China on Wednesday rejected any idea of sanctioning the Burmese military junta, after a relentless indictment from the UN envoy for Burma who spoke of an “unprecedented” risk of “civil war” and a “bath of imminent blood “, urging the Security Council to act.
Sanctions against the Burmese military who overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi, “would only worsen the situation,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun told an emergency Security Council meeting . The representative of China, Burma’s first supporter, however called for “a return to a democratic transition in this country”.
And if he spoke of “violence and bloodshed (which) does not serve the interests of anyone”, and called on “all parties” to “keep their calm (and) show restraint”, he did not matched its demands with a threat of sanctions, yet defended by other countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom, worried about the situation on the ground.
“The cruelty of the military is too serious and many ethnic armed organizations are clearly showing their opposition, increasing the risk of civil war to an unprecedented level,” warned Christine Schraner Burgener, UN envoy to Burma, when a closed meeting of the Security Council.
“A bloodbath is imminent,” she also warned, noting that the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) had identified “536 people killed by the junta” since the military coup of the 1st February.
“I call on this Council to consider all the means at its disposal to take collective action and do what is necessary”, “in order to avoid a multidimensional disaster in the heart of Asia”, she added. during this urgent meeting requested by the United Kingdom.
– International dissensions –
The Council meeting ended after two and a quarter hours of discussions. According to diplomats, China has asked for a delay before adopting a text proposal formulated by the United Kingdom, postponing a decision one way or another until Thursday.
While the United States and the United Kingdom have just announced a new round of sanctions, China and Russia have so far refused to officially condemn the putsch.
Taking advantage of these dissensions, the generals continued their bloody response.
Eight people were shot dead by security forces on Tuesday, according to the AAPP. Hundreds of others, held incommunicado, are missing.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader ousted and arrested two months ago, “appears to be in good health,” her lawyer Min Min Soe said on Wednesday, who spoke with her client by videoconference.
The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate faces multiple charges, including corruption.
The 75-year-old has still not been allowed to meet her defenders and the interview took place in the presence of guards and police, said the lawyer. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in court. Another of his lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw, said it should be brief and devoted to administrative matters.
– Police stations attacked –
The violence sparked anger among some 20 ethnically-based rebel groups in Burma.
Two of them, the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), have launched several attacks on the security forces.
KIA targeted a police station in far north Kachin state on Wednesday, local media reported.
And a police station was targeted with a rocket launcher the day before in the region of Bago, northeast of Rangoon, the economic capital, injuring five police officers.
The KNU seized last weekend in the neighboring Karen state of a military base, prompting army airstrikes – the first in 20 years in this region.
After the raids, this faction said it “strongly supports” the popular uprising against the junta and is ready to retaliate.
Three other rebel groups threatened to take up arms again. A military official for one of them, General Tar Bhone Kya of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), told AFP on Wednesday that they were considering breaking the ceasefire. concluded in recent years with certain factions by the military which he accused of “war crimes”.
In Karen State, airstrikes left several people injured and some 3,000 people tried to flee to Thailand. About 2,400 returned voluntarily to their country and 200 others agreed to return, according to the Thai authorities.
But Karen human rights activists accuse the kingdom of pushing back refugees to the border, also preventing humanitarian organizations from coming into contact with them.
– “A new civilian government” –
In Burma, resistance continues with tens of thousands of civil servants and private sector workers still on strike to protest against the military regime.
Protesters marched on two-wheelers in Mandalay, in the center of the country, with placards imploring: “Save Burma”, “Stop crimes against humanity”.
But, fearing reprisals, the demonstrators are few in number compared to the hundreds of thousands in the first weeks after the coup.
A group of deputies of the National League for Democracy (LND) of Aung San Suu Kyi ousted from Parliament by the coup plotters also announced Wednesday that they would form at the beginning of April “a new civilian government”.
bur-sde-fff-prh / ob / rock