China on Monday said it was “very concerned” about the safety of its citizens in Myanmar where dozens of Chinese factories were attacked and burnt over the weekend amid a bloody crackdown on protesters following a coup in February.
“We wish Myanmar’s authorities can take further relevant and effective measures to guarantee the security of the lives and assets of Chinese companies and personnel,” foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in Beijing.
China “is very concerned about the impact on the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel”, Zhao said, urging Myanmar to take actions to “resolutely avoid a recurrence of such incidents”.
Police and firefighters have been deployed to protect the factories, which are scattered across several industrial zones in Yangon.
He said China was closely watching and “is very concerned about the impact on the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel”.
China urges all parties in Myanmar to keep calm, exercise restraint and resolve disputes through dialogue and negotiation, Zhao said, adding that Chinese citizens in Myanmar should raise their awareness of safety and take precautionary measures.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Myanmar junta imposed martial law in two townships late Sunday after the Chinese embassy asked authorities to guarantee the safety of Chinese investments and citizens after they were attacked earlier in the day, leaving an undisclosed number of injuries.
The orders were later expanded to four more townships in Yangon.
In Beijing, the state-controlled tabloid, Global Times, said at least 32 Chinese companies were burnt, vandalised and looted in industrial areas.
Two Chinese employees have been injured and no fatalities have been reported, with property losses touching 240 million yuan ($36.9 million), Global Times tweeted, citing the local Chinese embassy.
“Several Chinese-invested factories in Myanmar were smashed, looted or burnt by delinquents. We strongly condemn such barbaric acts. We strongly urge the Myanmar side to stop these kinds of crimes, punish the perpetrators and compensate Chinese factories for the losses,” the tabloid said in an article.
Separately, self-ruled Taiwan has advised Taiwanese companies operating in the country to fly the island’s flag and hang signs stating they are from Taiwan to avoid being confused with China, after Chinese-financed factories were set ablaze, a Reuters report said from Taipei.
Though Beijing says it doesn’t interfere in Myanmar’s internal affairs, China is viewed as being supportive of the junta that took power in Myanmar, overthrowing the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.