BEIJING: China will block all efforts to internationalize the
Rohingya refugee crisis
because it has ambitious investment and infrastructure construction plans worth $7.3 billion in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, three different experts told TOI on Tuesday.
Rakhine has witnessed large scale violence and alleged ethnic cleansing resulting in mass migration of Rohingya Muslims to neighbouring Bangladesh, especially since August this year.
Associate research fellow Irene Chan with the China Programme in Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) said, ”
China is investing+
in a $7.3 billion deep sea project in the Rakhine. It also has plans for an industrial park and a special economic zone in the region. I think this investment issue takes a higher precedence for the Chinese against the humanitarian issue.”
Reuters reported that Chinese official documents suggest that a consortium led by China’s CITIC corporation has sought between 70% and 85% share in the deep sea port, which will advance China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) programme and connect the country to the Bay of Bengal.
This is cited as the main reason why
China is supporting Myanmar authorities+
, who have done little to stop the violence against Rohingya Muslims, it was suggested.
Murray Hiebert, deputy director of the South East Asia programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told TOI, “It (China) clearly is supporting the
government of Myanmar+
in addressing the issue of how it responded to the attack by the so-called Rohingya Preservation Army. China is telling Myanmar, telling the UN that it understands and supports Myanmar’s attempts to preserve its sovereignty.”
What is more, China will actively block any attempt by other countries to get the Security Council to pressure Yangon into taking concrete action for protection of Rohingyas.
Hiebert added, “China certainly would not accept resolution or something of this kind at the Security Council at this point, that’s for sure…
“I don’t know if it could change its position depending on what the wording of the resolution would be but China very much would stand behind the Myanmar government’s opposition to the UN taking any political action, taking any direct action.”
At least 400 Rohingyas have been killed and 400,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh fearing further bloodshed.
Several Western countries are condemning the violence against the Rohingyas and preparing to get the UN to censure Myanmar for failing to stop the bloodshed.
“China has not condemned the treatment of Rohingyas,” Hiebert pointed out, adding,”China has also called for an end to violence which, presumably, refers to the attacks against Myanmar security forces in Rakhine on August 25 by militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.”
Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies at London’s King’s College, said in an email reply to TOI, “China has its own image to consider. China will assert to the Myanmar leadership the imperative that they maintain stability and do not create a crisis, but in such a way that it will still be regarded as a non-interventionist and a relatively benign ally.”