mandag 15. mars 2021

A child screams in Myanmar … and China pretends not to hear

A terrible scream of pain contorts a little girl’s face and tells the story of the army’s brutal crackdown in Myanmar. Shwe Yote Hlwar, five, is standing beside an open coffin containing the body of her father, Ko Zwe Htet Soe, shot dead by security forces.

Her face is a picture of searing, bottomless grief. Women try to help. But there is no comforting her. Who can explain her dad’s needless killing? Who can say why men in uniform think it’s OK to do such things? Shwe’s agonised scream is that of an entire nation. It echoes around the world. Some hear it, many do not. At the UN security council last week, China, backed by Russia, India and Vietnam, again blocked outright condemnation of last month’s military coup and stymied a UK-authored move towards punitive sanctions.

China’s is the vote that matters most. It has invested billions in Myanmar as part of President Xi Jinping’s imperial Belt and Road plans. This, rather than outrage over the army’s “killing spree”, to quote Amnesty International, determines his policy.