Beijing continues to finance the coup generals

China announced US$ 6 million in funding for development projects. Western governments only provide humanitarian aid. The crackdown by Myanmar’s military against the resistance continues. The former Burma is the country where Chinese companies commit the highest number of human rights violations.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – China continues to finance the military junta that overthrew Myanmar’s civilian government of democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February.

The Chinese embassy in the former Burma confirmed that the Chinese government will support 21 local development projects, worth US$ 6 million.

Unlike Western countries, which condemned the coup by Myanmar’s generals and the subsequent repression of the resistance movement, Beijing has maintained open channels of communication with the new regime.

For Chinese leaders, what is happening in Myanmar is an internal matter in a sovereign state. China’s primary interest is the stability of the neighbouring state, whoever is in charge.

The West only provides humanitarian aid. Yesterday, the US announced US$ 50 million in emergency aid to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in Myanmar.

Local civil society groups have called for United Nations action to fight the health crisis, aggravated by the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In the meantime, the military crackdown against the resistance continues. According to The Irrawaddy, security forces have targeted civilians in Yangon, the Sagaing region, and Kachin state in recent days.

Myanmar’s parallel national unity government, made up of members of the National League for Democracy (Suu Kyi's party) and representatives of ethnic groups, claims that the military have  killed more than 800 civilians since the coup.

About 740 junta soldiers have also died in clashes with ethnic armies and resistance fighters in July.

Opponents of the military junta accuse China of supporting the coup. Thanks largely to cooperation in the energy field, Beijing exerts a significant influence on Myanmar.

The Chinese want to protect the gas and oil pipelines that link Kyaukpyu, on the Bay of Bengal, to Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, which are part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi Jinping's plan to strengthen Beijing's trade links with the rest of the world.

A study published today by the British NGO Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reveals that Myanmar is the country where Chinese companies commit the highest number of human rights violations: 97 out of 679 between 2013 (year when the Belt and Road was launched) and 2020.

The mining sector is the one where the most abuses occur, with harm inflicted on local communities. The research questions China's efforts to appear as a responsible foreign investor.