Wall Street Journal Myanmar’s jailing of scores of Chinese allegedly caught illegally logging is deepening a rift between Beijing and Yangon, and highlighting the stress on the country’s forests from China’s demand for wood. By Te-Ping Chen
'This week, a court in Myitkyina, the capital of the Kachin state,
sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment after they were
found involved in illegal logging, according to the Myanmar government.
The Chinese foreign ministry said Wednesday that it lodged a diplomatic
protest with Yangon over the ruling and urged the country to “take
China’s concerns seriously, take all the factors into account and
properly handle this case.”
'Ye Htut, Myanmar presidential
spokesman, said that the government’s action is consistent with the law
and that the loggers have the right to appeal the sentences. A Myanmar
defense lawyer said life sentences in Myanmar are typically treated as
20- to 25-year terms.
'Previously close relations between Myanmar
and China have become strained over a range of issues, from Yangon’s
attempts to lessen economic dependence on China to Beijing’s anger this
year over border fighting that spilled into Chinese territory. Concerns
in Myanmar about the plunder of resources are part of the stress.'