Over the past couple of weeks the world has been trying to watch what is going on in Tibet. It was the biggest global “guns on streets” story of the month of March.
And now, in a footnote to the Chinese government’s wide-ranging crackdown on dissidents, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) has handed two Tibetan activists back to the Chinese authorities. They were found near the KIO headquarters, at a small town called Laiza, right on the Sino-Burmese frontier. This is the “capital” of Kachin State Special Region – 2, one of the semi-autonomous areas carved out of Burma’s territory after the ceasefires of the late 1980s and early 1990s. With the good roads that cross Yunnan province, it is only hours from the south-eastern parts of Tibetan settlement.
According to a well-placed source, the KIO has a longstanding, reciprocal agreement with the Chinese government to hand over fugitives. In this case, according to my source, the KIO were initially unaware that the two foreigners found in their controlled territory were, in fact, prominent Tibetan political activists. The subsequent deportation highlights many of the difficulties faced by Burma’s small ceasefire groups, such as the KIO, that find themselves wedged against China. For some in the KIO, these Tibetans (and the Chinese demands to return them) must have posed quite a dilemma.
The excellent Kachin News Group website has further details for anybody hoping to learn more about this story.