Regional


According to reports by several media, the Japanese government’s JICA recently released a Southeast Myanmar Development Report. Japan plans a joint venture with Myanmar and Thailand to build the Dawei SEZ in southeastern Myanmar, an area bordering Thailand. The plan has been severely criticized by the local NGO Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN).
(more…)

(Unofficial Translation)

Since Feb 22, multi-day demonstrations and protests against the organization “Doctors Without Borders” have broken out in Rakhine state, calling for the government to expel the organization.  According to reports in the official newspaper “New Light of Myanmar”, the Ministry of Health has suspended the medical projects by the organization in Rakhine state, while allowing projects in other provinces and states to continue. The international humanitarian aid organization, a Nobel Peace laureate, has encountered a major embarrassment.

The origins of this development began with a so-called “massacre” in January. According to a report in Myanmar Freedom newspaper, the UN reported two violent incidents in Rakhine state in the middle January, saying that about 40 Rohingya Muslims had been killed by police and Rakhine Buddhists. “Doctors Without Borders” operating in the Rakhine state also claimed that its clinics had treated about 20 injured Rohingya people. Associated Press spread the news to the world, followed by a joint statement from the eager U.S. and UK embassies condemning the violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar and calling for a thorough investigation by the Myanmar government. The story was carried widely in the main western media outlets. On Jan 28, upon the completion of a field investigation by a special investigation committee, Myanmar hosted a press conference to publish the results. It pointed out that the violent event originated from a quarrel between a Burmese policeman and 20 Rohingya and the policeman was the only one killed. Therefore, the reports and accusations by western media and organizations about the “massacre of Rohingya” were made up and false.  Furthermore, “Doctors Without Borders” could not provide any evidence of the treatment provided to the injured Rohingya. The embassies of the US and UK, as well as the western media,  seem to have made a big mistake on this issue.

Subsequently, major protests broke in Rakhine state. Mizzima reported a 5000-people demonstration in Sittwe by Rakhine citizens and monks, calling for the government to expel international NGOs and criticizing their bias on the Rohingya issue and unfair distribution of aid in favor of Muslims. Since Feb 22, locals in Sittwe started a series of sit-in demonstrations demanding that “Doctors Without Borders” should leave Sittwe. The President’s spokesperson told the media that the organization’s MOU with the Myanmar government had expired in January 2013; its work is biased and lacks transparency and the organization has hired Rohingya against regulations. To avoid tension in Rakhine state, the government had to end cooperation with the organization, although it w ill allows it to continue  operating in other areas.

The “conflict” between Myanmar people and the international NGO because of these false stories has come to a temporary halt. However, the underlying issues deserve reflection.  Looking at the whole event, western media was particularly exercized about the so-called “massacre” in Rakhine state and the Myanmar government’s order for “Doctors Without Borders” to leave the area. They were also selectively blind about the facts published by the Myanmar government, demonstrating their pride and prejudice.
Local media analysis has found that certain western powers and mainstream media have exhibited  stereotypical thinking and have sided selectively with one party against the other based on pre-existing biases when the event happened. Their reports and statements of concern were released without verification of the authenticity of the information. This is virtually a double standard. The so-called media freedom praised by the West might be free but definitely not fair.

Link: Link: http://epaper.gmw.cn/gmrb/html/2014-03/05/nw.D110000gmrb_20140305_6-16.html

Seventeen labourers in Burma’s western Arakan State have been charged with arson, aggravated trespassing and abetting crime for alleged involvement in a fire at a relay station along the Shwe gas and oil pipelines in January.
(more…)

New Delhi’s relationship with Myanmar had changed “extraordinarily” since President U Thein Sein’s government came to power in 2011, Indian ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya said on February 26.
(more…)

“As in the past, so in the future, the people of India will stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Burma, and whether we have to share good fortune or ill fortune, we shall share it together.” These were Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s words in 1948, on the day of Burma’s independence from Britain. Since then relations between the two countries have fluctuated between friendship, neglect and outright hostility, yet India’s rise on the international stage and Myanmar’s “democratic transition” are forcing both governments to reassess the nature of bilateral relations based on regional geopolitical developments. (more…)

Vice-President Sai Mauk Kham met the North Korean ambassador to Burma Kim Sok Chol at the Presidential Palace in Naypyidaw on Wednesday. The meeting was focused on “mutual amity and development”, according to state-run media outlet The New Light of Myanmar.
(more…)

The Red Cross Society of China will provide humanitarian assistance worth 816.33 million U.S. dollars to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar’s northernmost Kachin state, the Chinese embassy here said Wednesday.
(more…)

The spokesperson of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) denied on Wednesday media reports that 30 rebel soldiers had been sent to China for helicopter pilot training.
(more…)

Rice exports this year are set to fall to less than half of the government target of 3 million-tonnes as traders are withholding stock from its trading partners in an attempt to secure more favourable prices being offered by illicit Chinese importers, officials said.
(more…)

Myanmar and South Korea will cooperate in occupational safety and health in Myanmar, state media reported Sunday.
(more…)

The largest ethnic armed group in Burma, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), has selected 30 soldiers to receive pilot training in China, according to members of other ethnic rebel groups who recently visited the Wa headquarters in Panghsang in northern Shan State on the Burma-China border.
(more…)

US official for Myanmar Judith Cefkin urges Bangladesh
(more…)

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has slammed President Thein Sein for leaving the future of a controversial Chinese-backed dam unresolved, accusing him of passing the buck to the country’s next leaders by suspending the project until the end of his term.
(more…)

Japan plans to provide 10 billion yen (3 billion baht) chiefly in grants over the next five years to Myanmar to bolster the living standards of ethnic minorities that have suffered during years of internal conflicts in the country, Japanese government sources said Saturday.
(more…)

The deputy commander-in-chief, Myanmar defence service and commander-in-chief, Myanmar Army, vice senior general Soe Win visited the Eastern Command HQ in Fort William Kolkata on Tuesday.
(more…)

Leaders of China and Myanmar Tuesday vowed to strengthen comprehensive strategic cooperation and carry out close cultural exchange.
(more…)

Ten members of National League for Democracy (NLD) left for a goodwill visit to China on Sunday, 8 December, at the invitation of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to an NLD spokesman.
(more…)

A Burmese activist who burned a Chinese flag during a protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon last week has been detained by the police.
(more…)

President Benigno Aquino 3rd will hold a bilateral meeting with visiting Myanmar President Thein Sein in Malacañang on Thursday.
(more…)

An Indonesian court Wednesday jailed 14 Muslim Rohingya men from Myanmar for nine months each for bludgeoning eight Buddhists from their country to death in an Indonesian detention centre.
(more…)

« Previous PageNext Page »