Monday, October 8, 2007

Continued support for junta earns China sharp criticisms

The 9 PETITIONS FOR BURMA HERE. (feel free to link it and anything off this blog)

Last week spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington Wang Baodong said that the Chinese Government was concerned about the situation in Burma but did not feel that it constituted a threat to regional or global peace and security. CNN quoted him declaring,

"China has been working on the various parties in the country, focusing its effort on the prevention of the occurrence of large-scale bloody events," Baodong said. "We believe this is a domestic issue that does not constitute a threat to the international community."

Last Friday Wang Guangya, China’s ambassador to the UN, stated that while situation in Burma was “disturbing,” it did not justify sanctions or Security Council action.

China's (and Russia's) unapologetic claim that the ongoing strife in Burma is an internal affair has further incensed the opposition and drawing the very ire that China so despearately seeks to avoid leading up to the upcoming Olympics. Many activists including Archbishop Desmond Tutu are calling for a general boycott of the Olympics. While the Chinese government doesn't want the conflicts in Burma and Darfur and the political issues of North Korea and Tibet to cloud over the importance of the Olympics, they are convinced that the idea of a boycott will never the realized. China's perspective explained HERE.

Actually, the fact is that Burma's internal woes do much to destabilize both the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Thailand and Bangladesh bear the brunt of migrants fleeing the carnage. In addition to the 2 to 4 million internally displaced peoples within Burma, there are more than 1 million refugees in neighboring Thailand and Bangladesh. Illegal migrants put much stress on social services of host countries--to the point where Thai authorities are resistant to give refugee status to most of the Burmese who cross the border.Moreover, drug trafficking is a global issue. The International Drug Trade finds its supply base in Burma. Because of corruption and poor government monitoring, Burma is the world's #2 supplier of heroin and Southeast Asia's #1 supplier of methanphetamines.

Not learning from the uproars received response to their vetoing of the UN Resolution on Burma last January, China and Russia continue their hard-line defense of Burma. Their argument against sanctions--a view supported by the American, Chinese, South Korean, and Indian companies operating within Burma--is that if sanctions are enforced and companies pull out of Burma, the level of suffering will be much greater than it is now. The power vacuum that would ensue would allow even less ethical corporations to assume power. French oil giant Total SA argues that its business practices in Burma are held to the highest ethical standards.

Last month Earthrights International published THIS backgrounder on China's investments in Burma's natural resources.

The Dirty List of companies doing business with Burma's junta, compiled by The Burma Campaign UK.

The Clean List of companies that have either pulled out of Burma, or made a principled decision not to do business in Burma. It is not comprehensive, but does give a scope of how public outcry has led to corporate social responsibily. The list details the companies' reasons for pulling out or refraining from investing in Burma. Also compiled by the Burma Campaign UK.

One dissident created this video, representative of the rage felt against China's support of the oppressive junta.

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