Daily Management Review

Beijing Wants To Intervene In The Rohingya Crisis In Myanmar To Protect Its Investments There


Beijing Wants To Intervene In The Rohingya Crisis In Myanmar To Protect Its Investments There
The ongoing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar will be attempted to be halted by the world’s second largest economy.  But selflessness is not the driving force behind this as safety and stability of the hefty investments in the region is the aim of the attempt.
A return of U.S. sanctions against the dictatorship could be the result of the crisis – the alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, and for this purpose, China has proposed a three-point plan.
The three point solution includes discussions on the possibility of enhancement of economic wealth in the northern Burmese state of Rakhine, the regions where the Rohingya are largely based, returning of the refugees from Bangladesh and initiating a cease fire. A China-led consortium is now building a special economic zone in Rakhine which is among Myanmar's poorest provinces.
A $2.3 billion industrial park, pipelines for oil and gas planned to reach China's Yunnan province from Rakhine's coast and a deep sea port worth $7.3 billion are being built as part of the special economic zone in Kyaukpyu, one of Rakhine's major towns.
This is not the first time that China has interfered in the internal matters of Burma. Earlier, when there was ethnic strife in Myanmar's Kachin and Shan states, a mediating role was played by China. But analysts say that a clear business agenda exists in the latest diplomatic effort by China.
"It is fair to say that commercial interests are at play, China has significant investments in Rakhine state, the center of the crisis," said Nick Marro, China analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Earlier created as a as a joint venture between both governments in 2013, one of the key parts of the China’s one Belt One Road network is the Kyaukpyu special economic zone which covers over 4,000 acres. China is worried about the potential disruptions to current construction work because the region is close to the violence in Rakhine.
"China wants political and economic stability in Myanmar as this is positive for its projects in the country," explained Romain Caillaud, director of Asia Group Advisors, a Southeast Asia-focused advisory firm.
According to an English statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website, the Beijing government hopes that a smooth progress of the peace process "more than any other country," said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi while speaking in the capital city of Naypyidaw.
Steve Wilford, Asia- Pacific director for global risk analysis at consultancy Control Risks said because of China’s business interests in the region, a desire for calm in Rakhine is clearly reflected by Beijing's peace plan.
However, in real terms, achieving the objective would be difficult. There is strong anti-Muslim sentiment which is aggravating the issue even as the central government and the military that still exerts huge influence in the earlier recluse state, do not consider the Rohingya as real citizens of the country.
Amnesty International said in a Tuesday report, that "a dehumanizing system of apartheid" is constituted by the government which restricts the Rohingya access to health care, education and general movement to exert control on the population. Aung San Suu Kyi has also been severely criticized in the report for having failed to stop the human rights abuses.