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Burma and Red China

September 13, 1967

Report Outline
Trouble at the Back Door of China
Background of Burma's Independence
Burma's Postwar Struggle for Survival

Trouble at the Back Door of China

No neighbor of Red China has tried harder than Burma to maintain good relations with Peking. Yet the military government of Burma has been subjected since last June to almost daily abuse from Peking and to threats that the Chinese may supply Burmese Communists with arms. The main thrust of Communist guerrilla activity in Burma was blunted in the early 1950s but never stamped out entirely. The government has to guard now not only against a renewal of that insurgency in force but also against further inroads of tribal guerrilla bands. The latter claim to control more than one-third of the Burmese countryside.

A leader of the outlawed Burmese Communist Party, speaking in Peking on July 5, called for resumption of the “war of liberation” in Burma. Hsinhua, Communist China's news agency, quoted him as saying that U. S. imperialism was worried that Burma would become another Viet Nam in two or three years. A western newsman in Peking has commented that the speech by Thakin Ba Tein Tin, first vice chairman of the Burmese Communist Party, “marked the beginning of a new and significant period” in the relations of Tin's group with Peking. Until recently Peking had given Burmese communism little encouragement, apparently in appreciation of good will expressed toward Communist China by the present Burmese government of Gen. Ne Win (pronounced Nay Win) and by his predecessor, U Nu.

But, “like the now-disrupted working relationship that long existed between Hong Kong and Communist China,” China-watcher Tillman Durdin has pointed out, “Sino-Burmese collaboration has become another casualty of Mao Tse-tung's ‘great proletarian revolution.’ This has brought with it a compulsive new Chinese drive to ‘make revolution’ not only in China but all over the world. …The Chinese ethnic group in Burma has been touched by the same fervor.”

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