Kachin villagers destroy plantation built on seized land

Dec 15, 2008 (DVB)-Kachin villagers destroyed a Chinese-owned rubber plantation near Washawng and Nam Wa villages on 7 December because they were angry that it had been built on land confiscated from locals.

A local resident said villagers were unhappy that a Chinese national named Lixi had forcibly confiscated around 200 acres of village land with the help of local authorities and cut down all the trees.

"They destroyed all the saplings and the mechanical equipment,� the resident said.

�The land belongs to the village and it was covered with trees,� he went on.

�Local authorities took bribes and joined forces with the Chinese man. They cut down the trees and dug up the earth."

The plantation owner has reported the damage caused by the villagers to the authorities and asked that those responsible be arrested.

Analyst Aung Kyaw Zaw, who is based on the China-Burma border, said it was a longstanding Chinese policy to establish businesses and gain land in Burma.

"[The policy was to] try to join hands with any army commander and enter or take hold of the country from anywhere you could,� Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

�The matter is easily sorted out when you give the so-called patriotic Burmese army commander about 200,000 kyat, or 500,000 for a chief strategist,� he said.

�That is not new. Many things like that will happen in the future. They are already in Tantyang, Lashio, Maymyo � they are all Chinese.�

Many gem business, goldmines and jungle suppliers are under Chinese control, locals said, and Chinese nationals have recently leased land in northern Shan state and central Burma to grow watermelons and cucumbers.

Locals said rubber plants and pine trees were now being grown for export to China.

Reporting by Nam Kham Kaew

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