Posted by: mulrickillion | February 14, 2012

Insight: As Myanmar opens, China alliance starts to fray

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People drive on a moped at the construction site for a pipeline which will transport Myanmar gas into China, outside of the northeastern Myanmar town of Pyin Oo Lwin January 23, 2012. REUTERS/Staff.

Reuters, Feb 13, 2012 –  MANDALAY, Myanmar- When officials first turned up demanding Chen Ching-feng remove the Chinese sign above her clothing shop in Myanmar’s biggest northern city, she ignored them.

"When they came back a few days later and asked why the Chinese was still there, I said I had been busy," the ethnic Chinese resident of Mandalay said, speaking in Mandarin. "They made me take them down immediately and sign an undertaking not to put them back."

Other ethnic Chinese shop-owners report similar requests, though enforcement is patchy.

Government officials in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, say there is no official ban on Chinese advertisements, but demands to pull them down in Mandalay, a city dominated by Chinese merchants, illustrate mounting unease over Beijing’s expanding influence.

As Myanmar pursues dramatic reforms, its relationship with China — the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest investor and second-biggest trade partner — is changing. In some cases, long-festering resentment is flaring into the open. . . .

TALE OF TWO PIPELINES

From his home overlooking a colonial-era golf course, Kyaw Thiha is clear about what he sees holding back reforms: China.

"This is a democracy. The Chinese ordering us around is not democratic," said the former political prisoner who will contest an April 1 parliamentary by-election as a candidate for the opposition National League for Democracy, the party of Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

The soft-spoken university history tutor, jailed during the failed 1988 uprising, wants the government to stop the 790-km (490-mile) pipeline project that will cut across the country, including near his town in the old British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin.

Human rights groups say the pipelines will displace thousands, damage livelihoods of farmers and fishermen, and benefit China more than Myanmar, where power outages are chronic. . . .

Insight: As Myanmar opens, China alliance starts to fray – Yahoo! News

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