Myanmar women illegally marry, live in Yunnan

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/6 15:58:39

More than 20,000 Myanmar women married to Chinese men and illegally emigrated to Dehong autonomous prefecture in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, since China still lacks the laws or policies to regulate illegal immigration along border towns, local legislators said.

According to a survey conducted by the legislature of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, between 20,000 to 30,000 Myanmar women married Chinese men and live in Dehong without the proper documents, Yu Mayue, director of the Standing Committee of the Dehong People's Congress, told the Global Times on Monday on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress.

"Because our country has no specific policies to deal with such situations, they can't acquire a hukou, or enjoy medical or social security insurance," Yu said, adding that almost all the illegal immigrants live in poverty.

"The local government would like to help them and lift them out of poverty, but their lack of identity papers creates barriers as people without ID or hukou are not entitled to benefits," Yu said. He added that other border towns in Yunnan, including Wenshan, Pu'er and Xishuangbanna, face similar situations. But Dehong is one of the prefectures affected most by illegal immigrants.

In November 2016, Dehong, which borders Myanmar, admitted thousands of Myanmar refugees after fresh conflicts erupted between armed ethnic groups and Myanmar government forces.

"We are pushing for legislation to better handle illegal immigration issues, but it's complicated and requires thorough study. We recommend that our government issue an administrative order first, otherwise the illegal immigrants could create instability," Yu said. He added that 40 to 50 percent of reported crimes in Dehong were caused by Myanmar workers. He added some were HIV carriers or had drug problems.

Dehong has a population of 1.28 million. About 150,000 people are ethnic Jingpo, an ethnic group with the same ancestral roots as Myanmar's Kachin. The Kachin Independence Army is one of the ethnic armed forces that have been fighting government forces for decades.

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