August 23rd, 2012 | Global Times Govt denies forcing Myanmar citizens to leave
Authorities in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province and the Consulate General of Myanmar in Kunming Wednesday both denied that China had pressured the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), a political organization in Myanmar’s Kachin State, to bring 4,000 people who fled conflict in Myanmar back to the country.
The KIO said all 4,000 people would be brought back to the area controlled by the organization on Wednesday, reported the Irrawaddy News, a Myanmar newspaper based in Chiangmai, Thailand.
When contacted by the Global Times, the Consulate General of Myanmar in Kunming denied the KIO’s claim, adding that the organization was always releasing wrong information.
Officials from the Yunnan government and the government of Ruili, a town bordering Myanmar, told the Global Times that they hadn’t received any orders to pressure the Myanmar people who had fled to the province to leave.
“The Chinese government does not need to ask them to leave because it’s very common for Kachin people to come to Yunnan to visit relatives and friends as they share the same ancestors,” Zhu Zhenming, director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
According to the expert, Kachin people belong to the same ethnic group as Jingpo, a Chinese ethnic group who mostly live in the Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture of Dehong, which administers Ruili.
Shi Jinlin, a resident in Ruili, Wednesday told the Global Times that he saw hundreds of people from Myanmar around a local mosque three days ago.
Armed conflicts between the Kachin State, which seeks independence, and the Myanmar government broke out forcing thousands of people to flee to Yunnan to escape the fighting, Reuters reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs February rejected the word “refugee” used by the media, saying that they had come to China temporarily due to safety considerations and once the conflicts in Myanmar end, they would go back.
Sun Xiaoying, a professor with the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that China has been dealing with the problem carefully. “The government won’t treat Kachin people badly as they don’t want to displease the Jingpo people in our country.”
By Liu Sha