China Is Making Friends and Influencing People – Joshua Kurlantzick

In US News and World Report, Joshua Kurlantzick looks at China’s efforts in Burma (Myanmar):

For years, China insisted it had a limited role in places like (formerly Burma). It would invest and trade, yes, but not get involved in politics like the United States, which has imposed tough sanctions on the repressive dictatorship. But as China’s stakes grow”it has become one of the biggest investors in ”China’s leaders find they cannot avoid getting more involved. Chinese diplomats publicly complain, for instance, about the regime’s bizarre and costly decision to relocate the capital to a remote, malaria-infested jungle area some 200 miles north of the longtime capital Yangon. And while they hardly regard human rights as a priority, Chinese officials are aware that they risk a backlash if they ignore the protests of exile activists”and even some local residents”that Beijing is backing a regime that imprisons hundreds of political prisoners. [Full text]

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