China Starts—and Abandons—Construction of Border Wall on Burmese Territory

Using backhoes, iron rods and concrete pillars, Chinese workers started constructing a wall in Muse’s Pangsai sub-township, before withdrawing.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Chinese authorities attempted to build a wall on the Burmese side of the countries’ shared border to block an “illegal road” on Wednesday before withdrawing from the site this morning.

Using backhoes, iron rods and concrete pillars, the Chinese workers started the process of constructing a wall in Muse’s Pangsai sub-township on the China-Burma border. Locals said they started digging on a road near Phai Kawng village, 50 meters inside Burmese territory at about 9 a.m. on September 19.

“Chinese police and workers came together to start digging the earth there. While I was watching, the ward administrator arrived,” said one local eyewitness, who spoke to NMG on the condition of anonymity. “Chinese authorities said that they were building the concrete wall to close an illegal cross-border road near Phai Kawng village. There are many paddy fields owned by local farmers as well as a refugee camp [in the area].”

The current borderline was agreed upon by China and Burma in 1993.

The local source said that after speaking with the Burmese authorities and administrators, the Chinese representatives stopped construction, and on Thursday morning withdrew from Phai Kawng with all of their equipment.

An elder from Phai Kawng said that this type of incident has occurred in the past. He questioned why there was a dispute over which country the land belonged to, saying that locals hold land registration forms issued by the Burmese authorities.

There are more than 60 houses and at least 500 people living in Phai Kawng village in Pangsai, the majority of whom are ethnic Kachin and Shan.