Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 22 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 23 2023
The leader of the military council attended the Chinese New Year ceremony; War is still waging in Sagaing
On January 21, the Chinese New Year day, after photos of military council leader Min Aung Hlaing attending a Chinese New Year Eve ceremony sponsored by the Chinese Embassy surfaced on social media, the news reported that Min Aung Hlaing stated that Myanmar will continue to be China’s good neighbor. It is not unusual for him to attend events of other religious ceremonies besides Buddhism as the leader of the military council, but attending the traditional Chinese New Year ceremony organized by the Chinese Embassy is more than showing an image of respecting other religions, and it can be concluded that it is a desire to have good relations with China, which appears to have a cold relationship from the outside.
In the current situation, China is not a major country that sells arms to the military council, but its importance cannot be overlooked because it is a neighboring country, a country with influence over some ethnic armed groups, a powerful country in the world, a permanent member of the UN Security Council regarding the Myanmar issue, and has a position to vote against Western countries.
On the other hand, relations between China and the military have been cold since the years before the military coup, due to the assumption that China has influence over some ethnic armed groups and is providing weapons and support. Because of events during the NLD government in which China invited Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Chinese leader visited Myanmar and signed 33 agreements, relations between the military and China have been tense since the coup until now.
On the other hand, because China is on the opposite side of the United States, the leading Western country opposing the military council’s coup in Myanmar affairs, the military council needs to associate China as an ally. The military council is not unaware of the situation where China’s military and economy have become strengthened among the world’s most powerful countries while Russia is mired in a war with Ukraine.
Given these circumstances, it is assumed that the military council is attempting to maintain good relations with China, even if it is not in a position where it has to appease China. Because China prefers to exert pressure on the other country through diplomatic and economic means rather than starting a war, it is assumed that, in the interests of their country, they will lead the way to the desired solution.
In today’s news, we read about the news of three locals from Inndaw and Tigyaing, Sagaing Division, being abducted by the military council and their dead bodies being discovered on the road; the news of over 3,000 residents fleeing because of a military column in Kanbalu Township; and the news of a woman killed in an airstrike on a clinic that was opened under the protection of PDFs in a village in Myaing Township, Magway Division. The military council troops have been raiding villages in Sagaing and burning them down, as well as killing civilians suspected of being PDF members or supporters. Such incidents have become common and occur almost every day in many villages throughout Sagaing.
In these circumstances, I think it is now necessary to find an urgent way to reduce the chance of the houses in the villages being burned down and to prevent the loss of civilian lives as much as possible. It is true that the local people support the movement to overthrow the military dictator, but there is a risk that their support for the revolution will dwindle over time due to the risk of death, the loss of their homes and food, and the loss of livelihood, i.e., not being able to farm, resulting in famine. The military council is responsible for this type of killing and arson, so it is true that it is solely their responsibility, but as revolutionary armed forces, there is an urgent need to find a way to minimize losses in order to protect the civilian population.