Yunnan officials complicit in Kokang conflict

02 June 2015
Yunnan officials complicit in Kokang conflict
Workers at a jade mining area in Kachin State Photo: Mizzima

The illicit precious stone, energy and timber industries in Myanmar have roped in officials involved in the region, leading to delays and inaccuracies in reports to Beijing, according to Boxun, a citizen-sourced news site based in Hong Kong, reported the Want China Times on 2 June.
Standing accused are two former chairmen of the Yunnan province party committee, Qin Guangrong and Bai Enpei, current standing member of the Yunnan party committee and chair of the province's party committee of political and legal affairs Meng Sutie, as well as several ambassadors and military attaches posted to Myanmar.
Their involvement is the reason that Beijing's policy towards conflict in the Kokang region of Myanmar has been slow and ineffective, said the report.
Logging and mining are illegal in Myanmar, but northern militia groups who are engaged in conflict with the central Myanmar government often issue logging permits and mining licenses to Chinese companies in contravention of national law.
Beijing does not have an accurate grasp of what is going on in the border regions, which has led to criticism of China in overseas media publications. Some publications have accused Beijing of supplying rebels in Kokang in order to protect its interests in the logging, gem, and energy industries of northern Myanmar. Domestic publications have also criticized Beijing for its indecisiveness in taking military action after a town in Yunnan was hit by a stray bomb from a Myanmar government plane. The influx of refugees from Kokang has also led to dissatisfaction among residents of Yunnan, said the report.
Grassroots-level departments in the region have complained that the information they provide is often distorted as it makes its way to Beijing, which results in inaction and a lack of clear understanding of the situation at the border among Beijing policymakers, said the website.