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Myanmar Anti-Junta Activists Mount Boycott of Chinese Goods as Protesters Face More Repression

Myanmar police confront anti-junta protesters during a demonstration in Loikaw, capital of eastern Myanmar’s kayah state, March 10, 2021Photo Courtesy:RFA

As protests and violent suppression by troops grind on in Myanmar, coup opponents are stepping up a campaign to make China rethink its support for the military junta, including a boycott of imports from their giant neighbor and threats against a major Chinese energy pipeline and port.

China, along with Russia, are seen as the main stumbling blocks to a meaningful response to the Myanmar crisis at the U.N. Security Council, which last month voiced concern over the state of emergency and called for the release of all those detained, but stopped short of condemning the coup.

Threats to attack the dual oil and gas pipelines, which run from southwest China’s Yunnan province to a $1.3 billion deep-sea port at Kyaukpyu in southern Rakhine state along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, have emerged on social media.

The pipeline and port are part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), a key component of Beijing’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of trade-facilitating infrastructure projects worldwide that is the signature initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Perceptions that China supports the coup among Myanmar’s population, which was angered when Beijing official media called the Feb. 1 ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government a “cabinet reshuffle,” drew hundreds to protest at China’s embassy in Yangon last month.

Following the blockade and arrests of protesters by soldiers and police in Yangon’s Sanchaung township on Monday, posts appeared on Facebook saying that China is providing support to Myanmar’s military regime, which is using lethal force to quell peaceful protesters.

Some posts warned that there could be no guarantee for the security of the Kyaukphyu pipelines.

“The military that is trying to crush us violently has great fear of China. Every word from China counts,” said a young man from Kyauktada township in Yangon.

“We very well know that they are afraid that plans with China will be disrupted,” he said of the military regime. “And since we have no weapons to fight the military, we want to let them know we can cause disruptions in our own way to the give-and-take relationship with China.”

Anti-junta protesters shout slogans against Myanmar’s military regime during a demonstration in North Dagon township, Yangon region, March 10, 2021.Photo Courtesy: RFA

No goods from China

An online campaign calling for a boycott of Chinese goods in protest of Beijing’s support for Myanmar’s military junta has begun in the Southeast Asia country.

“We feel sorry for the traders who have already imported Chinese goods, but we will try to boycott Chinese imports,” said a young man from Yangon’s Insein township. “We will only buy fruits and vegetables locally produced or imported from other countries, but not from China.”

“Merchants should be frank and honest and tell their consumers which produce is from China and which is not,” he said. “We want to advise them not to import any more from China during these difficult times.”

Traders in the border town of Muse in northern Shan state said there now are nearly no fruit imports from China.

“Usually, we will see a lot of trucks bringing in fruits like oranges during this time of the year, but now we hardly see any,” said one fruit and vegetable wholesaler from the area.

“The truck drivers also told us there are very few fruit trucks coming in from the other side,” he added. “Actually, the goods that come in depend on orders from Mandalay and Yangon, and I think the trucks are now not coming in due to the lack of orders.”

RFA was unable to obtain comparative trade statistics across the Myanmar-China border, which has been closed or restricted for long periods over the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some urban residents said they would join the boycott and stop buying Chinese products.

A young man from Yangon’s Yankin township said that he asks shop owners where their merchandise comes from before he buys a product.

“If the shop is selling Chinese imports, then I won’t buy anything from it,” he told RFA. “I don’t mind products from Taiwan or Hong Kong, but I don’t want anything from mainland China.”

An unnamed man from a Yangon IT store said nearly all the products in local markets are from China.

“But now with this Boycott China program, we are not buying Chinese software. We don’t want our money or information about us going to them.”

Anti-coup activists have been shunning products, such like Myanmar Beer, Andaman Gold Beer, Mandalay Rum, MyTel mobile phone service, and Ruby cigarettes, made by domestic military-related industries since February.

