China and India rarely see themselves on the same side, but in the case of Myanamar and the Rohingya issue, it appears they are.
Undeterred by the UN Human Rights Council’s criticism of India on the issue a day earlier, China on Tuesday said it backed the Myanmar administration’s efforts to “safeguard stability” in the ongoing crisis over the Muslim minority Rohingya population there.
“We think the international community should support the efforts of Myanmar in safeguarding the stability of its national development,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang on Tuesday.
The current round of troubles in Myanmar began when Rohingya militants under the group ARSA attacked Myanmar security forces in August.
“We condemn the violent attacks which happened in Rakhine state in Myanmar…We think the international community should support the efforts of Myanmar in safeguarding the stability of its national development,” Geng said at a regular news briefing. Rakhine is where most of the Rohingya live.
China, like India, is focussed on the attacks and the Myanmar government’s response to safeguard the country against “extremist forces”.
Chinese state media too on Monday indicated China’s stance by obliquely supporting the Aung San Suu Kyi administration in Myanmar, which is facing near-worldwide condemnation for the response to the August attacks by ARSA.
“The outside world should help Myanmar resolve the sharp confrontation in Rakhine and realize national reconciliation to the utmost,” said the hardline Chinese publication Global Times in an editorial.
The editorial did give a nod to the Rohingya’s human rights.
“The bottom line is that ethnic conflict in Rakhine should stop, the Muslims there should have their rights protected and the rule of law in Myanmar should be supported,” added the editorial.
The Indian government’s stand is similar.
On a recent visit to Myanmar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed solidarity with the government there against the “extremist violence” in the Rakhine state.
The declaration that India didn’t sign last week made reference to “deep concern on ongoing violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, amongst others…”
In the latest bout of violence since August, as many as 400 people are said to have been killed and some 300,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.
On Monday, Al Hussein criticised New Delhi’s current measures to deport Rohingyas “at a time of such violence against them”.
The Rohingya have faced decades of persecution in the Buddhist-majority country, where they are not considered citizens.
“The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” said UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.
(Times of India)