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China Gives Burmese Govt More Than $500,000 for Kachin IDP Resettlement

Mr. Chen Hai, Chinese ambassador to Myanmar

China’s ambassador to Burma gave the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement 4 million yuan (US$574,209) last week to be used toward the resettlement of Kachin internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The transfer from Ambassador Chen Hai to Dr. Win Myat Aye took place on August 5, and follows an earlier promise made by Chinese President Xi Jinping to assist the IDPs.

The social welfare ministry will reportedly use the funds to build 191 houses in Tar Law Gyi (also Da Law), Dabak Yang, and Nam San Yang villages.

Leaders within the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) said that they were not aware of the details of the funding, which is likely to be spent through government channels.

“We still don’t know about it… we don’t know what they are doing. We will continue to implement our own plan,” KHCC chair Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson told KNG.

On August 6, the Chinese embassy in Burma released a statement affirming China’s support in implementing the peace process, pursuing development, and participating in the resettlement of Kachin IDPs.

Meanwhile, the KHCC has been preparing to send Kachin IDPs to 17 villages in Kachin State, outside of government-controlled areas. They are constructing houses in Momauk and Mansi townships for this purpose.

The first 10 families were sent from Shwe Nyaung Pin IDP camp to their home village on July 4.

More than 100,000 Kachin people have been displaced by fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) since 2011, when a ceasefire broke down.

Kachin IDPs have said that they want to return to their homes if their safety can be guaranteed.

Government- and military-organized IDP returns to villages like Nam San Yang have been met with criticism, as the community was not fully de-mined before IDPs went back in early 2019. In July of this year, the Tatmadaw removed 10 landmines and multiple unexploded grenades and mortar shells from farmland around the village, months after a villager lost his leg to a mine blast.

The KIA has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military, and they have held talks regarding the possible signing of a bilateral ceasefire.

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