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Coup Against Myanmar’s Suu Kyi Traces Back to Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

Ousted Myanmar democracy leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been levied with additional charges, according to her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw in comments to reporters on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Khin Maung Zaw says she has been charged with violating a law related to coronavirus restrictions in addition to charges already pending over alleged […]
Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: February 17, 2021
Myanmar (Burma) military soldiers stand guard after arriving overnight with armoured vehicles on February 15, 2021 near the Central Bank in Yangon, Myanmar.

Ousted Myanmar democracy leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, has been levied with additional charges, according to her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw in comments to reporters on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Khin Maung Zaw says she has been charged with violating a law related to coronavirus restrictions in addition to charges already pending over alleged possession of illegally importing seven walkie-talkie devices the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, claims to have found in her home.

The escalation comes after the Tatmadaw seized control of Myanmar, also known as Burma, from Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) at the beginning of the month, alleging widespread election fraud in the country’s November, 2020 general election after the NLD won by an 83 percent landslide. The Tatmadaw declared a national state of emergency to last for one year and has promised a new election would be held in accordance with the country’s constitution.

Thai protesters throw a barricade at riot police in Bangkok on February 1, 2021, close to where Myanmar migrants were demonstrating after Myanmar’s military detained the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s president in a coup. (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

Khin Maung Zaw says Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen in person since she was detained. She was to be released Monday, but due to the new charge she will remain in detention until her next hearing scheduled for March 1.

According to the Associated Press, Myanmar’s internet has been blacked out several times in the last two weeks. Speculation has arisen that the Tatmadaw is attempting to install a national firewall to suppress free speech.

The Tatmadaw has been under intense global pressure since declaring its state of emergency. On Feb. 5, Japan’s Kirin Brewery announced it would be cancelling its joint ventures with Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery, while on Feb. 10, U.S. President Joe Biden announced he would be sanctioning Tatmadaw leaders and their family members for the coup.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize winner and champion of democracy, is not without her controversies. Her father, Aung San, was a student of communism and socialism. He was the founding member and first General Secretary of the Communist Party of Burma, and collaborated with the invading Imperial Japanese Army. At the same time, Aung San founded the Burma Revolutionary Party, a Marxist organization, which evolved into the Socialist Party after World War II.

In 1947, Aung San led his party, the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, to win the general election. Aung San and all but three of his cabinet members were killed in an assassination by a group of four men in a hail of submachine gun fire before they could take power.

The 75 year-old Aung San Suu Kyi is a long-time member of the globalist bloc World Economic Forum (WEF), a group composed of many of the wealthiest and most influential businesses, leaders, and countries on the planet.

Many of the Forum’s stated policies follow Marxist principles such as the abolition of personal property and redistribution of wealth. Notably, WEF founder Klaus Schwab’s book COVID-19: The Great Reset has stirred controversy for its implication that the coronavirus pandemic be used to further those aims.

In the introduction of Schwab’s book, he says, “Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never. Nothing will ever return to the ‘broken’ sense of normalcy that prevailed prior to the crisis because the coronavirus pandemic marks a fundamental inflection point in our global trajectory.”

“Radical changes of such consequence are coming that some pundits have referred to a ‘before coronavirus’ (BC) and ‘after coronavirus’ (AC) era. We will continue to be surprised by both the rapidity and unexpected nature of these changes – as they conflate with each other, they will provoke second-, third-, fourth- and more-order consequences, cascading effects and unforeseen outcomes.”

Schwab, a graduate of Harvard and a professor at the University of Geneva continues, “In so doing, they will shape a ‘new normal’ radically different from the one we will be progressively leaving behind. Many of our beliefs and assumptions about what the world could or should look like will be shattered in the process.”

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, (R), speaks while Borge Brende, president of World Economic Forum listens at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the National Convention Center in Hanoi on September 13, 2018. Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on September 13 that two Reuters journalists jailed for investigating a massacre in Rakhine state were not convicted because they were journalists but because they broke the law. (YE AUNG THU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aung San Suu Kyi’s speeches at the WEF can be found on YouTube leading back more than 10 years.

The WEF held its “Summer Davos” event, dubbed New Champions 2019 in Dalian, China. At the event, People’s Republic of China (PRC) Premier Li Keqiang was the keynote speaker, emphasizing the CCP’s vision of globalization was, in no uncertain terms, its Belt and Road dealings.

