What connects Rohingya genocide with China’s 7.3 billion investment in Rakhine state?

‘China’s 70 – 85% share in the deep sea port will connect the country to the Bay of Bengal’

BEIJING: China’s enterprising investment on infrastructure construction plans worth $7.3 billion in Myanmar’s Rakhine state is the ground reality behind a well planned and organized ethnic cleansing and
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.”

“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,” reported Reuters.

This geographical infrastructural planning is what makes China support Myanmar authorities from remaining inaudible against violence on Rohingya Muslims.

“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,” Murray Hiebert, deputy director of the South East Asia programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told TOI.

Does it stop here?

No. 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.

“China certainly would not accept resolution or something of this kind at the Security Council at this point,” Hiebert added.

“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.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies at London’s King’s College said 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.”

“China has not condemned the treatment of Rohingyas. 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,” Hiebert added.