Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kachin nation relations with China and the USA (notes)

"American Baptist Churches USA and the Myanmar Baptist Convention"
Today called American Baptist Churches USA, the oldest Baptist denomination in the United States is reaping seeds sown by missionaries two centuries ago, as thousands of predominantly Baptist refugees being resettled in the United States are spawning new churches and revitalizing older congregations previously in decline.
“We have said that we are receiving the full circle of mission,” ABCUSA General Secretary Roy Medley said of renewal prompted by mass migration of persecuted Burmese resettling in American cities.
As situations unfolded in Burma, especially with the recent turn toward democracy, Medley said, military actions targeting ethnic minorities forced the Karen people to flee to refugee camps in Thailand and many Chin people into either Malaysia or to India.

Refugee influx -
Several years ago, the U.S. government agreed to resettle 20,000 people a year from the refugee camps.
“As a result of that, we’ve had a large influx of refugees from Burma who are predominantly Baptists,” Medley said. “One of the great blessings of what is a horrible situation—the diaspora of citizens being forced out from their home—has been that we have over a hundred new congregations that have been formed, and we have countless existing congregations where the refugees entered in and became part of those churches that are being revitalized.”
Medley said a prime example is First Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minn., home to the largest Karen refugee population in the United States. About 3,000 Karen people live in St. Paul. Most arrived in a 2003 resettlement wave.
Medley said the historic inner-city church had shrunken in size. Two years ago, he was there for First Baptist’s Christmas observance. “It was packed,” Medley said, “huge sanctuary packed— children all over the place.”

Repression of the Baptists -
All Christian missionaries, including American Baptists, were expelled from Burma in 1966 during early decades of military rule. The country’s name was changed to Myanmar in 1989.
The religious liberty of Baptists in Burma was curtailed sharply, but faith continued to prosper. Today, Myanmar’s population of 48 million includes 1.6 million Baptist Christians in more than 4,700 churches.
Since Myanmar’s shift from a military dictatorship to a fledgling democracy two years ago, things have taken a more favorable turn for the country’s Baptists. Burmese democracy leader and winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize Aung San Suu Kyi publicly praised Judson for good done to the Burmese people.
Prior to the 2013 Mission Summit, Yam Kho Pau, general secretary of the Myanmar Baptist Convention, presented his 10-year-plan for missions and evangelism to the International Ministries board of directors. He ended the presentation by reading a letter stating Myanmar Baptists believe God is opening the door for American Baptists to join them once again as co-laborers in Myanmar.
“Because of (political) changes, our mission work was forced to stop,” Pau told reporters. “We, the remaining churches—Baptist churches—we were not able to do anything in terms of mission, in terms of evangelization. We were not free. We were not allowed even to construct a building.”
“Now the door is open, since two years ago,” he said. “The door is open for the second revitalization—a new step for the relationship, fellowship and the renewal of cooperation, and a renewal of our collaboration in God’s mission.”

Current map of Bible Baptist Church missionary projects, 2014 [] [].

"Kachin Baptist Convention",
[], archived 2014-11-25 [], [begin excerpt]:
Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) is a Myanmar Baptist denominational body whose members practice the Baptist faith. It is an evangelical organization which approaches holistic mission. It is located in Myanmar throughout the country which bases its headquarters in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar. It has 15 associations and over 300 churches and is still growing [6]. Most of the members in KBC are Kachin, but some are not. Some believers within KBC are the fruits of labor from mission works to other tribes and races. According to 2000 census, KBC has 141,952 baptized members and 153,913 non-baptized members [2]. It will be more than that by 2010. It is stated that KBC has 400,000 baptized and non-baptized members in 2010 [7]. It has 449 ordained ministers and 790 un-ordained ministers according to 2000 statistic report from MBC.

