On Sept. 28 Chinese policemen began guarding all border entry points to China’s southwest Yunnan province from Burma’s northern Shan State, preventing ethnic Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from crossing the border, said IDPs.
Two or more policemen are guarding all official and unofficial corridors in the long border starting from Hpawng Seng (Poungsai) to Nam Hkam like Hpawng Seng (Poungsai), Mongkoe, Wandin, Kyukok, Ruili (Shweli) and Nongdao, on the western side of the Salween River, said people in those places.
Earlier, border-based residents from both countries were able to cross the border without passports for small-scale border business. Now, local people from both sides cannot cross the border to do business, residents said.
At official border crossings like Muse and Mongkoe, only people with authorized passports are allowed to enter China, according to people in Muse.
Burmese IDPs in Northern Shan State, mostly ethnic Kachin people, are fleeing to secure places and the China border since the Burma Army launched its storm-offensive against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) military bases in Muse and Kutkai townships, on Sept. 24.
KIA officials of Northern Shan State (from the KIA’s 4th Brigade) said over 20,000 IDPs from the KIA’s controlled areas are fleeing to government-controlled locations and the China border.
Currently, hundreds of Kachin IDPs have already fled to eight towns in government-controlled Northern Shan State including Muse, Lashio, Kutkai, Nampaka, Nam-um, Pongsai, Mongkoe, Kyukok (Pangsai), where they are temporarily taken care of by Kachin churches, church sources said.
In Burmese border towns like Kyukok and Mongkoe, Burmese policemen are also preventing IDPs from entering China. They are being told to seek shelter in Kachin churches, said IDPs in those towns.
Chinese and Burmese border authorities in Mongkoe, the former headquarters of the Communist Party of Burma, are working closely together on the ethnic IDPs issues and the war, said sources close to Chinese border authorities.
On Sept. 27, Chinese border authorities arrested three Burmese suspects at a hotel in the Chinese border town of Manghai, opposite Mongkoe, and handed them over to Burmese border authorities in Mongkoe, said sources close to Chinese border authorities.
Since war broke out in N.Shan State, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political-wing of KIA, officially requested neighbouring China to accept Kachin IDPs from N.Shan State. However, China has not responded so far, said KIO officials.
Nevertheless, more and more Kachin IDPs are fleeing to the China border, according to border-based residents.