Last month, the activist group Justice For Myanmar listed major Chinese business partners of the military junta including big arms suppliers, mining firms and textile companies. A “Dirty List” published by the Burma Campaign UK listed 12 Chinese companies as having ties to the Myanmar military.

Myanmar railway workers stand by a roadside after being forced out of their homes by security forces in Yangon, March 11, 2021. Photo Courtesy:RFA

Raids on railway worker housing

Police and soldiers continued violent crackdowns across the country on Wednesday, arresting at least 150 people in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, were they sustained the use of tear gas, smoke bombs, and live ammunition against defiant protesters.

Residents in urban areas and towns have become incensed over reports of soldiers stealing rice, jewelry, and gold from homes they raid while searching for protesters in hiding. They also complain about security forces firing their rifles indiscriminately and throwing flash grenades to terrorize them.

Police and soldiers also have been entering private homes to arrest protesters sheltering inside as well as the families who gave them a place to stay, locals said.

Policemen raided the housing units of state railway workers in Yangon and drove their occupants out of their homes for refusing to quit the broader civil disobedience movement (CDM) of strikes and other actions that has supported the street protests.

Authorities arrested 17 rail workers who had joined the CDM when hundreds of police and soldiers raided the staff quarters at the Mahlwagone Railway Station, though they could not find train conductors already in hiding elsewhere.

“We are angry that they used force to pressure those of us who have not committed any wrongdoings,” said a relative of one of the railway workers.

The junta warned workers who joined the CDM to leave their housing quarters, previously provided by the Railways Department.

“They underestimated us when they took over state power,” said one of the striking workers. “We joined the protests because we want our president U [honorific] Win Myint and the state counselor [Aung San Suu Kyi] to be freed. We will carry on with the movement until our leaders are released.”

Police and soldiers not only made the arrests but also took away rice supplies and foodstuffs distributed by NGOs to support workers who joined the CDM, witnesses said.

Myanmar police seal off a major street in Sanchaung township, Yangon region, March 10,2021- Photo Courtesy:RFA

Protesters chased in North Okkalapa

Anti-junta protestors meanwhile continued their rallies in other townships in Yangon region.

Several demonstrators were injured when police and soldiers cracked down on them with tear gas and stun grenades in Yangon’s North 1Okkalapa township. Some 150 protesters, mostly teenagers, who ran into nearby houses were chased down and arrested.

“Most people in houses along the streets called in the young protesters and closed their doors,” said an area resident, adding that he saw police breaking down the door of one house and taking away student protesters and three family members.

“They also ransacked the house and took cell phones and other stuff,” he said.

In Sanchaung township, scores of young people gathered on Baho Street and chanted anti-military slogans in protest, though no incidents were reported.

Several groups of protesters in Mandalay staged cat-and-mouse demonstrations as soldiers patrolled the main roads in large numbers. A group of people participating in a sit-in protest was dispersed quickly by police, witnesses said.

Police in Mandalay’s Myingyan township used gunfire to break up a protest march of over 20,000 people, injuring one man in the face and another in the thigh, witnesses said.

Security forces in Pathein, Ayeyarwady region, confronted and violently dispersed a large protest column comprising university students and ethnic Karen youths.

Police broke up another column of protesters under a “Spring Revolution” banner, using motorcycles to track down those hiding in nearby streets, witnesses said. They were no reports of casualties or arrests.

In Hpa-an and Kawkareik townships of Kayin state, hundreds of people continued anti-regime marches in nearby villages as police and soldiers occupied main roads in the cities. Similar marches also were reported in the towns of Ye and Kyaikto of neighboring Mon state.

In Magway, capital of Magway region, police and soldiers used tear gas to disperse anti-military protesters and arrested at least four demonstrators, witnesses said.

Striking Myanmar railway workers cross some tracks after being forced out of their homes by security forces in Yangon, March 10, 2021. Photo Courtesy:RFA

Not ordinary human rights violations’

The extreme violence committed by police and soldiers against peaceful protesters and other civilians violates the law and human rights, activists and legal experts said.