“A problematic tendency we see right now is to simplistically make a scapegoat of economic globalization, which instead of helping matters in any way, will only undercut the foundation of world economic and trade growth,” Li said, referring to the globalist norms of international trade that play into the Chinese Communist Party’s hegemonic ambitions. “It is crucial that countries remain committed to the general direction of economic globalization, and advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.”

Li continued: “The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China aims to promote inclusive development by encouraging the integration of more countries and regions into economic globalization… We welcome the active participation of all parties in order to achieve interconnected and win-win development through mutually beneficial cooperation.”

China’s ‘Belt and Railroad’ to the Bay of Bengal

In January of 2020, Financial Times reported that Aung San Suu Kyi signed no less than 33 bilateral agreements with the CCP for the notorious One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI). Myanmar shares its Eastern border with mainland China and connects to the Indian Ocean without requiring travel through the South China Sea.

According to the report, Aung San Suu Kyi’s dealings agreed to develop a so-called “China-Myanmar Economic Corridor,” which would grant Beijing a railroad to Kyaukpyu on the Bay of Bengal in the state of Rakhine. An additional deep sea port for the Party will be developed in the location.

The BRI agreements also seek to develop a “New Yangon City” industrial quarter in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, which would be developed by CCP state-owned China Communications Construction Company.

Rakhine State is home to the Rohingya Muslims, a target of persecution and genocide by the Myanmar military. Suu Kyi has come under repeated fire since 2017 for her failure to defend the plight of the ethnic minority, including calls for a revocation of her Nobel Peace Prize. In 2015, The Guardian reported Aung San Suu Kyi said “she ‘didn’t know’ if the Rohingya could be regarded as Burmese citizens.”

In a Feb. 16 article, Charles Dunst, an associate at London School of Economics IDEAS global policy think tank, lucidly remarked “Having invested so heavily in Suu Kyi and the NLD, and having its investments dependent on whether Myanmar has a stable and internationally accepted government, Beijing is likely far from pleased with the Tatmadaw’s takeover.”

Myanmar State Councellor Aung San Suu Kyi (L) arrives to attend a welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Great Hall of the People on April 26, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Image: Jason Lee – Pool/Getty Images)

Dunst anticipates the Party doesn’t particularly care who is in charge of Myanmar, so long as they can continue to get what they want from the country of 54 million, “Beijing will pragmatically play ball with whoever controls Myanmar, or even parts of the country, as long as these governments and militias keep the pipelines pumping oil and gas, the roads open for trade, and the ports open to Chinese ships and exports.”

“The upshot, then, is that while the Tatmadaw comes under increasing international pressure, China will keep its options open by refusing to impose sanctions on Myanmar, boosting relations with local militias, and laying the groundwork for fruitful collaboration with whoever eventually emerges in control of Myanmar, whether that be the Tatmadaw or NLD.”

Who does the CCP want in control of Myanmar?

Dunst says that the Myanmar military historically “has been anything but favourable to Chinese interests.”

“In fact, these military men have previously been most damaging to China’s economic and strategic interests, cancelling and threatening to renegotiate existing contracts for Chinese investment in Myanmar and choosing to warm ties with the United States during the Obama administration.”

China, perhaps more than any other country in the world, appears to have seen the coup coming. According to a New York Times article on Feb. 5, “Less than three weeks before Myanmar’s military overthrew its elected government, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, made a hastily scheduled visit to the country and heaped praise on its generals.”

A temple in Myanmar. Burma has a rich cultural heritage and a tremendous amount of traditional architecture. (Source: eGuideTravel via Flickr CC BY 2.0 )

China and Russia both blocked action against Myanmar condemning the coup by the United Nations Security Council.

Yun Sun, Director of the China Program at the Stimson Institute, told NYT the source of the Myanmar conflict is exactly a result of the CCP, “Under international isolation, the junta always felt China was exploiting them because they had no other options. That’s why they chose reform over China.”

The Tatmadaw held its first news conference since seizing power from the NLD on Feb. 16, saying that it intended to hold a new election.

“Our objective is to hold an election and hand power to the winning party…We guarantee…that the election will be held,” Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said, as reported by Reuters.

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