The military coup in Myanmar, which was effectuated on February 1, and has since claimed over 500 lives in the country is beginning to appear unfeasible not just for the Burmese army, but also for China. The paper dragon has, via its state media, called the coup in Myanmar a mere ‘cabinet reshuffle’. Its response to the military junta snatching power from the democratically elected government and declaring a state of emergency for one year has been a tongue-in-cheek one. Far from condemning the coup and the Burmese military’s brazen human rights violations, China has instead been working to insulate the military junta from international pressure. China’s orchestration of the coup in Myanmar has begun backfiring magnificently.
In a move that proves that the Myanmar military has the tacit support of China, the paper dragon blocked a resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seeking to condemn the coup. As a permanent member of the UNSC, China vetoed the resolution, which furthers the beliefs of many that the military junta of Myanmar has the backing of China. But that is hardly what proves that China has orchestrated the coup d’état in Myanmar. The Taiwan Times last month reported that Chinese soldiers were being transported into Myanmar on flights and that “Chinese-looking” troops have been spotted around Myanmar’s cities.
Within Myanmar, whatever remains of a ‘social media’ is replete with the chatter of China helping the military junta set up a giant firewall to keep dissidents from getting organised online. According to a report published by a think tank — Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), unregistered flights from China have been landing every night in Myanmar carrying unknown goods and personnel from China.
You thought China could not do anything more than this? Well, China is also deploying the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to Myanmar’s border! According to The Irrawaddy, recently many Chinese soldiers and military trucks have arrived at the border.
That China is behind the military coup in Myanmar which has resulted in the indiscriminate killing of Burmese people has not been given a miss by the democracy and freedom-loving people of Myanmar. As such, anger has been growing against China in Myanmar, and Chinese factories, pipelines and infrastructure along with its embassy too, have come under attack. In March, the protestors torched at least ten Chinese-financed factories in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone. Pro-democracy supporters in Myanmar have called for the Chinese Embassy in Yangon to be closed permanently, after the paper dragon last Thursday once again blocked a UNSC resolution condemning the military coup in Myanmar. Since February, the Chinese embassy in Yangon has been facing daily protests.
The people of Myanmar are willing to blow up Chinese pipelines in the country. Under significant threat of being blown up is the 800-km twin pipeline project running from Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State on the Bay of Bengal through Magwe and Mandalay regions and northern Shan State to China. The scare within the CCP is palpable, as it ‘instructed’ the Burmese army in March to protect the oil and gas pipelines following the emergence of anti-Chinese sentiment and protesters threatening to blow up the pipelines.
In a development that signals that China has abandoned supporting insurgent and ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar to join hands with the Burmese military, the Arakan Army (AA) and its two-partner ethnic armed groups in the Brotherhood Alliance said that they are ready to join forces with all ethnic people in fighting against the Myanmar military regime if its brutal killing of anti-coup protesters continues. As a matter of fact, since the coup was effectuated, the ethnic rebel groups have been providing a safe haven for pro-democracy leaders and elected legislators.
In the works is a military and democratic coalition of sorts, which aims to fight the military junta in Myanmar. Last month, a cabinet minister in the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) says that talks aimed at establishing a federal union in Myanmar were coming along well and that the groups were almost “80% there”. According to Myanmar Now, the CRPH, which consists mainly of MPs elected in last year’s election, has been negotiating with ethnic armed groups, political parties, and protest committees since it was formed after the military seized power on February 1. The goal of the CRPH is to establish a federal union in the areas dominated by the rebel groups, so as to fight an armed conflict with the Burmese military if that is what is needed to restore democracy in the country.
The military has always been the apex power centre in Myanmar, even during the short-lived democratic run of Myanmar which started in 2011. The Chinese-orchestrated coup, however, seems to have come as an opportunity for the people of Myanmar to rid themselves of the military once and for all. Already, the people of Myanmar have come to realise who the master supporting the military junta is. With the anti-China sentiment at an all-time high in Myanmar, and with the paper dragon’s critical projects and infrastructure in the country faced with the threat of being destroyed by angry pro-democracy protestors, the paper dragon’s gamble has gone awfully wrong in Myanmar. Its support for the Myanmar military is backfiring and people are constantly simmering with hatred for the CCP.