Prosperity or Conflict in Rakhine State, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Deal of Kyaukphyu SEZ Reprobated

Mrs Aung San Suu Kyi and Mr Xi Jinping Toasting in Naypaytaw 


Prosperity or Conflict in Rakhine State, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Deal of Kyaukphyu SEZ Reprobated 


19 January 2020. Sittway. 

Four villagers including 54 years old man were found deaths with gun shots and tortured near May Lun village, Minbya township, Rakhine State on January 16, the day President Xi Jinping took a two days official visit to Myanmar.

Local residents believed they were killed by Myanmar soldiers but no one was accountable and brought to justice. The families felt very painful and desperate. 

Human rights violations and war crimes after Myanmar military launching farce military operations in Rakhine State is dire and deplorable. 

International community and neighboring countries like China and India pay little attention in massive local people displacements and civilian casualties, fighting between Arakan Army and Myanmar Army since 2019. 

Rakhine people are very dubious Chinese President Mr Jinping brought peace and prosperity to Rakhine State. Instead, the agreement between Chinese government and Myanmar government, central decision without local people consent, to develop Special Economic Zone in Kyaukphyu will bring more conflicts. 

Before the Chinese president visiting to Myanmar, local civil societies issued a statement to postpone singing SEZ agreement in Kyaukphyu. They said they were very concerned the central decision and left out the local people for benefit sharing. 

It happened when the Chinese dealt with multibillion dollar worth gas purchasing and building oil tanker dock and twin pipeline in 2000s.  Local people got no share but their lands were confiscated without paying any compensation. 

The dollars from the gas deal were shared among the military generals and cronies in splitting greater portions by building Naypaytaw and highways, the new governmental residents and offices, relocated from Yangon, according to the lower raking officials who were familiar to the projects and who remained anonymous for reprisal. 

Thus, Rakhine state remains the poorest in Myanmar. 

Arakan Army Commander General Tun Myat Naing once was documenting the abuses of Myanmar military government and forceful land grabbing in Kyaukphyu. He was fully aware of injustice and further conflicts in Rakhine State. 

One of the foundations of current Arakan Army armed conflict with the central government and Tatmadaw comes from the Kyaukphyu unfair gas deal and the pipeline project. Several key leaders including Deputy Commander DR Nyo Tun Aung are from Kyaukphyu city. They all felt pain-heart of unfair deals and exploitation. 

The recent agreement between Chinese government and Myanmar central government to develop SEZ in Kyaukphyu is not new, but it will create nepotisms, cronyisms, and corruptions as usual and as centralized domination and decision. It will leave the local investors and people behinds, and it is even leading to the local residents in submission. 

The elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has not yet changed any behavior of respecting ethnic people and alleviating chronic poverty but strongly stuck-up in central figure and exploitation over the ethnic people, in terms of lack of locally decision making and wealth sharing. 

Some observers of the project reported local people will not get good jobs but 3-Ds, Dirty, Danger, and Demeaning. 

Local shareholders may be allowed for minimal portions of investments but Burman cronies and technicians. 

Indeed, Rakhine people have been suffered marginalization and exploitation for decades by the central government. And, the new deal of Kyaukphyu SEZ is another unamicable but inviting further bloody conflicts in Rakhine State.

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