China’s Long History with Burma/Myanmar: Part 1 of 3

November 11, 2014

The Economist (September 9, 2010) published a critical piece about China’s relationship with MyanmarWelcome, Neighbor – China hosts another tinpot dictator from next door

“Tinpot dictator” are the two key words in the title of this opinion piece, as if the United States or the UK has never hosted and/or supported “tinpot” dictators.

A well-written criticism of the U.S. government from Sri Lanka sets the record straight.

“I wish the spokesman of the (U.S.) State Department … would explain how Washington’s concern for democracy in Sri Lanka squares with US support for repressive regimes such as the one in Uzbekistan or the autocratic rule in Saudi Arabia, both countries in which the U.S. has military facilities.

“In post-World War II period, Washington has militarily propped up such dictators including several in South Korea, Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted by the Filipino people, Indonesia’s Suharto also thrown out by the people, Vietnam’s Dinh Diem, various military governments in Thailand, Singapore’s autocrat Lee Kwan Yew, the military dictators in Pakistan from Ayub Khan to Pervez Musharraf, all of them from our part of the world…” The Ugly Americans Once More (Lankaweb, Sri Lanaka’s first Social Media website)

The Economist only mentions a half century of history between China and Burma/Myanmar, yet, China’s history with Burma and then Myanmar goes back about two thousand years.

The opinion piece also does not mention that China, since 1982, has not been into nation building as the U.S. has since 9/11, when President G.W. Bush launched wars against Iraq and Afghanistan with threats to Iran and North Korea.

Continued on November 12, 2014 with Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Two Worlds on the Same Planet

November 6, 2010

Martin Petty at Reuters writes an interesting piece about Suu Kyi in Myanmar (Burma) — not interesting as you might think but interesting in that it reveals an alien point-of-view.

China is mentioned four times and is referred to as Burma’s ally, a neighbor, between China and India, and that Myanmar could become “a province of China”.

However, Petty only mentions briefly (nine paragraphs into the piece) that Western sanctions on the Myanmar regime have failed because Myanmar’s neighbors China, Thailand and India and other Asian nations have been pouring investments into the resource-rich country.

Why didn’t Petty mention that one of those other Asian nations pouring investments into Myanmar is Singapore — one of America’s staunchest Southeast Asian allies and trading partners. 

Singapore is also rated by Transparency.org as one of the world’s least corrupt nations tied with Denmark and New Zealand for the number one spot, while the United States is ranked twenty-two with a score of 7.1 ( a C-) to Singapore’s score of 9.3 (an A).

It isn’t as if Reuters didn’t know what was going on. 

A 2007 Reuters piece says that Singapore was one of Myanmar’s biggest foreign investors with more than one billion dollars in trade that year.

Then later in the 2007 piece, Reuters says that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) admitted Myanmar as a member in 1997 even with international criticism.

Just what does “international” mean when the nine founding members of ASEAN do business with Myanmar.

Is “international” another way of saying “Western” or “America”?

Here’s the ASEAN list — Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.  I didn’t see China or India on that list, and India is often touted as the biggest democracy on the planet — both trade with Myanmar.

In fact, South Korea, another democracy, also trades with Myanmar. In 2009, South Korea granted imports duty free and quota free on 253 goods from Myanmar. Source: People’s Daily

Then The Myanmar Times reported that trade between Myanmar and Japan (another democracy) increased about 33% in 2006-07.

Taiwan also trades with Myanmar. Source: The China Post

Not wanting to miss out on the potential profits, Australia is on that trade list too (up 160%). Source: Democratic Voice of Burma

It is a fact that all of these Asian nations that trade with Myanmar were either occupied or victims of Western Imperialism going back to the18th century and lasting until the middle of the 20th century. 

During this era, Western nations imposed Western values and religions on all of Asia and China.

However, all of Asia (except for Australia) has roots reaching back more than two millennia to Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism.

Western nations and the Middle East have roots to the three Abrahamic Religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Is it possible these different cultural trees are worlds apart on the same planet?

Instead of trying to understand those differences, the West keep thumping its hairy chest and roaring when the other world doesn’t behave with Western moral expectations and beliefs.

Learn more about The Collective Culture versus Individualism

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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