China must refrain from playing a ‘double standard’ role in the Rohingya crisis
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Myanmar last Friday--prior to the decision of International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Rohingya Genocide, expected to be delivered today. Dozens of treaties have been signed between China and Myanmar, strengthening bilateral relations but not a possible globally acceptable solution to end the Rohingya crisis.
However, China has a crucial role to play about the Rohingya crisis erupting in 2017 in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The country is a mediator on the issue since both Bangladesh and Myanmar maintain a close relation with the country, and also china is the biggest Asian power. Moreover, these two countries are associated with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
Unfortunately, China has been playing double standard by seeking Rohingya repatriation and defending Myanmar simultaneously. The country is defending Myanmar in the international forums and assemblies. It is obvious that crime against humanity and war crime have been committed by Myanmar army on Rohingya civilians. Ironically, China is searching for economic solution for the crisis--stressing on infrastructure and overall economic development in Rakhine--instead of resolving political and humanitarian issues. And that's why China is very ardent to start Rohingya repatriation as early as possible, since a stable and peaceful environment is required to invest in that region.
Rather appallingly, China is utterly phlegmatic about Rohingyas' safety and security matters in Myanmar and their right to citizenship. International community and Bangladesh regard these two criteria as the basic requirement regarding Rohingya repatriation which is doggedly refused by Myanmar.
China, in fact, is taking the advantage of the turmoil to push forward its geopolitical objectives, outsmarting India in the Bay of Bengal region, in the name of mediation. In order to uphold its own interests, in the last two years Chinese officials visited both Bangladesh and Myanmar for several times, brokered three meetings between the two countries, made multiple visits in the refugee camps while inspiring the ousted minority community members to go back to Myanmar.
But China never took initiatives in favour of the refugees' safety and lawful right to citizenship, let alone pressurise Myanmar on the issue. Despite vulnerable condition of the remaining Rohingyas in Myanmar, China's urge of Rohingya repatriation without the guarantee of safety and right of citizenship has now raised a big question.
Our expectation, China should not only move by considering its economic and geopolitical losses and gains but also consider the humanitarian parameters equally. We the peace loving people want China to responsibly play an active role of a sincere mediator and not an opportunist, where the rights of Rohingya victims will get the top priority.