On The Border


Chinese authorities hit back at media, including DVB, who have reported that China has blocked access to camps at the Sino-Burmese border and sent Kokang refugees back to the troubled region despite fears for their safety.
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Chinese authorities last week issued an order restricting access to the Kokang border, where the number of refugees continues to swell.
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A delegation, advocating on behalf of refugees and displaced people from Burma took their cause to Britain’s Parliament in an attempt to highlight the affects of funding cuts on services to people in camps on the Thai side of the Burma border.
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The back road through Namkham Township, a mountainous cluster of village tracts abutting the border with China and Kachin State, is these days more peaceful than its recent history would suggest. The route has occasionally hosted flashpoints of conflict between the Burma Army and local ethnic armed groups operating in the area, including the Kachin Independence Army and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). At the moment, however, there are no military checkpoints, and cars taking the six-hour route from Lashio enjoy an uninterrupted passage through a serene landscape of mountain ranges and pastures.
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Ethnic Kokang rebel forces fighting the Burma Army in northern Shan State issued a statement on Wednesday warning the tens of thousands of refugees who have fled to China not to return to the Kokang Special Region as it remains unsafe.
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A fire on Wednesday devastated a boarding school in the Thai border town of Mae Sot.

The Children’s Development Centre, founded by Dr Cynthia Maung of the town’s well-known Mae Tao clinic, suffered serious damage when a fire spread to student accommodation after starting in a nearby sugar cane field. The blaze ignited at around 4pm on 25 February.
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Proximity and ethnicity have bred misleading speculations about Chinese involvement in the ongoing conflict in northern Myanmar close to the bilateral border.
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More than 50,000 refugees have fled Shan State due to armed clashes that have been raging for two weeks between government army forces and Kokang rebels, say sources from local rescue organizations.
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A sanctuary providing healthcare for displaced Burmese along the Thai-Burma border since 1989, Mae Tao Clinic will soon be relocating to a new site. DVB interviews founder and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Cynthia Muang.
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Allies of the Kokang rebels have leapt to their defence in light of Burmese military allegations that Chinese mercenaries are fighting on the rebels’ side in the ongoing conflict in northeastern Shan State.
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Between 10 and 20 fully equipped Chinese troops have been carrying out security measures and building bunkers along the Chinshwehaw border while filming and photographing Myanmar’s army from across the boundary.
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Parents and education service providers of migrant communities in the Thai border town of Mae Sot are struggling to continue sending their children to school. Migrant education organisations told Karen News that the closure of migrant schools is being caused by the withdrawal of funding by international donors.
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Chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine with a market value of more than 600 million kyats (US$582,000) were seized by authorities at the Shan State border town of Tachilek, the township police anti-drug squad announced on Wednesday.
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A photo of a young girl holding a Chinese flag is one of many that China’s online censors have deleted over the last few days in an effort to quell nationalist support for ethnic Chinese rebels in Myanmar.
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Nearly 90,000 civilians in northeastern Myanmar are believed to have fled clashes between troops and ethnic rebels, an official said Wednesday, as sporadic violence hampered efforts to evacuate those still trapped.
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Myanmar’s decision to revoke temporary identification cards for minorities is raising tensions among its 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims, who have effectively been disenfranchised just days after parliament approved a law affirming their right to vote in a referendum.
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At least three textile and electronics factories in the Thai border province of Tak were found to be using Myanmar immigrant child labourers aged under 15, according to The Nation on February 17.
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While thousands of civilians poured over the border from Laogai to seek shelter in China this week, several hundred others in the Kokang Special Region – mostly Burmese – have taken refuge in the town of Lashio amid heavy fighting between government forces and Kokang rebels.
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China is urging Myanmar to maintain peace and order along the border after renewed fighting between ethnic insurgents and Myanmar’s army forced some local people to flee over the border into China, reports CCTV on February 11.
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Several thousand residents of the Kokang region in northern Shan State have fled into neighboring China’s Yunnan Province to escape ongoing heavy fighting between the Burma Army and Kokang ethnic rebels, according to a rebel spokesman, who said that the army launched numerous airstrikes in recent days.
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