China concerns over Rohingya repatriation

China has expressed concern over delay in starting repatriation of Rohingya people from Cox’s Bazar to Rakhine in Myanmar.

Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming expressed the concern in a meeting with foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry in Dhaka, said a press release on Sunday.

The foreign minister sought substantive Chinese support for starting a process for sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas to their ancestral home with creation of a congenial atmosphere in the Rakhine state by the Myanmar government.

Momem said that only humanitarian assistance and improvement of living standards were not enough to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

The Chinese ambassador agreed with Momen’s observations, said the press release.

Delay in repatriation of Rohingays would create threat to the entire region, the minister said, adding that a section of Rohingyas had engaged themselves in drug smuggling and at least eight people were killed in clashes between two groups of the members of the community recently.

Incidents of crime have been increasing as the installation of barbed-wire fences around the Rohingya camps are yet to be completed, he said.

Local people are becoming hostile to Rohingyas and aid organisations due to the delay in repatriation, said Momen.

The minister also expressed concern over the mobilisation of troops by Myanmar along the Bangladesh border.

He assured the ambassador that the government would soon bring to justice the killers of the Chinese technician, who was a victim of an incident of snatching in Pirojpur. Two accused have already been arrested for their involvement in the incident, he said.

Momen also requested Jiming for speedy renewal of visas of Bangladeshi students who study in China.

The ambassador assured the minister of speedy renewal of student visas and said that the embassy in Dhaka had already started issuing visas for business people and family reunification.

He handed over to Momen a letter of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi appreciating Bangladesh’s stance admitting that Hang Kong is an internal matter of China.

Momem reiterated Bangladesh’s support to the ‘One China Policy’ of the Chinese government.

China is a part of a tripartite mechanism at the level of foreign ministers, which was installed at the initiative of Wang Yi involving Bangladesh and Myanmar for facilitating return of Rohingyas to Rakhine.

Some 8,60,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by the Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning on August 25, 2017.

The latest Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 1.2 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and the Bangladesh foreign ministry.

Two attempts for starting repatriation failed in 2018 as not a single Rohingya expressed willingness to go back to Myanmar citing lack of citizenship and security reasons.


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