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5,000 Myanmar nationals flee into China, face shortages



Some 5,000 Myanmar nationals, including hundreds of children, who fled into China amid an ethnic army offensive in northern Shan state are in dire need of food and water in Yunnan province, the displaced and their family members said Friday.

On Oct. 27, the Northern or “Three Brotherhood” Alliance of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Arakan Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army launched “Operation 1027” – named for the date of the offensive. 

The groups simultaneously struck junta positions in the strategic Shan cities of Kunlong, Hseni, Chin Shwe Haw, Laukkaing, Namhkan, Kutkai, and Lashio, the state’s largest municipality.

Fierce fighting in the vicinity of Chin Shwe Haw at the start of the offensive forced some 5,000 residents to cross the border and take up temporary shelter in Yunnan province, Thet Naing, a family member of one of the displaced, told RFA Burmese.

On Thursday, Chinese authorities transferred the displaced to Yunnan’s Mengding township, where they are now sheltering at a former COVID-19 testing center, he said.

“They said they moved to the vicinity of Mengding and are living in a room there – I heard that it’s a building formerly used as a COVID-19 center,” Thet Naing said. “They said that the entire camp was moved by vehicles last night because there might be another fierce fight in Chinshwehaw.”

Water shortage

But supplies are short at the center, located around 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Chin Shwe Haw, and those sheltering there – including around 700 children – need food, water, and supplies, said one of the displaced, named Ko Sai.

“Because of the water shortage, we have to boil water we received for bathing, and some of us are suffering from diarrhea,” he said. “Many are experiencing health problems and some have fainted.”

Ko Sai said the center is being “guarded by the Chinese police and army,” and that the reason for the water shortage “is because they aren’t allowing donations.”

In addition to residents of Chinshwehaw, other displaced people at the center include migrant workers from northern Shan, Kachin and Rakhine states, he said, as well as Yangon, Mandalay and Sagaing regions.

Chinese authorities have provided the displaced with tents, which can accommodate anywhere from five to 10 people each, he added.

Scant and poor food

Htoo Htoo, another displaced Myanmar national at the center, told RFA that while Chinese authorities are providing two meals a day, “the food isn’t good.”

“They provided us with eggs and tomatoes the past two days … but I can’t eat the eggs and tomatoes served today,” he said. “The tomatoes are spoiled, so I can only eat rice … [and while they have offered pork], many people felt nauseated after eating it.”

Htoo Htoo said that the displaced “are not allowed to cook” and that police had even “confiscated” bread and drinking water he ordered with his own money from outside the center.

Displaced persons shelter at a monastery in Lashio, in Myanmar’s northern Shan state, Oct. 28, 2023. Credit: RFA

Additionally, goods like sanitary napkins “are difficult to get” because of the restrictions on donations, he added.

Sources at the center said that when they asked authorities to get them food and water on Thursday, they were “forced to disperse.”

In addition to the shortages, the displaced said they have mostly been unable to contact their families because authorities “confiscated our phones,” but noted that Myanmar phone and internet services – normally accessible across the border – had been cut since the fighting began.

People at the center told RFA that they want to be allowed to move back across the border to a refugee camp in Shan state’s Nam Thit town, which is under the control of the ethnic United Wa State Army. Barring such a move, they want authorities at the camp to provide them with enough food and water, they said.

Attempts by RFA to contact the Chinese Embassy in Yangon for comment on the issue of Myanmar nationals fleeing into China went unanswered, as did calls to junta Deputy Information Minister Major Gen. Zaw Min Tun and the Myanmar Embassy in Beijing.

Yan Naing, the information officer of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, or MNDAA, said that the displaced “may have difficulty” returning to their homes, given the severity of the fighting.

“Our organization helps to take care of those displaced by fighting to the best of our ability,” he said. “Right now, during the operation, it is quite difficult to … return to their homes.”

Fighting rages on

The fighting in northern Shan state has displaced some 25,000 people since the start of the offensive – around 10,000 in Nam Tit, another 10,000 in cities in northern Shan – including Hseni, Lashio, Kunlong and Mone Koe – and 5,000 in China’s Mengding.

With roads and transportation cut off as clashes raged, residents of Shan told RFA that there is “no aid for the displaced.”

In a statement on Thursday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said there have been clashes in at least nine out of 22 townships in northern Shan state, and that the number of displaced persons had reached “more than 23,000.”

The Northern Alliance said that during the eight days of Operation 1027, it had captured more than 90 junta outposts, as well as six armored vehicles. The alliance said it “effectively controls the cities of Chinshwehaw, Hpawng Hsen and Kyu Koke.”

