Burma: Mandalay gemstone brawl a sign of increasing anti-Chinese sentimentBy Zin Linn Jun 28, 2011 1:25AM UTC
A jade-and-gem market in Burma’s second city of Mandalay was shut down Monday morning after a brawl broke out between Chinese and Burmese merchants over a deal that turned sour.
The problem began on Monday morning after Chinese buyers had seemingly settled to purchase a jade-stone from a jewelry shop owned by a Burmese trader in Maha Aung Myay Township. According to a local source, the Chinese buyers had agreed a price of around US$5,000 for the jade-stone. However when they came back to collect the jade piece, the Burmese seller replied to them that the jade had been sold to another client.
The first Chinese buyer was enraged and allegedly quarreled with the Burmese jade dealer. The Chinese buyer bodily battered the Burmese vendor. As reported by the Democratic Voice of Burma, police arrived at the scene and detained five Chinese, including the one who allegedly hit the Burmese gem seller.
An crowd of Burmese inhabitants encircled the Chinese, but the police were on hand to control the situation.
“Other Burmese traders nearby got involved and they surrounded the Chinese merchants’ office for about one hour,” an eye-witness of Mandalay’s Mahaaungmyay township told DVB.
“About 100 police and security forces arrived and took them to the police station.”
There was a similar incident last month at the same market when a Burmese trader punched a Chinese man and he was sentenced to six months in jail.
Burmese people are seriously concerned about Chinese infiltration throughout the country. According to some patriotic Burmese, Mandalay is colonized by China since the city has been economically dominated by Chinese businessmen.
Some estimation said that the ratio of Chinese covered over half of the city’s population. Due to government officials’ corruption, there are thousands of Chinese nationals holding Burmese national identification cards. Even young Burmese people who hunt for jobs are learning Chinese language as a necessity.
Ordinary people are afraid of bigger anti-China demonstrations from such brawls as people are blaming the government for its pro-China policy that supports the regime’s military-based power stronghold.