By Cal Widdall
In a show of lightning-fast diplomacy, Beijing has finally commented on a Chinese civilian murdered by Burmese/Myanmarese soldiers who crossed over the Chinese border two months ago. Lahpai Zau Lawn, an ethnic Kachin (Jingpo) farmer was killed on January 12th, despite being on the Yunnan side of the Sino-Burmese border. His relatives say he was shot at close range, twice in the head and once in the abdomen.
A grisly photo has also been released which shows facial bruising, supporting his family’s claim that he was struck in the face with the butt of a gun before being killed. Others from the man’s village Loi Lung Bum, say that the killing was likely in retaliation for an incident on December 22nd, in which villagers detained two Burmese soldiers trying to steal their food.
Impressively the villagers captured the hungry Burmese conscripts (with some giant mouse-trap like device, we’d assume) and handed them over to Chinese authorities, prompting the Burmese army to seek revenge.
Luckily for the safety of the entire Burmese army (and unluckily for their body bag suppliers), this time they didn’t take revenge on any village containing a mumbling, muscle-bound loner.
The Chinese side lodged solemn representations with the Myanmar side asking it to find out the truth, punish the perpetrators and compensate the bereaved families,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a regular briefing yesterday.
“The Myanmar side said it paid attention to the representations and is stepping up investigations.”
Coincidentally, Beijing’s official confirmation of the incident came just two days after China Daily reported that state-owned China Power Investment Corp. is pushing Myanmar to restart construction of a US$3.6 billion dam in the Southeast Asian nation.
The controversial hydropower project, electricity from which is destined for China, was halted by the Burmese president, Thein Sein, in September following strong public opposition.