China-Myanmar relations

People hold placards depicting leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally to demand her release and protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, 8 February 2021. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

A year on from the coup, Chinese New Year in Myanmar hijacked by politics

Hein Khaing rues the fate of the Chinese in Myanmar, who have always been treated as “third-class citizens” and were put in a bind again this Chinese New Year, which falls on the anniversary of last year’s coup. Forced to keep their shops open yet called upon to unite against the junta, many of them faced a “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” situation. What will it take for the plight of the Chinese in Myanmar to change?
The commissioning ceremony of the UMS Minye Kyaw Htin, a Chinese-made Type 035 (NATO code-class Ming) submarine. (@KushalSinha001/Twitter)

Myanmar’s submarines: The race is on between China and Russia

Last month, Myanmar became the first Southeast Asian country to take delivery of a made-in-China submarine, the UMS Minye Kyaw Htin. Given that the EU will not sell arms to Myanmar, that leaves China and Russia as possible arms suppliers. The latest sale gives China an advantage over Russia to supply Myanmar with a new fleet of submarines, as both countries ignore US calls to ban arms sales to Myanmar. This means that price and geopolitics will decide which country wins.
The ASEAN-China summit commemorating 30 years of dialogue relations was held on 22 November 2021. (Prime Minister's Office, Singapore)

ASEAN-China relations stay robust despite Myanmar's absence from virtual summit

The recent virtual summit commemorating 30 years of ASEAN-China dialogue relations was held without a representative from Myanmar, the second time in a month that Myanmar was absent from the ASEAN family. The Myanmar issue is likely to pull ASEAN on many sides in the days to come, but the fact that the summit went on and concluded with some deliverables speaks for the strength of ASEAN-China relations.
Motorists pass the China-Myanmar border gate in Muse in Shan state on 5 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Will the Chinese government's crackdown on cross-border crime in Myanmar work?

In recent years, Chinese criminal gangs have moved to Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Laos and Thailand as China tightened its crackdown on telecom fraud at home. These gangs even have the support of local authorities in some cases. Now that the Chinese authorities are cracking down on cross-border crime, will the situation improve? Or will it be a never-ending merry-go-round?
Rescue workers and onlookers gather around a wreck after a bus plunged into a ravine following a bomb explosion, which killed 13 people including nine Chinese workers, in the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan on 14 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: How to protect the BRI and keep Chinese enterprises overseas safe

As an increasing number of Chinese enterprises venture overseas and the BRI project continues its expansion, Peng Nian notes the rise in attacks targeted against these projects. He says much can be done to strengthen the safety awareness of Chinese enterprises, especially as many of them operate in unfamiliar or far-flung locations.
Anti-coup protesters hold a Chinese flag before burning it down during a demonstration against China in Yangon, Myanmar, 5 April 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

Why Myanmar people are wary of a 'pauk-phaw' (sibling) relationship with China

China and Myanmar are said to have a “pauk-phaw” or sibling relationship. Many people in Myanmar, however, are clear-eyed about the limits of the bond. Who are the true beneficiaries of Chinese investment in Myanmar? Why are the people protesting while the higher-ups eagerly sign huge contracts with China and other countries?
A protester holds a flare as others make the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on 22 June 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: Why China avoids taking a strong stand on Myanmar

Since the military coup in Myanmar in February, China has been criticised by the West for not taking a strong stand against the situation. Chinese researcher Peng Nian explains China's difficult position and its hope for ASEAN to successfully mitigate the problem. What China can do now is to assist Myanmar with the fight against the pandemic, he says.
Protesters hold coffins displaying a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (right) during a demonstration in New Delhi on 3 March 2021, to protest against the military coup in Myanmar. (Prakash Singh/AFP)

Why the Chinese are confused by ‘ungrateful’ anti-China sentiments in Myanmar

Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.
Myanmar migrants in Thailand holds signs relating to the "Milk Tea Alliance" as they take part in a protest in Bangkok on 28 February 2021, against the military coup in their home country. (Jack Taylor/AFP)

Anti-Chinese populism on the rise in Southeast Asia?

Social media movements such as the Milk Tea Alliance are tapping into discontent with the regional decline of democracy and fears about the rise of China as a hegemonic power. ISEAS visiting fellow Quinton Temby explains why anti-China sentiments are gaining traction and how it is affecting local politics.