This is one of the first interventions undertaken by China in humanitarian crisis created by state machineries. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Myanmar and Bangladesh to mediate on the Rohingyas refugee crisis.
The majority Buddhist Myanmar has created 600,000 refugees from its Rakhine state by deploying its security forces to fight so called the Rohingya militancy. The Rohingyas are minority Muslim communities who appear akin to the Bengali people and speak the Bengali language.
The Rohingyas crisis has caught the world’s attention. It has been raised in the UN Security Council, garnered support of the global celebrities, and has secured the backing of the Islamic states. The world body has called it ‘an attempt to annihilate’ the community.
Chinese diplomacy seems working in Buddhist Myanmar and Islamic Bangladesh. Wang has proposed three steps modus operandi to derive at an ‘acceptable’ solution. He has dubbed the Rohingya Crisis as ‘Rakhine state issue’ which can be addressed with economic development. Bangladesh and Myanmar have appreciated the Chinese initiative.
The Lhotsampa issue in Bhutan is similar to those of Rohingyas. Bhutan expelled one-sixth of the country’s population in 1990s and has refused to repatriate till date a single refugee.
Bhutan’s immediate neighbors (India and China) have chosen to keep silence on the plight of Lhotsampa refugees who are Hindus and belong to the minority Nepali community. While some 100,000 refugees are resettled by the western countries, there are some 6500 individuals awaiting repatriation to Bhutan.
It is encouraging to see China taking proactive role at its immediate neighborhood though the region is embroiled with contradictions and obsessed with ‘real politics’!