Myanmar coup is embarrassing for China


Therefore, it stands to reason that the coup in Myanmar – a country whose intervening military co-ops have long and sometimes close ties with China – will hardly be dispersed in Beijing. But that would be wrong.

To be sure, there was a clear rhetorical difference between China’s reaction and the reaction of Western capitals afterward Military intervention on February 1 in Myanmar Ahead of the opening of Parliament, which saw the arrest of hundreds of elected officials and activists, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. the previous Is characterized by Events as a “major cabinet reshuffle,” and the latter as an illegal power grab it Deserve Targeted penalties. China Blocked Statement in the Security Council condemning the coup.

But the deeply contested repercussions of the coup present China with a serious geopolitical problem. The wave of mass protests that rocked cities across the country has, at moments, taken on anti-China overtones Demonstrators gathered outside the Chinese embassy In Yangon, call for a boycott of Chinese goods. Myanmar’s opponents have accused China of helping the military enforce internet censorship and providing illegal arms transfers to quell protests. Last week, China’s ambassador to the country He denied these activities He said the current situation in Myanmar “is not at all what China wants to see.”

He might be right. Beijing was likely satisfied with the status quo before the coup, a situation in which its state-owned companies invested in a list of companies across the country while its officials maintained ties not only to the military but perhaps Even warm relationships with Suu Kyi And her party, the National League for Democracy. The current situation puts a question mark over the multi-billion dollar deals and it is Deepening anti-China sentiment In a strategic country along its borders.

The military takeover contrasts with the unstable assumptions of an earlier era, when it was assumed that Beijing preferred an opaque and quiet regime on its doorstep. “The coup has complicated the geopolitical conflict over a country that has recently emerged from diplomatic isolation,” Note the New York Times. China sought to make it an obedient neighbor, while the United States sought the right mix of pressure and encouragement to foster the transition to democratic rule. It is also unclear the extent of any external influence, from East or West, on the generals, whose fortified mentality has isolated Myanmar from the world for half a century.

As the Biden administration struggles to muster the right leverage to put pressure on Myanmar’s generals, Beijing faces its own problems. “China is the biggest loser from this coup,” Enzi Han, associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, Said Timothy McLaughlin from Atlantic. “The public relations that it has undertaken to improve its image over the past five years working with the National League for Democracy are in vain.”

After the 2015 elections that saw the National League for Democracy take control of a civilian-run government, Suu Kyi chose China as the site of her first foreign trip. “This showed a clear indication that China’s worst nightmare will not come: that the National League for Democracy, which China has long considered to be under the auspices of the West, or perhaps a puppet in its hand, has not been turning sincerely toward the West,” Mary Callahan, associate professor of studies The International at Henry M Jackson School of International Studies, He told the Wall Street Journal.

Suu Kyi’s new relationship with Beijing could be helpful in helping to calm the ethnic conflicts raging along China’s border with Myanmar. After the brutal military campaign against the Rohingya on the other side of the country – what then-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called “ethnic cleansing” Or, as many international experts say, genocide – both Suu Kyi and Chinese officials have worked to protect Myanmar’s top officers from international punishment.

But the military remains wary of Beijing, both Deep-rooted historical reasons As well as China’s increasingly diverse points of contact in the modernization of Myanmar. General Min Aung Hling, the country’s top military commander and coup leader, “resented China’s role in Myanmar’s ethnic armed organizations,” a former senior diplomat who met the leader He said to the Atlantic. “I haven’t seen him as a particularly friend of China.”

This is not good news for Beijing. “They spent a great deal of energy and time developing Aung San Suu Kyi – with some success,” said Pilhari Kosikan, a former Singapore diplomat and chair of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, He told the New York Times. Now they have to start over with a new group of generals, and these generals are not only difficult for the West. It is difficult for everyone. “

As the protests continue, the prospect of a more bloody crackdown remains. “The big questions are will the civil disobedience movement continue and remain peaceful, and will the police and armed forces continue to avoid confrontation?” Nicholas Koppel Books, Former Australian ambassador to Myanmar. “Min Aung Hling sees his forces, the Tatmadaw, as the Praetorian guardians of national unity and stability and will intervene in the event of riots or violence.”

There was already Number of victims After reports of incidents of security forces opening fire, anti-coup activists will not be alarmed by the threat of violence.

Violence against protesters “can happen at any time in Yangon, but we have to keep doing what we have to do, even if the soldiers are willing to shoot us,” Thora Zhao, 32, said, Tell my colleagues. “Under military dictatorship, no one is safe, whether I go out on the streets or sit at home, so we chose to express our objection instead of remaining silent.”

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