn could threaten the stability of Chinese investments in Burma".

Remember what happened to the Chinese in 1967/68 in Burma?

China’s policy on Burma focusing primarily on stability, but a political process that is not free, fair and inclusive, would certainly cause instability in Burma and China's interests in the country together with the ethnic Chinese in Burma would fare worse than in 1968 this time in the wake of an upheaval inevitable as well and soon also.

Best bet for China at this juncture would be DITCHING the dying monk murderer NOW and take steps to build trust and gain the camaraderie of the Burmese people.

Hu Jintao would not regret the day he sided with the Burmese people led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and stand tall as a stakeholder also.
Of course he would RUE the day if he WOULDN'T.

Moe Aung Wrote:
10/09/2010
"She (Jiang Yu) said a peaceful,stable and progressing Burma serves not only the Burmese people but also the countries in the region. She added that Burma’s internal issues “should be independently resolved” by the Burmese regime and people."

The Chinese continue to pay lip service to peace, stability and progress in Burma, but at the same time are bending over backwards to keep Burma on side. Than Shwe continues to play brinkmanship with the Chinese who need to compete with both India and the US for influence, market share and strategic interests in the Bay of Bengal.

The Lao-pan era in Burma has already fostered resentment and fear of being overwhelmed by the alien especially in the North. The Chinese are investing for short term gains in Burma but in long term animosity from the Burmese nation.

This will backfire in a horrible way one day, and the Chinese newcomers will be on the receiving end. The Chinese government will be left to react and pick up the pieces only afterwards.

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