Attacks on Chinese-run factories in Myanmar vex Beijing

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Black smoke billows from the industrial zone of Hlaing Thar Yar township in Yangon, Myanmar Sunday, March 14, 2021. Attacks on Chinese-run factories in Myanmar's biggest city drew demands Monday from Beijing for protection for their property and employees, while many in Myanmar expressed outrage over China's apparent lack of concern for those killed in protests against last month's military coup. Myanmar state media have reported that martial law was declared in six districts in Yangon, including the major industrial zones of Hlaing Thar Yar and Shwepyitha. (AP Photo)

BEIJING – Attacks on Chinese-run factories in Myanmar's biggest city drew demands Monday from Beijing for protection for their property and employees, while many in Myanmar expressed outrage over China's apparent lack of concern for those killed in protests against last month's military coup.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the Chinese Embassy had contacted authorities in Myanmar and urged that police be deployed to protect the Chinese companies and personnel.

Police and firefighters were sent to protect the factories, which are scattered across several industrial zones in Yangon, spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing. He said China was closely watching and “is very concerned about the impact on the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel."

A statement posted by the Chinese Embassy to Myanmar on Facebook about the efforts to protect Chinese businesses triggered an outpouring of fury in more than 52,000 comments.

“Does it hurt? How about people dying?" said a post from Naing Oo.

“If you want to do business peacefully in Myanmar, respect Myanmar people," said Aye Myat Kyaw. “Stop supporting terrorist army and join Myanmar people."

Many accused Myanmar police or other agitators of causing the destruction to try to incite more trouble.

More than 100 civilians have been killed by security forces since the Feb. 1 coup, according to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Many more have been injured, and thousands have been arrested.