While Myanmar soldiers kill children, Beijing scrambles to secure gas and oil
At least 44 minors killed so far to quell the pro-democracy revolt. The Chinese are asking the coup generals to protect the gas and oil pipeline built as part of the Belt and Road. More charges against democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi: she faces 14 years in prison.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – While dissidents and humanitarian organizations denounce the atrocities ordered by the Burmese generals against children and minors, Beijing has other priorities: it wants the military junta to protect the oil and gas pipelines that connect the two countries, two infrastructures subsidized with Chinese money as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (the "new Silk Roads).
The Chinese government seems intent on giving full support to the Naypyidaw military, engaged in a bloody repression of the popular protests that broke out after the coup on February 1.
Meeting his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan, on March 31 in Nanping (Fujian) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made it clear: China appreciates that ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Countries) has adopted "a policy of non-interference" with respect to the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.
From Beijing's point of view, external interference - especially Western interference - is a danger to its commercial and strategic interests in Myanmar.
According to The Irrawaddy, Chinese authorities have asked the Burmese junta to strengthen the defense of the pipelines carrying oil and gas from Kyaukphyu, on the Bay of Bengal, to the Chinese province of Yunnan.
China's concerns about these energy structures have multiplied after ethnic militias stationed in Shan State threatened to join the revolt against Burmese generals in recent days. Before arriving in Chinese territory, the pipelines pass through this area of Myanmar.
Meanwhile, the toll of demonstrators killed by the military continues to grow. The Association for Political Prisoners estimates that to date there are 543; this number includes 44 children. Save the Children has estimated that the number of minors killed at the hands of the Burmese security forces has doubled in the past 12 days.
The regime of General Min Aung Hlaing has so far detained 2,700 opponents. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Democratic leader ousted by the junta, continues to remain under arrest. After allegations of corruption, the military authorities charged her with violating a law on state secrets dating back to the British colonial era: she faces 14 years in prison is found guilty.
Yesterday Mya Aye, another historical exponent of the democratic front, was also charges. He is a veteran of Generation 88, the group of dissidents who were the protagonists of the revolt of 1988, later suppressed by the Armed Forces. The accusation against him is that he incited the population to commit crimes.