China offers cash to Kachin refugees willing to return

09 March 2019
China offers cash to Kachin refugees willing to return
This picture taken on April 26, 2018 shows displaced Kachin residents crossing Malikha river on a ferry to escape the fighting in Injanyan village near Myitkyina between the Kachin Independence Army, ethnic armed group against the Myanmar government troops in Myanmar's northernmost state of Kachin near the border with China. Photo: Zau Ring Hpra/AFP

Officials from the southwestern Chinese province that borders Myanmar have offered cash to entice ethnic Kachin refugees to return to their war-torn homeland and threatened a blockade if the group's armed forces refuse to sign a peace deal, a Kachin religious leader told RFA’s Myanmar Service after talks in China last week.

The officials from China’s Yunnan province offered as much as 120,000 yuan (about $20,000) to each displaced Kachin refugee family who opts to return home to Myanmar. Yunnan accounts for the bulk of the 2200-km (1370-mile) China-Myanmar border, the Kachin officials said.

The offer, which came with a Chinese entreaty that Kachins accept the Myanmar government’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), was made during a March 1 meeting at the Chinese border town of Ruili between Yunnan authorities and Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) representatives, said KBC chairman Hkalam Samson, according to RFA.