Exclusive: 32 Chinese factories in Yangon have been attacked with two employees injured: Embassy
Published: Mar 15, 2021 03:43 PM

Video: courtesty of a Chinese businessman

A total of 32 Chinese-invested factories have been vandalized in the attacks in Yangon, Myanmar, with property losses reaching 240 million yuan ($36.89 million), the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar told the Global Times on Monday.

Two Chinese employees were injured in the attacks with no fatalities, the embassy said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the situation and hoped Myanmar will take measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens.

Chinese businessmen in Yangon are planning to suspend their business and jointly protect themselves following the vicious attacks on Sunday. No new attacks have occurred after "martial law" was declared in the two townships where the factories were vandalized, according to Chinese people there.

Myanmar has sent additional police and firefighters to the affected area in Yangon to strengthen security, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press conference Monday.

When asked about whether China will evacuate nationals in Myanmar, Zhao said China is closely following the situation and is very concerned about the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel. China hopes Myanmar will take measures to protect their safety, he said.

Roads from downtown Yangon to Hlaing Thar Yar, one of the two townships that have seen factories attacked and burnt on Sunday, were partially paralyzed, with ashes, small fires and roadblocks frequently seen on Monday. 

A Chinese businessman in Yangon told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that he had to make several detours to get to the industrial zone from downtown.

Lu Tong, a Chinese citizen in Yangon, told the Global Times on Monday that he stayed in the Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zone on Monday morning and did not dare go outside fearing Sunday's clashes, but so far no heavy smoke or gunshots occurred after martial law was imposed in the region.

He said that the Myanmar military has taken control of the industrial zone, but did not send troops to protect specific Chinese factories.

Myanmar's junta declared "full martial law" late on Sunday in parts of Yangon after Chinese factories were damaged, Bloomberg reported. 

The martial law order applies to the Hlaing Thar Yar and Shwe Pyi Thar townships. Military operations were exercised "to ensure safety, the rule of law and peace more effectively," according to Bloomberg.

A Yangon-based Chinese state-owned enterprise employee, who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Monday that many labor-intensive companies in the city are now planning to join together to protect themselves and are in active communication with the embassy.

"Many Chinese companies were overly optimistic about the situation here before, but this time they will make up their minds to impose a temporary shutdown. Wait and see," he said, adding that the company where he works has not been affected yet.

A Yangon-based businessman who is in charge of the Commercial Association of East China's Zhejiang Province in Myanmar also expressed his worries after one of the garment companies affiliated to his association got burnt Sunday night.

"I am afraid that there might be more serious violent activities today," he said.

He told the Global Times that the arsonists seemed to be very organized and threatening. Furthermore, it is hard for Chinese people in the country to communicate with each other effectively due to local martial law and poor internet connection.

The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar on Sunday urged authorities in Myanmar to take effective measures to stop the violence and punish the perpetrators, and issued a safety warning to Chinese companies and nationals in the country.