Groups of policemen and soldiers who severely beat protesters with batons and iron rods or arrest people who turn up dead a day later are committing serious human rights violations, said activist Nickey Diamond from the Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights.

“If we are to use human rights terminology, these are crimes against humanity,” he told RFA. “These are not ordinary human rights violations.”

“Under international laws, we have terms like genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity,” he said. “These three are used to prevent crimes against ordinary people using extreme violence or brutality. Punishment for these crimes can be meted out at the International Criminal Court.”

The International Criminal Court, which tries individuals, in November 2019 authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated by Myanmar soldiers against Rohingya Muslims during a brutal crackdown in 2017 that drove 740,000 members of the minority group into Bangladesh.

Myanmar also faces genocide-related charges at the International Court of Justice, the U.N.’s top court, which settles disputes between nations.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Copyright © 1998-2020, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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How to identify Fake News or Messages on Social Media 

Beware of Fake News and Fake Messages on Social Media

Always follow websites or social media platforms of traditional media outlets whether newspapers, magazines,Television News Channels or Radio Stations and authentic online only media outlets.They still maintain journalism excellence and stress on reportorial talent.On the other hand, fake news websites run by people with non journalism background and promote their own ideology with fake news and disinformations and obviously conspiracy theories.

But unfortunately mainstream media also manipulates news to establish their story angle.There were various instances when News papers and TV Channels promoted fake news/conspiracy theories in the form of out of context or manipulated pictures/videos and distorted informations.

Always check the URL of any website.Some fake news websites look like the orginal and popular one the same layout,Logo but if you check the URL you may find extra words like if the orginal website's URL is the duplicate one might be or something like that so first check the URL for authentic informations.

Check whether photos are original or photoshopped.Check Google images for authenticity.You can find help from Google Reverse Images search.

Check the news sources from other websites whether they picked up the story or not.

Whether the website layout is little bit clumsy and obviously grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes and excessive use of Sex related and sensational and hate stories.Because sex and hate sells.

Follow official websites relating to COVID-19

WHO Clarifies the disinformation about the virus:
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
Cold Weather and Snow can not kill the new coronavirus
Taking a Hot Bath Does Not Prevent COVID-19
COVID-19 Can not be transmitted through mosquito bites

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth)

According to World Health Organization (WHO): Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth . If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

Follow WHO guidelines

When you follow COVID-19 related news and messages from social media then check and recheck it before consuming it.Follow journalism mantra: if your mother says she loves you, check it out.

Most of the messages or informations quote different organizations like WHO, UNICEF, UNDP,Cambridge University  or other well known institutes,organizations or individual to authenticate the messeges.Check official websites of these organizations  if stories are repeated there

Forwarding messages from unknown sources or little known sources, it would be better to ignore it.

Check whether any logo like UNICEF or WHO or other organizations used in the messages which look similar to original logo.

These type of messages are full of Grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes which are quite uncommon in original messages.

Some fake messages pretend to be real one like unofficial Twitter handle of international media organizations like BBC,CNN,Washinton Post, New York Times-check the official Twitter handles of media outlets.

You can identify fake messages if the message requests you to share it.

Beware of Fake News or Fake Photos/Videos Relating to Communal Hatred

Always check the fact checking sites if you have some doubts about the authenticity of any information or picture.

The Same Method Applies to You Tube Videos Check the Source the credibility of the Source.To Check Fake You Tube Videos Check and Recheck the sources. Does the person have the legal right to the video posted? Did that person capture the video? Whether it has been altered?

But due to advancement of technology we can not really wipe out fake news.According to experts advent of  Artificial Intelligence(AI) some companies small or big one developing  technologies that can  lay digitally created script to anybody's voice  even words,sentences never said by the person.Even they developing a technology which can create fake video footage,images,audios like originals.So be cautious! Rumour-mongers are active everywhere whether in physical world or cyber world.

Without evidence or with fake evidence, a conspiracy theory will always remain a conspiracy theory.

For any further information relating to fake news and how-to search authentic informations from the internet write to us or Whats App:+916289017966

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