Myanmar junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said at a meeting of his Cabinet held in Naypyitaw on Thursday that his regime would “strike back” against those who attack it.

Translated by Htin Aung Kyaw. Edited by Joshua Lipes and Malcolm Foster.

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The Latest Updates on China’s Visa-Free Policies



China has fully reopened its borders, allowing international tourism to recover. Visa-free travel policies are reinstated, and visa fees for foreign travelers will be reduced by 25% from December 11, 2023, to December 31, 2024. China and Singapore are also pursuing a 30-day visa-free travel arrangement.

China has fully reopened its borders, promising recovery of international tourism and travel. Many of the visa-free travel policies that were in place prior to the pandemic have therefore come back into effect, enabling people from a wide range of countries to visit

UPDATE (December 8, 2023): On December 8, 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the Notice on Temporary Reduction of Fees for Applying Visa to China. According to this notice, during the period from December 11, 2023, to December 31, 2024, China shall cut visa fees by 25 percent across the board for foreign travelers. For more details, please consult with your local Chinese embassy or consulate.

UPDATE (December 7, 2023): China and Singapore are seeking to establish a mutual 30-day visa-free travel arrangement to boost people exchanges between the two countries, according to Reuters. At the time of writing, no further details have been released regarding the timeline or the eligibility, requirement, and application procedures of this new arrangement. Click here for more information regarding this mutual 30-day visa-free travel between China and Singapore. 

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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Analysis of UK Investments in China for 2023: Evaluating Deals, Values, M&A, and Investments



British Government underwent reshuffle with pro-China David Cameron as Foreign Minister. Possible mild rapprochement with Beijing. Analysis of UK investments in China this year reveals potential trends. Report includes unique Q1-Q3 data and predicts outlook for 2024.

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis & Henry Tillman   

With a reshuffle in the British Government and ex-Prime Minister – and generally pro-China politician David Cameron now as the UK’s Foreign Minister, there have been early signs of a potential mild rapprochement in the British governments overall attitude towards Beijing.

But before people get carried away, we can look at what investments the UK has made into China this year – as investments made while anti-China politics have tended to be the norm are typically indicative of stronger trends. In this report I include unique data that has not previously been made public, and examine the Q1-Q3 investment trends to see what may lie ahead for 2024.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at

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Ratings agency cuts China’s credit outlook



Financially strapped local governments and state-owned enterprises pose a risk to China’s future economic growth, the ratings agency Moody’s said today in a report downgrading the country’s credit outlook from stable to negative.

Growing evidence suggests that the central government will be required to shore up the debt-laden entities, creating “broad downside risks to China’s fiscal, economic and institutional strength,” Moody’s said.

Local governments are thought to have accumulated trillions of dollars of debt due to spending during the COVID pandemic and a loss of income due to a troubled real estate market.

Despite the challenges, Moody’s maintained China’s overall credit rating of A1, which it describes as low-risk though not the safest category of investment. Moody’s said the rating reflects its belief in the country’s “financial and institutional resources to manage the transition in an orderly fashion.”

“Its economy’s vast size and robust, albeit slowing, potential growth rate, support its high shock absorption capacity,” Moody’s said. 

Even so, the outlook downgrade signals some concern about China’s future creditworthiness.

In a statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said it was disappointed in the ratings change and that Moody’s concerns about its growth and financial stability were “unnecessary.” 

In recent years, through the continuous efforts of relevant departments and local governments, China has established a system to prevent and resolve the risks of local government debt,” the ministry said. “The trend of disorderly and illegal borrowing by local governments has been initially curbed, and positive results have been achieved in the disposal of local government debt.”

An employee works at a steel plant in Huaian, in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, Dec. 3, 2023. (AFP)

Moody’s projects China’s annual growth rate will be 4% in 2024 and 2025 but average 3.8% from 2026 to 2030, at which time it might drop again to 3.5%. 

Derek Scissors, the chief economist at China Beige Book, a firm that analyzes China’s economy for investors, said in an email that the downgrade was to be expected.

“It’s a recognition of long-standing conditions, not a new development,” said Scissors, who is also a senior fellow at the free-market think tank American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “I think growth will be faster than Moody’s thinks in 2024 and decelerate more than they think after that.”

Fees from local land sales account for nearly 40% of the revenue to local and regional governments. But China’s real-estate sector has been hit hard by overbuilding. One giant, Evergrande, defaulted under massive debt last year, triggering a broader real estate crisis.

Moody’s report said that “the downsizing of the property sector is a major structural shift in China’s growth drivers which is ongoing and could represent a more significant drag to China’s overall economic growth rate than currently assessed.”

Edited by Tara McKelvey

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