China Aid Association
(Yuannan, China — August 31, 2012) On August 21, 2012, the Chinese government began to forcibly repatriate the Kachin refugees who had sought refuge in Yunnan province. Though the battles between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese government army continue, a large number of refugees have been forced to return to Kachin, as they had no alternative. On August 29th, the reporter interviewed several officials of the Kachin Independent government, in charge of refugee affairs, regarding the current situation. They gave relatively detailed answers to the plight of the refugees that is attracting attention in the outside world.
Photo 1. The Deputy Minister of Health of the Kachin Independent government
Photo 2. Lana Zubja Refugee Camp
A ministry-level official told the reporter, the number of refugees forcibly repatriated by China has reached 4,255 people (943 families). They have been dispersed in several different areas. Among these, 1,291 people (305 families) have been sent to Lana Zubja Refugee Camp; 20 people (six families) have been transferred to Nakan; 22 people (six families) have moved to Maija Yang. Four people (one family) have returned to Laiza. As the refugees had to carry their own belongings when moving, the fewest people have gone to Laiza since it is a very long journey. 1,086 people (274 families) have gone to Man Wing county where there are two refugee camps. One can accommodate 1,000 people and the other can accommodate over 700 people. These two refugee camps are very crowded and can no longer receive more refugees. We would like to make special mention here that for some 1,832 people (351 families), it is too dangerous for them to return to their villages that are too near the battlefields. Some of the refugees have family members who have joined the Kachin Independence Army. Therefore they have to avoid the Burmese government troops, for if they are caught, they will be executed. The Burmese government troops are absolutely ruthless when it comes to hunting down and murdering the family members of the soldiers of the Kachin Independence Army. Given the above reasons, all these 1,832 refugees have gone into the mountains of Man Wing.
Photo 4. Lung Kawk Refugee Camp
Photo 5. Lung Kawk Refugee Camp
The forcible repatriation has forced most of the Kachin refugees within Yunnan to return to Burma. Only about 2,970 of the refugees remain in China; the Chinese government has not taken further action to remove them yet. The following refugee camps (and numbers of refugees) currently remain in Yunnan: Man Hai (62 people), Hka Dawng Pa (496 people), Lahta Masat Shadaw (six people), Hpare (761 people), Pang Wa Ten Htan (1652 people). How long they can remain in Yunnan is unknown. Man Hai Refugee Camp has already received a notice from the Chinese government: “You must move out in three days!”
Photo 6. A simple stove used by the refugees in cooking.
A person from the Kachin Independence Organization said: Since the problem of refugees arose, providing for them has been a difficult thing. Financially, the government is already in the red, but the need of the refugees has been rising. Currently, food is No. 1 on the shortage list, followed by medicine. When China forcibly repatriates the remaining refugees within Yunnan, the Kachin Independent Government will have greater need for relief supplies.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]