China has requested that the Myanmar government protect the safety and legitimate rights of Chinese nationals who were arrested over illegal logging, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Jan 19.
A total of 146 people, including 126 Chinese nationals, were arrested in raids on illegal logging that began Jan 4 in Myanmar’s conflict-stricken northern Kachin State, according to state media reports.
The Myanmar side attaches great importance to China’s concerns and will ensure the proper and humane treatment of the Chinese detainees, Spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news conference.
The Chinese embassy and consulate in Myanmar will pay visits to the detained nationals and provide them with necessary consular assistance, he said.
According to Global Times, hundreds of Chinese citizens were among 2,000 civilians trapped by fighting that started Jan 15 between government troops and the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State, which borders southern China.
The Chinese nationals include jade dealers, gold miners and loggers, the report said.
Hong said the Foreign Ministry is in the process of confirming the situation in northern Myanmar.