Anti-Chinese Riots

   (June 22-29, 1967)
   Popular resentment against black market entrepreneurs of Chinese ancestry became strong in the 1960s as such necessities as rice were increasingly in short supply because of rigid socialist policies. Moreover, in 1967 officials at the Chinese embassy in Rangoon (Yangon) began encouraging proBeijing local Chinese to express their support for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, including the wearing of red armbands and Mao Zedong badges by Chinese students in state-run Burmese schools. This was seen as an affront to Burma's national sovereignty, and badgewearing was prohibited by the authorities on June 19, 1967. Two thousand Chinese students held demonstrations in protest and were attacked by local Burmese in what was probably the worst racial violence since the 1930s. Mobs wrecked Chinese-owned shops and houses in downtown Rangoon and killed around 50 people (official figure; the Chinese government said that several hundred were killed). The Chinese embassy was attacked on June 29, and one official was killed by a Burmese intruder.
   The Ne Win regime proclaimed martial law but failed to apologize for the incidents, causing what was probably the greatest diplomatic crisis in Burma's post-independence history. The killer of the Chinese official was only punished for criminal trespass on embassy property. Not only did the Beijing government withdraw its ambassador, suspend foreign aid programs, and begin broadcasting propaganda calling for the overthrow of "fascist dictator" Ne Win, but it also established a powerful Communist Party of Burma base along the China-Burma border in Shan State. The CPB's "Northeastern Command" soon became the strongest and best-organized insurgency fighting the central government. There is evidence that the Ne Win regime encouraged anti-Chinese violence in order to find an outlet for the people's growing economic discontent, but if this is true, China exacted a heavy price.
   See also China, People's Republic of, Relations with.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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