[2] Myanmar Baptist Convention 2000 Statistical Report [copy from MBC]
[5] "First Kachin Baptized, 125 years old", 2007-03-19 [] []
[6] KBC Nseng Journal Vo. 3 (June, 2007; PDF version)
[7] "People gather for 36th Kachin Baptists’ conference", 2010-03-29 from "Kachin News" [’-conference.html] [’-conference.html]
[end excerpt]

[], archived 2014-11-25 []:
Myitkyina is business center of Kachin State. Resources are jade, gold, teak and forestry products and agriculture products. Due to short term contract of jade, gold mines, teak, Kachin State was good in business field for Chinese. As per government data, almost US$2 billion in jade were exported yearly in 2010, 2011. Now, due to fighting between Kachin KIA rebels and government army, all business are going down. Most of Kachin State business trades are done in Myitkyina.
Myitkyina Airport is the main airport serving the city. It connects to the cities of Putao and Mandalay.
The Mandalay to Myitkyina railway has been used for 100 years without repairing the tracks. It takes almost 24 hours because of old and bad railway tracks. This railway is major transportation for all kind of goods.
The Myitkyi Moegaung Tanai to Putao city road was constructed under British rule. Now, the road is very bad condition, Due to Kachin Rebbel KIA, there is a good road from Myitkyina to Laiza (KIA city) to go to China. Another developing road is from Bamo to Myitkyina.
Major religions are Theravada Buddhism and Christians (Roman Catholic and Baptist are major denominations). Other religions such as animism, Hinduism and Islam are also practised.
[end excerpt]

"Kachin Independence Army"
[], archived 2014-11-25 [], [begin excerpt]:
The Kachins are a coalition of six tribes whose homeland encompasses territory in Yunnan, China and Northeast India, in addition to Kachin State in Burma. In May 2012, the Associated Press reported that the rebel group had approximately 8,000 troops.[1]
[1] "Myanmar state media report battles between government troops, Kachin rebels killed 31", 2012-05-04 from "Associated Press" [] [].
[end excerpt]

"China and the Kachin State
[], archived 2014-11-25 [], footnotes numbered in parentheses, [begin excerpt]:
Since the renewal of the Kachin Conflict in 2011, violence between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese military continues to prevent contact with lowland Burma, China has become the Kachin region's sole window to the outside world.[1][2] Currently, the majority of activity between Kachin, and the neighboring Chinese province of Yunnan is made up of illicit trading and the illegal migration of refugees.[1]
Boehler, Patrick. "The Kachin borderlands". Le Monde Diplomatique. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
China holds a significant economic and strategic interest in the region and is heavily invested in development projects including several controversial hydroelectric dams and pipelines.[3] Although officially adhering to a policy of nonintervention, the Chinese government has been very involved in the discourse of the region and often acts as a mediator between the KIA and the Burmese government in Naypyidaw.[4]

China's Involvement in the Kachin Conflict -
During the early years of Myanmar's government transition, China maintained genuine fears over Myanmar's demands towards its ethnic minorities. Most troubling to China was its goal to convert existing rebel groups into Border Guard Forces.[5] Consequentially, the People's Republic of China began to quietly support the KIA as well as the United Wa State Army in the neighboring Shan State.[2] During this period, it is believed that China supplied a significant amount of weapons and military supplies to both of these rebel groups. Although China adamantly denies these claims, rebel troops in both states have been seen using Chinese-made rifles, surface-to-air missiles, and at least 12 armored vehicles.[2] Officers in the KIA have also mentioned to journalists that their satellite array had once been an unused channel operated by the Chinese military until the KIA purchased it from them in the some years ago.[1] While the Chinese government's support for the KIA has ceased almost entirely in recent years, China continues to supply advanced weaponry to the UWSA.[2]

2011: Return of conflict:
The Chinese funded Dapein Hydroelectric Dam played a significant role in the breaking of a 17-year cease-fire that reignited the violent civil war in the Kachin State. In these early months of the renewed conflict, however, Beijing did not pay much attention to the crisis and turned down the pleas for assistance from the KIA. China wanted to protect their economic interests in the region and no longer wanted to upset the government in Naypyidaw which supported their investments. There was growing suspicion that the KIA was under the influence of western powers and China did was losing trust in the predominantly Christian[6] state of Kachin.[7] It was also widely believed in China that the KIA was first to strike on June 9 in order to intentionally end their cease-fire agreement and spur Chinese intervention. This belief diminished many of the Chinese sympathies for the Kachin.[8]

