China has forced refugees back to Myanmar conflict zone: group
By Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have forced back into Myanmar some ethnic Kachin refugees who have fled across the border to escape civil war, and China is denying basic care to many who remain, a human rights group said on Tuesday.
Myanmar's government is in talks with autonomy-seeking Kachin rebels, and more than a dozen other ethnic minority rebel groups, to try to end all its decades-old conflicts.
But despite several rounds of negotiations, the conflict in Myanmar's northernmost Kachin state has not ended.
The fighting, which flared up in the middle of 2011 after a 17-year truce, has pushed up to 10,000 people to seek refuge across the border in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said many of these people had little access to proper sanitation, shelter, healthcare or schools for their children.
Others had been detained, refused entry to China or even forced back into the conflict zone in their country, also known as Burma, the rights group said in a report.
"The Chinese government has generally tolerated Kachin refugees staying in Yunnan, but now needs to meet its international legal obligations to ensure refugees are not returned and that their basic needs are met," said Sophie Richardson, the group's China director.
"China has no legitimate reason to push them back to Burma or to leave them without food and shelter." Continued...