Myanmar regime-backed rallies denounce China, accusing it of backing anti-junta alliance

Myanmar regime-backed nationalists staged their first protest against the Chinese government outside Yangon City Hall and the Chinese Embassy in Yangon on Sunday accusing China of backing an ethnic alliance that has been delivering heavy defeats against regime troops in northern Shan State, The Irrawaddy reports.

Members of the Patriotic Monks Union (Yangon) and Myanmar Nationalist Organization took part in the protest outside Yangon City Hall, accusing Beijing of destroying Myanmar by selling weapons to ethnic armed organizations based near the border in northern Myanmar, and to People’s Defense Force groups (PDFs).

The regime has lost several towns and over 150 positions in northern Shan State to the Brotherhood Alliance consisting of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Arakan Army over the past three weeks since the ethnic alliance launched Operation 1027 on Oct. 27.

Pro-junta media agencies have pointed a finger at China for the junta’s defeats, claiming Beijing is backing the Brotherhood Alliance.

Sunday’s protest was very unusual, as it was the first time China has been named openly in a public, junta-approved protest targeting Beijing, the Myanmar regime’s ally. The fact that the rallies were approved by the regime reveals the junta’s displeasure with China, probably for its failure to intervene in the alliance, with whom it has influence.

During the rally outside City Hall, Pyinya Wuntha from the Patriotic Monks Union (Yangon) told the audience that Myanmar people knew China was arming the alliance and PDFs.

“China, you have destroyed Myanmar by encouraging them. Don’t destroy our country. We will all hit you back,” he said.

From Yangon City Hall, protesters marched to the Chinese Embassy shouting anti-China slogans including, “China, you have been meddling in the internal affairs of Myanmar. Don’t try to exploit us. We monks and people are gonna beat you up.”

They also accused China of buying rare earth elements from one of the ethnic armed groups in northern Myanmar, the Kachin Independence Army, at prices considered a steal. The nationalists are widely viewed as stooges of the Myanmar military. The same nationalists organized pro-military rallies before and after the 2021 coup.

In the past, the regime has not allowed any protests in the vicinity of the Chinese Embassy in Yangon, not wanting to annoy its ally. The last time the embassy saw rallies was right after the coup in February 2021 when anti-regime protesters staged demonstrations against China for its failure to denounce the takeover.

Unable to halt the alliance’s offensive launched in late October, junta boss Min Aung Hlaing claimed at an emergency meeting of the National Defense and Security Council on Nov. 8 that the ethnic alliance was using China-made drones that can be easily bought in Myanmar to drop bombs on junta positions.

In a Nov. 15 statement the Chinese Embassy demanded that the Myanmar regime work out a practical and effective plan to ensure border stability. Myanmar’s border trade with China has been halted since the offensive, which is also believed to have impacted Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative projects located in conflict zones in Shan and Rakhine states.

For all its ties with the junta, Beijing is not happy with the regime at all. The junta has annoyed it by failing to take effective action against online scam centers mushrooming along the Myanmar-China border despite China’s requests.

Only after repeated pressure from China did the regime issue arrest warrants for and hand over suspects running online scam syndicates in the Kokang and Wa self-administered zones on the Chinese border.

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