China denies refusing Myanmar refugees entry


Myanmar refugees eating outside a tent at a refugee camp near the border of China and Myanmar in Wanding town, Ruili city of Yunnan province in southwest China, 21 November 2016. Photo: EPA

China has denied media reports in Myanmar that the country has been refusing refugees from border conflicts in the neighboring country. 

China has never prevented Myanmar residents from trying to escape from the war and entering China, said a spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.

Around 4,000 Burmese civilians had been stopped from seeking shelter in neighboring China by Chinese soldiers after they attempted to flee local fighting, Al Jazeera's news site quoted a non-governmental organization as saying on Friday.

The spokesperson said in the statement published on the embassy's website that Myanmar authorities have instead "enhanced" their management over residents fleeing from the conflict area, requiring them not to enter China unless it is necessary. 

China has been providing food and medicine to those Myanmar residents out of humanitarian concerns, the spokesperson added.

Severe conflicts broke out in November 2016 between the Myanmar national defense forces and the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army in northern Myanmar. 

Many Myanmar nationals fled and sought shelter on the Chinese side of the China-Myanmar border. 

Wang Wei, deputy director of the Yunnan Foreign Affairs Office, told a Myanmar media delegation that around 14,000 Myanmar nationals have fled to the Chinese side of the border as of November 29, 2016, mostly in Yunnan Province.

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