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Protesters demand the US and China Chiang Mai consulates do more to end Kachin conflict

Kachin activists based in Thailand demonstrated in front of both the US and China consulates in Chiang Mai calling for an end to the Burma Army offensive in Kachin State Friday last week.

The protest lasted around 20 minutes at the Chinese consulate before continuing at the US consulate.

Speaking to Karen News, Ma Hsai Zin, a member of the demonstration said.

“We call for the same political aims at the China and US consulates to put pressure on the Burmese government to end its offensive in Kachin State and to solve the problem by political means to create a genuine federal union in Burma.”

Ma Hsai Zin said that the protesters demanded at the China consulate to treat Kachin refugees with humanity.

“The Kachin and Chinese lived together on the China-Kachin border. We want the Chinese government and other humanitarian aid organizations to be able to freely help the Kachin people who are in trouble.”

More than 100 demonstrators joined the demonstration and it included members of the ethnic nationalities from Burma.

Kachin based organisations in Thailand put out a statement on January 25 accusing the Burma Army of committing of burning down villages, arbitrary and extra-judicial killings and sexual violence during its military offensive against the Kachin Independence Army.

The statement urged the Chinese government to pressure the Burmese government to 1. start a nationwide political dialogue with the country’s ethnic minorities, 2. to allow Kachin refugees fleeing the violence to cross over into China and 3. to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) humanitarian organizations access to the refugees.

On January 24, the US Embassy at Rangoon objected to the fighting in Kachin State and published a statement urging the Burma government to allow humanitarian aid into the conflict areas. The US requested that the KIA and the Burmese government implement a ceasefire and work towards a sustainable peace.

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