In Burma today, not only is the Chinese government involved in mega projects (such as the oil pipeline to Kunming in Yunnan province), but the Chinese Diaspora runs everything from grocery to retail shops or restaurants in all major cities as well as in remote provincial towns. It is true that China has no problems with human rights violations, labour standards or other ethical issues; in their own country, similar issues are also side tracked to make place for the economic boom.
It is officially estimated that more than one million farmers, businessmen or workers have migrated to Burma during the last 10 years alone. Some say that the official figure should be multiplied by three to be closer to reality. Imagine what would happen if tomorrow Burma became a democratic nation and a nationalist leader would take over the reins of the nation’s destiny. A backlash would certainly happen and most immigrants might be sent back to where they come from. What would happen next? Yunnan province of Western China (from where the migrants originate) would experience unemployment, social unrest and probably riots (let us not forget that China last year witnessed 100,000 riots, big and small, mainly about unemployment and environmental issues).
Read rest of Claude Arpi’s article here.