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China in cahoots with Myanmar military despite local and international censure

Myanmar's anti-coup protests have also turned against China for perceived support to the military junta (Photo: IANS)

China is providing continuous support to the Myanmar military which continues to suppress the pro-democracy protests. Ever since the Myanmar military upstaged the democratically elected government of popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 this year, people have taken out anti-coup demonstrations relentlessly.

Within weeks of the coup, the Myanmarese had alleged that China had been providing support to the anti-democracy generals. People protested outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon to denounce the Communist country and Myanmar's northern neighbour. The protestors said that Chinese planes landed in Myanmar with technical and surveillance equipment. China was also alleged to have provided IT technicians to help the regime build firewalls and block internet access.

The allegations of Chinese support to the Myanmar military junta have only become stronger since then.

In one of the latest allegations, the Myanmar army has put to use Chinese drones to keep an eye on pro-democracy protestors. Myanmar is using these drones to spy on demonstrations in Mandalay. Media reports say that these drones have been identified as Chinese-made CH-3A which Myanmar had bought from China in 2014-2015.

In other examples of support to the military regime, China has still not condemned the coup or commented on the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. Instead it has steadfastly opposed international action against Myanmar generals calling the coup a "cabinet reshuffle" and Myanmar's internal affair.

Right from the initial days of the coup, China has been lending moral support to the generals. It blocked a UN Security Council statement in February condemning the coup. Even as the US and the other western nations have imposed various kinds of military and economic sanctions against the country and selected junta leaders responsible for leading the coup, China has been protecting the regime and trying to thwart the impact of the western sanctions.

It instead said: "The international community should create a sound external environment for Myanmar to properly resolve the differences. All actions taken by the Security Council should be conducive to Myanmar's political and social stability, peace and reconciliation, and avoid exacerbating tensions or further complicating the situation."

As the military crackdown on the pro-democracy protestors is blamed for at least 800 deaths, the Myanmarese are losing their patience with China. People have given calls to boycott Chinese products. They have attacked and set on fire Chinese factories—as many as 40 factories have been attacked. Even Chinese managers and workers have been attacked in the industrial hubs.