2012–present: Negotiations with the Burmese government:
When the full extent of the violence was realized in the following months, China reversed its policy once again. Continuous warfare in the area made stable development projects excessively difficult. Even more pressing was the fact that tens of thousands of displaced Kachins were trying to escape the combat and seeking refuge in China. In response, China set up nine official refugee camps across the Yunnan province that provided housing for 7,097 Kachins in 2012.[9] The Cinese government has since taken to a mediator role between the KIA and the national government of Myanmar. Between 2011 and 2013, China hosted three out of the five rounds of negotiations that took place between the two warring parties.[1] They also participate in addition to extensive, ongoing behind-the-scenes discussions. These talks have mostly taken place in the city of Ruili, a Chinese border town near Kachin's eastern border in Yunnan and have had varying levels of success. In Ruili, China provides the parties with discrete locations, maximum security, and gentle moderation.[10]

Chinese investment in the Kachin State -
A multitude of Chinese development projects are scattered throughout the Kachin state. Generally, these projects are large-scale energy endeavors that are funded by Chinese state-owned corporations. Most of the profits and electricity produced through these projects will go back to the Peoples Republic of China. Because these plans are agreed upon through contracts with the national government of Myanmar and do not directly represent Kachin interests, they are widely unpopular among the KIA and the civilian population.
In 2007, China gained the approval from the Myanmar government to construct a series of seven large dams along the N'Mai River, Mali River, and Irrawaddy River in the Kachin State. The two most notable of these include the Myitsone Hydroelectric Dam and the Dapein Hydroelectric Dam.

Illicit trade -
The Kachin Independence Army is funded chiefly by the illegal smuggling of illicit items across the border with China. Although the Chinese government condones any support the KIA, there are many wealthy businessmen and black market dealers in China who prosper greatly from dealings with the KIA. The Kachin region is abundant with valuable natural resources that include luxurious varieties of gems and woods. Although these substances are not strictly illegal, they are smuggled illegally into China where they are either sold globally on the black market or secretly mixed in with the legal supply. Furthermore, there is also a growing industry for narcotics and human trafficking in Kachin which has shown tremendous growth in recent years as the violence escalates.

Jade production in Myanmar exceeds $900 million each year. The majority of jade in Myanmar is found along the western edge of Kachin and centered around the remote village of Hpakant.[16] Kachin is also regarded as producing some of the highest quality jade in the world.[17] With government presence largely nonexistent in the region,jade mines in the Kachin region tend to be operated either directly by the KIA or local businesses that conduct business primarily through the KIA.[18] Jade is then exported into China where demand for jade is incredibly high. This provides a significant portion of the KIA's funding.

The Kachin States vast quantity of wooded forests have attracted many Chinese businessmen who work with the KIA in producing, smuggling, and trading Burmese lumber in China. In the first ten months of 2013 alone, more than two million cubic meters of logs were shipped from Kachin through Ruili.[19] This has contributed to deforestation in the region, as well as a large source of revenue for the rebel army.

