border review | 3 February 2012

Rebels, Resources, Religion

It is sometimes difficult to follow and make sense of the events in the conflict between the Kachin army and government troops in northern Burma. The Democratic Voice of Burma reports that

Burmese soldiers have been withdrawn from conflict zones in Kachin state as both sides push for ceasefire talks, but reports from nearby Shan state suggest extra battalions have been deployed to guard the lucrative China-backed Shwe pipeline.

After the decision to halt construction of the Mytsone dam, the Shwe oil and gas pipelines is the most important piece of Chinese investment in Burma. The two pipelines are currently under construction and the first gas is expected to flow in April 2013. According to the report, the project will eventually account for around 6 percent of China’s total energy needs.

ChinaAID, a US-based Christian NGO, reports that around 40,000 refugees from the conflict zone have crossed the border to Yunnan. The NGO cites a pastor:

For many years, Burmese Christians who do business and have relatives in Yingjiang have regularly attended our church services.  And brothers and sisters here also frequently travel to Burma to visit relatives and friends. In fact, we and they are as close as flesh and blood.

ChinaAID calls out to “to brothers and sisters in China and overseas” for prayers and financial assistance.

At the same time, the Yunnan International Power Investment Co. invests in a new church, as Pal Nyiri notes in his blog:

Yunnan International Power Investment Co., a daughter of China State Grid, inaugurated a Baptist church at the resettlement village built for villagers resettled from the site of the now-suspended Myitsone Dam. Does that mean that those already resettled will stay where they are?

Rebels, (Christian) religion, and (energy) resources – an all important triangle.