Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Myanmar: First state visit in almost 20 years highlights China’s role in human rights crisis

    Photo credit: Fred Dufour/Getty Images
    January 16, 2020

    Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to Myanmar, which begins on Friday 17 January 2020, Amnesty International’s Regional Director, Nicholas Bequelin, said:

    “President Xi’s government has expressed its desire to help solve the situation in Rakhine State. While this is welcome in principle, the reality is that China’s engagement has failed to yield positive results for the people of Myanmar.

    “China must stop using its position in the UN Security Council to shield Myanmar’s senior generals from accountability. This has only emboldened the military’s relentless campaign of human rights violations and war crimes against ethnic minorities across the country.

    “Almost a million Rohingya languish in refugee camps in Bangladesh while 600,000 still in Myanmar continue to live under appalling conditions of apartheid. If it fails to pressure Myanmar to ensure justice and restore Rohingya’s rights, China’s efforts to resolve the situation will remain ineffective – and counter-productive.

    “With major economic and infrastructure agreements expected to be signed during President Xi’s visit, the absolute lack of transparency over such agreements is deeply disturbing. Investment in infrastructure can help raise living standards and realize human rights through improved access to basic services and employment. But these benefits are not delivered if those who bear the heaviest cost - the women, men, and children whose homes, health, livelihoods are be affected – are not adequately consulted before construction starts and protected from potential harm. Human rights, transparency, and consultation with communities should be at the heart of these projects.”

    Background

    On Friday 17 January 2020 Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, will embark on a two-day visit to mark the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar relations. It will be the first visit to Myanmar by a Chinese head of state in 19 years.

    President Xi is expected to meet with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. President Xi is expected to sign several MoUs that China and Myanmar have been negotiating as a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as other agreements on political and cultural partnerships.