03/16/2021, 13.28
MYANMAR
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More killings. UN invokes international solidarity for people and democracy in Myanmar

by Francis Khoo Thwe

According to local media, 63 were killed three days ago, in Yangon alone. UN secretary Antonio Guterres appeals to "regional actors". 32 Chinese factories damaged. Huawei mobile phones boycott: they allowed the military to use facial recognition technology.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - At least 20 people were killed yesterday after another day of protests against the military coup. This was confirmed today by the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP, a local supervisory group, which is concerned that "the number of victims is dramatically increasing ". The AAPP estimates that more than 180 people have been killed since February 1, the starting date of the coup.

Many are demonstrators who took part in marches, but others are civilians who were killed just because they were nearby or in the line of fire of the security forces. In Yangon, two women were killed at home, with bullets fired by soldiers in the streets; a street sweeper who was collecting garbage was knocked to the ground by a soldier and was killed instantly.

According to Myanmar Now, a local newspaper, last Sunday March 14 was the most violent day so far, with at least 63 killed in Yangon alone. Yesterday many seriously injured in the events of two days ago died.

Western countries - first of all the USA and Great Britain - condemn the junta violence. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, yesterday asked the international community and "regional actors to unite in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations".

These "regional actors” include China, which the population suspects of sympathy towards the junta. Such suspicions are fueled by a deep anti-Chinese sentiment, which has been brewing for some time, provoked by the invasion of the national market with Chinese goods and factories and for the situation of near-slavery in which the Burmese who work for Chinese factories live.

Three days ago, several Chinese-owned factories were set on fire in the Hlaing Tharyar neighborhood. The Global Times, a Beijing newspaper close to the leadership, says that 32 Chinese factories have been hit, with damage that is around 37 million US dollars. Two Chinese employees were injured.

Beijing has repeatedly blocked a condemnation of the coup by the UN Security Council, together with Russia, Vietnam and India. However, China has also expressed its disapproval of the current situation. After the incidents three days ago, the Chinese embassy in Myanmar demanded that "all acts of violence" be terminated, that the perpetrators be punished according to the law and that the safety of the lives and property of Chinese companies and of personnel in Myanmar be ensured ".

In response, there are appeals on social media to boycott Chinese products. Among the first products affected are Huawei mobile phones: according to demonstrators, this has helped the army apply the facial recognition technology that the junta uses to go and arrest the leaders of demonstrations and members of the League for Democracy at night.  

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