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Myanmar's Oppressed Minorities (Part 3)

Today we are continuing our look at Myanmar's oppressed ethnicities.  If you missed previous articles, click the following links:

In today's article, we are examining how natural resources and political geography are exacerbating conflicts between Myanmar's military and the ethnic minorities in Kachin State.
Myanmar's Kachin State

Part 3: The Jaded Kachin
Like the neighboring Kokang people, many Kachin are Baptist Christians.  However, their conflict with Myanmar's government has very little to do with religion.  In fact, some reports list Buddhism as Kachin's majority religion.

Kachin is the only Myanmar state to share borders with both China and India.  It is also rich with natural resources, such as jade and timber.  Kachin is possibly home to the world's largest jade deposits. Both its crucial location and plentiful resources make the region extremely important for Myanmar's government.  The Kachin are also fiercely independent; living a predominately autonomous existence for generations.


Increasing its efforts since the mid-20th century, Myanmar's attempts at wrestling away Kachin's autonomy have resulted in only increased bloodshed and hatred.  A string of broken ceasefires, for which both sides blame each other, has only increased mistrust and hatred.  Both have been accused of using landmines and child soldiers.  It is a cycle of abuses with no end in sight.

Some theorize that, in time, China will intervene and even try to control the region.  It would be easy for China to excuse any military action as an attempt to stabilize the region and save the oppressed.  It would also mean China would have access to resources currently within Myanmar's borders.  This fear drives Myanmar's military to more quickly and violently crush the Kachin fighters.  The Kachin, fighting for freedom, do not wish to be overtaken by another nation.  Therefore, they too wish for a speedy end to the conflict.  It is a cycle of increased war atrocities with no peaceful end in sight.

Conclusion
As this series comes to a close, it is important to note that Myanmar recognizes over 150 ethnic groups.  The goal of this series has been to introduce readers to a few of the regime's victims and their struggles.  As we wrap up the series in the next article, I urge readers to continue to learn about the many conflicts plaguing the people of Myanmar.  At the very least, we can hear their stories.

Thanks for reading.

Image attribution: 
Kachin Map:  By TUBS - Own workThis vector graphics image was created with Adobe Illustrator.This file was uploaded with Commonist.This vector image includes elements that have been taken or adapted from this:  Myanmar location map.svg (by Uwe Dedering)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16823969

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