[1] "Where Burma dissolves into China: The Kachin borderlands; China is wholly involved in the political and economic life of Burma’s would-be breakaway border state of Kachin, at both high and low levels", 2012-06 by Patrick Boehler for "Le Monde Diplomatique"[] []
[2] "With Burma in Mind, China Quietly Supports Wa Rebels", 2013-01-25 by Daniel Schearf for "Voice of America"[] [].
[3] "Exporting Dams: China's Hydropower Industry Goes Global", 2009-07 by Kristen McDonald for [] [].
[4] "China's Intervention in the Myanmar-Kachin Peace Talks", 2013-02 by Yun Sun for "The Brookings Institution" [] [].
[5]  "MYANMAR: Border Guard Plan Could Fuel Ethnic Conflict", 2010-11-29 from "IRINnews. [] [].
[6] "The Growth of Christianity in the Kachin People", 2010-05-22 by Htoi Gin Tawng [] [].
[7] "China, the United States and the Kachin Conflict", 2014-01-30 by Yun Sun for "STIMSON" [] [].
[8] "China's Strategic Misjudgement on Myanmar", 2012 by Yun Sun for "Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs" [], .pdf link [], .html at [].
[9]  "MYANMAR: Kachin Refugees in China in Need", 2012-06-27 from "IRINnews" [] [].
[10] "China's Intervention in the Myanmar-Kachin Peace Talks", 2013-02 by Yun Sun for "The Brookings Institution" [] []
[11] "Myanmar Backs Down, Suspending Dam Project", 2011-09-30 by Thomas Fuller for "The New York Times" [] [].
[12] "Burma Army Sent to Myitsone Dam Site to Enforce Evictions", 2012-05 from [] [].
[13] / [14] "Model Villages Are Not a Model", 2011-07-31 from "Dapein Dams" [] [].
[15] "Contested Sino-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Nears Completion" 2014-05-04 by Aung Shin for "The Myanmar Times" [] [].
[16] "Myanmar's Growing-and Dangerous-Jade Trade", 2014-03-25 by Christina Larson for "Bloomberg Business Week" [] [].
[17] "The Jade War", 2012-10-17 by She Win for "Latitude", special section of "The New York Times" [] [].
[18] "Myanmar's Growing-and Dangerous-Jade Trade", 2014-03-25 by Christina Larson for "Bloomberg Business Week" [] [].
[19] "Kachin-Yunnan Timber Trade Hampering Peace Process in Myanmar", 2014-01-17 by Rachel Vandenbrink [] [].
[20] "China and the Kachin Conflict", 2011-07-16 by Yun Sun for "The Diplomat" [] [].
[21] "China Closes Border as Thousands Flee Kachin War", 2014-04-12 from "DVB Multimedia Group" [] [].
[end excerpt]

"New commander takes control of PLA's elite 13th Group Army; 
PLA reshuffle sees Major General Wang Kai to take over as head of the Chongqing-based army unit dubbed 'Tiger in the mountains' "
2013-12-04 []:
Major General Wang Kai has been promoted to the rank of Commander of the elite 13th Group Army of the People’s Liberation Army, state media reported on Wednesday.
The 13th Group Army is one of the most famous in China. Together with the 14th Group Army, it operates under the administration of the Chengdu Military Command, with its headquarters in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing.
Wang was previously the Chief of Staff for the PLA 14th Group Army.
Chongqing has become a politically sensitive place since the downfall of former party head Bo Xilai.
The central government has allocated three Central Party Committee members places on the municipality’s decision-making body, a rare political move in China. The only other provincial-level administration equipped with the same number of political heavyweights is Guangdong province, the bridgehead of China’s economic reforms.
Dubbed the ‘Tiger in the Mountains’, the 13th Group Army is a Category A unit that specialises in fighting in landscapes like mountains, highlands and tropical jungles, according to local media.
The army can trace its lineage back to 1939 through part of the Taiyue Military District in central China. It was adapted from the former 13th and 50th armies in 1985.
Most of its troops are believed to be located in Yunnan province as its major tasks include ensuring the stability of Tibet and guarding China’s borders with India and Vietnam. It has taken part in the crackdown on riots in Tibet and skirmishes on the Sino-Indian border. (You may have noticed that Yunnan Province is the Chinese border with Myanmar as well as the Kachin State, the article’s author failed on this point. This places the PLA’s best experienced and equipped fighting force in a strategic location if something happens in Myanmar.)
The 13th Group Army is also regarded as the only Chinese force that has participated in combat missions since 1949 and it has achieved most battle honors since the Korean War in 1950s.
Its former commanders include General Zhang Youxia, the current Director of the PLA General Armaments Department in charge of weaponry. Zhang is also a member of the Central Military Commission, the Chinese military’s highest decision-making body.
Wang’s predecessor, Major General Xu Yong, was appointed Commander of Tibet Military District in July.

No comments:

Post a Comment