04/04/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – The Government of China has announced its staunch support for the Myanmar Junta, the State Administration Council (SAC). The SAC claims control of the government after removing the democratically elected government in February 2021 and launching a brutal campaign to suppress its political opposition.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Burmese counterpart, Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, where he exchanged assurances, which were later confirmed by the Chinese State Council, of China’s unyielding support for the Myanmar junta. The statement read, “no matter how the situation changes, China will support Myanmar in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity…”
The announcement comes as little surprise; however, it is a blow to the country’s opposition, the National Unity Government (NUG), as the support of a world power emboldens the illegitimate regime. The wider region has attempted to curtail the impact of the conflict through humanitarian assistance and has maintained a non-interventionist policy in Myanmar, even as the violence has escalated.
Since February 2021, The Myanmar junta has killed more than 1,600 people as they conduct a violent campaign to suppress their political opposition. The military has used airstrikes, shelling, and the burning of homes and churches around Myanmar’s ethnic regions, leaving countless Christians and other religious and ethnic minorities caught in the crossfire. Frightfully, this comes only days after the Junta leader, Min Aung Hlaing, announced during a military parade in Naypyitaw, that the government would “annihilate” any of the militia groups challenging the junta. He called on the nation’s ethnic groups to withhold support from the people’s defense forces, which the SAC has now branded as “terrorists.”
This is a clear cause for concern about escalation on the Myanmar front. This derogative language was seen ahead of the violence committed against the Rohingya in 2017 and eerily takes away the humanity of one’s opposition; the Tatmadaw’s attack on the Rohingya has been recognized as genocide by the US since last month. However, China, which has also been accused of Genocide, appears undeterred, praising their economic cooperation with Myanmar instead.
The U.S. government must put pressure on the SAC’s revenue with more powerful sanctions, secure the humanitarian provisions working through Congress, and prevent the junta from expanding its assault on Myanmar’s civilians. Failure to end this conflict soon will allow China to dictate the terms of the conflict, and its reputation does not bode well for Myanmar’s civilians, their rights, and their livelihoods.
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