China calls for end to fighting after Myanmar fire kills 19

Stray rockets and bullets originating from Myanmar crossed into China over the weekend, after rebel forces targeted military outposts in Myanmar, killing 19 people and injuring 27.

Police officers drag a protester after the crackdown over a demonstration demanding peace in Yangon, Myanmar on Saturday. Photo by Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE
Police officers drag a protester after the crackdown over a demonstration demanding peace in Yangon, Myanmar on Saturday. Photo by Lynn Bo Bo/EPA-EFE

The Chinese government condemned the conflict on Monday and warned against fighting that could disrupt civilian life in both countries.

The battles yielded at least two Chinese casualties, a development that may have prompted the stern warning from Beijing.

“China demands the parties to the conflict stop the firing immediately, take all measures to prevent further escalation of the situation…and prevent incidents that sabotage the peace and stability in the China-Myanmar border region,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Monday.

China may also be preparing to handle refugees fleeing the fighting at the border.

State tabloid Global Times reported more than 300 refugees had escaped to China recently.

More than 100 rebels in Myanmar attacked police stations and casinos in Muse township, in Myanmar’s Shan state, according to Xinhua.

The forces include members of the armed ethnic Ta’ang National Liberation Army and members of the Kachin Independence Army, the Myanmar Times reported.

U Zaw Htay, a spokesman for Myanmar’s president, said the attacks on civilians is terrorism, while the TNLA said the attack on casinos is to target the drug trade and gambling.

The KIA is being targeted by Myanmar’s military.

The Guardian reported Sunday the KIA is “unwilling to lay down arms while the military bombs Kachin villages.”

Myanmar’s military wants control of Kachin state because it is home to amber and jade mines, according to the report.

The U.N. has said the attacks on Kachin villages “must stop immediately.”

“Innocent civilians are being killed and injured and hundreds of families are now fleeing for their lives,” Yanghee Lee said.

By Elizabeth Shim