During the last days the attention of the media worldwide is focused on the tumultuous events that are currently shaking Myanmar (Burma). Among the many vicessitudes, were mainly reported the violent repressions against the rebels carried out by the army that took the power and the attacks launched against thirtytwo Chinese companies.
The situation in the Southeastern Asian country is indeed complex and in order to understand which dynamics are happening is necessary to travel through the recent history of the nation.
Burma gained the independence from the British Commonwealth only in 1948 and since the very first time had to face serious problems concerning the stability both political and economical. For decades the governmental context was distinguished by precariousness and violence and the military dictatorship did not allow democracy vents.
Nel 1989 the military élite changed the name of the country from Burma in Myanmar: using “Burma” meant supporting the democratic identity of the country while choosing “Myanmar” meant legitimate the military leadership.
Just in the middle of this violence period marked by the protests for a democratic administration, Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi entered the scene fighting for the rights and the freedom of her people.
For this rebellious attitude, Mrs. San Suu Kyi was arrested and kept imprisoned from 1989 until 2010. For her fights for the human rights against the dictatorship, she even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
In 2007 in Myanmar there was another wave of rebellion led by the monks called Saffron Revolution but only in 2015 the people could finally go to vote freely for the first democratic elections that drove Mrs. San Suu Kyi to the power.
Despite nowadays Myanmar has a democratic government, the politics of Ms. San Suu Kyi showed dark signs of repression like the genocide of the Rohingya carried out since 2017 against the Muslim minority. For this reason Ms. San Suu Kyi appeared in the International Court of Justice.
Arriving to the latest news, on first February a military coup d’etat led by Min Aung Hlaing removed the ex leader San Suu Kyi from her office. She was even arrested with the charge of illegal detection of walkie-talkie and for having violated the anti-covid measures during the pre-elections period. For these reasons now she is detained in a unknown prison.
The events that nowadays are shaking Myanmar are currently deeply reported by all the international media.
After the coup, despite Min Aung Hlaing declared that it is just a transitory period that aims to better stability and prosperity and that new democratic elections will be announced soon, many protests exploded in all the country so loud to be compared to the ones happened in 2007.
While the media reports the facts, what is doing the international community? Since the very first days after the coup, USA and Great Britain imposed sanctions to the new Burmese government while China, despite it has formally disapproved the events, assumed a neutral position.
Anyway it seems that this position of pure observation will not last long. In fact Beijing can not ignore the attacks that devastated the 32 Chinese companies even because two Chinese workers were wounded and 240 millions Yuan (37 millions Dollars) were lost.
Despite the attackers are still unknown, China can not just disapprove the events from the outside because it was deeply involved in the middle of the question.
Furthermore we need to remind that strong anti-China feelings are always more often registered in Myanmar, leading to a huge crisis in the industrial branch, and many critics came even from the Western countries.
This situation subverts the tranquillity of the relationship between China and Myanmar, peacefully started in 2012 with the first trade treats and grown with the official meetings between the leaders of the two countries. By the way this stability is now undermined by these recent events and Beijing threats to close the Chinese embassy in Myanmar. Furthermore, if the attacks against its companies and citizens will go on, China will not tolerate anymore and it will be forced to intervene in order to protect its interests.
Anyway, moving to a higher level, it seems that the international community could do nothing to restore the democracy and the tranquillity in Myanmar.
Like we have already said, beyond the American and British sanctions immediately imposed to the Burmese military chiefs and the formal blame stated by Beijing, both USA and China can not really help the Burmese people.
China knows well all of this, that’s why it still follows the principles of not interfering even if just for this ideology it was severely criticized by the Western countries of voluntarily leaving a nation with its difficulties.
In fact, despite the intentions could be noble, the results of the operations in a foreign country always finish to be far different from the hoped ones. The past experiences of the American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are two clear examples! Even when the operations do not involve the army, they can cause negative effects like the rise of the narcos clan both in Asia and America.
It is obvious that all the countries have some economic interest in what happens in Myanmar, like the American and British sanctions demonstrate, but even if China condemns the coup because it is harder to cooperate with a military regime than with a democratic and stable government, the political will of Beijing is to stay far from any engagement.
We also need to remind that the American influence in Myanmar and in all the Southeast Asia is decreasing day by day since last two decades, that’s why we believe that forcing a democracy made in USA in this context is destined to fail. It is sadly easy to pass through all the attempts carried out by Washington in order to intervene in the politics of Myanmar and other Southeastern Asian countries, all ended with huge failures.
It could sound strange that China that invested so much in Myanmar decided to stay neutral but, despite the anti-China feelings of the Burmese people hurt China, the choice of not intervening, waiting for the natural course of the events and on the contrary supporting the Burmese in the economic development is wise just because it safeguards the future interests of Myanmar.
In fact in the last years China invested in Myanmar in various branches such as raw materials extraction, building, logistics and retail. So many times China even supported Myanmar with economic measures in order to grant its development. For example only in the textile industry the Chinese investments created 400.000 jobs for the Burmese citizens according to the Chinese ambassador.
In conclusion it is wrong to understand the temporary lack of a direct Chinese intervention as indifference towards the Burmese question but it is just a matter of respect for the sovereignty and the autonomy of its people. Like we already said, China blamed the violence, wants the stability and keeps supporting the Burmese development but it also believes that the best solution for a crisis in a foreign country is to not intervene directly.
In fact for every kind of internal problem, only the Burmese people can find a stable and long-lasting solution. Instead of imposing a western democracy ignoring the historic and ethnic context of the local countries just like USA often does, China prefers to support the people in other ways like promoting investments in the infrastructures.
Only the Swiss moderator Christine Schrauer Burgener received the official mandate of exploring the situaton in the name of the Western countries. Even the ASEAN, the Association of the South-East Asian Nations, adopted a policy of disinterest, declaring that the events that are troubling Myanmar are just internal affairs for which the international community is not required to intervene.
For all of this, the international belief shows that in this moment an American engagement and the imposing of a western democracy will not be a real solution for the problem since everyone hopes for a natural course of the Burmese events.