OPEN LETTER TO H.E. XI JINPING
The People’s Republic of China
10 MAY 2023
Mr. President, we do understand that you have several reasons to influence Myanmar because:
- Myanmar as a vital component in your Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to connect your western provinces to the Indian Ocean through infrastructure projects such as pipelines, highways, and ports.
- Myanmar’s natural resources, including rare earth, oil and gas, minerals, and timber are of interest to China’s energy and manufacturing industries.
- Myanmar’s geopolitically important position is considered as a key partner for China in its efforts to maintain regional stability and security, particularly as it seeks to counterbalance the influence of the United States and other Western powers in the region.
China and Myanmar share a long-standing history of diplomatic and cultural ties, which have been strengthened by their shared experience of colonialism and struggles for independence. With this historic background and today’s strategic, economic, and political interests in Myanmar, China should build its position as a good neighbour in the eyes of the Myanmar people. But it is the opposite in reality. You can see that anti-Chinese sentiment is growing among Myanmar people and the root causes are:
- Notorious Chinese investors have been accused of ignoring environmental regulations and causing irreparable harm to local ecosystems and communities.
- Chinese investment in Myanmar has led to concerns about economic dependence as the Myanmar people argue that China is seeking to create a “debt trap” in Myanmar, which would give China undue influence over the country’s economic and political decisions.
- The aggressive and often exploitative nature of Chinese investment in Myanmar, coupled with its close cooperation with the corrupted and notorious Myanmar military, has had significant negative consequences on China’s reputation in Myanmar.
The existing anti-Chinese sentiment in Myanmar is fuelled by China’s continued dealing with, supporting, and legitimising the Myanmar coup leaders today. The Myanmar military has been accused of committing widespread human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, torture, forced displacement, and hindering access to humanitarian assistance. By dealing with the military today, China is seen as condoning or even enabling these abuses.
We urge you to listen to the voice of the Myanmar people and support their will and desire. They want to eradicate Myanmar’s military dictatorship and build a genuine federal democratic Myanmar. Their legitimate government, the National Unity Government (NUG) has declared a 12-step political roadmap to restore democracy and build the federal democratic union.
- If you seek a peaceful and sustainable solution to the protracted conflict in Myanmar, the NUG’s 12-step political roadmap is one and the only way to achieve the result.
- If you seek a way to restore stability in Myanmar to commence your BRI projects as agreed in 2020, support the Myanmar people’s spring revolution and help the people to be able to eradicate the military dictatorship from Myanmar’s soil. This is one and the only way to secure your strategic, political, and economic interests in Myanmar in a sustainable way.
- If you seek a way to mitigate the anti-Chinese sentiment and rebuild China’s good reputation in Myanmar, we encourage you to set up an official liaison office with National Unity Government and strengthen the relationship based on mutual interests and initiate cross-border humanitarian assistance to those in need in Myanmar.
We, the CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia, representing 73 Myanmar Diaspora Organisations in Australia, welcome any invitation to further discuss your response to this request.
(Note: the open letter is circulated among diplomatic missions in Australia, Australian politicians, Australian INGO, DFAT and the UN member states' Permanent Representatives to the UN in addition to the Presidential Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China (PRC).