SHEIKH HASINA’S VISIT TO CHINA
Rohingya Muslim crisis: A glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel
For evidently cogent reasons it afforded all and sundry in this country a piece of consoling repose—like a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel—when during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s meeting on 05 July in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the latter agreed that there should be a quick solution to the Rohingya crisis so that the displaced people can go back to their homeland soon. Speaking at the meeting at Diaoyutai State Guest House, the PM said Bangladesh was hosting 1.1 million Rohingyas, which is a big challenge for the country. It has emerged as environmental and security challenges and trafficking problem in particular. “We expect goodwill of the Chinese government and the President so that the displaced Rohingyas can go back,” Hasina said. The two leaders agreed that the Rohingya crisis will have to be solved quickly; it can’t be kept unsolved anymore.
It is appropriately pertinent that New Delhi—the so-called closest friend of Dhaka—never stood beside Bangladesh on the question of Rohingya crisis. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his three-day visit to Yangon expressed “solidarity with the Myanmar government”. [Vide Economic Times. India Times, Sep 09, 2017]. What is more, India supported Suu Kyi government and rejected ‘Bali declaration’, a joint statement by the World Parliamentary Forum in Indonesia, that refered to human rights violation in Myanmar. [ The Hindu September 08, 2017.]
The Rohingya Muslims –– for whom ‘‘there’s no return in sight’’ —- have faced persecution in Myanmar for decades. And yet no violence in their recent history has compared to that which the Myanmar military inflicted in August 2017. In reality, they were fulfilling a long-standing dream of Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalists: the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims, the Human Rights Watch said in its report dated 5 June 2019. The refugees joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who were already in Bangladesh seeking refuge after previous attacks, bringing the total to 1.2 million.
Notwithstanding the fact that concern for minimal public security is the sine qua non of any regime worthy of the name, Myanmar’s de facto Head of State Aung San Suu Kyi, with her blatantly cavalier attitude, continues to preside over ethnic cleansing, indiscriminate slaughter and rape of women—virtual Genocide—of the minority Rohingya Muslims in her country. The BBC reported that till 04 Dec 2017 the number of Rohingya refugees stood at 650,000; and as influx persisted so thousands of refugees more continued to arrive every week. [Vide www .bbc. com/news/ world- asia-42335018: Justin Rowlatt, “Could Aung San Suu Kyi face Rohingya genocide charges?” dated 18 December 2017]. Numerous similar accounts from Rohingya women and girls were recorded which were and possibly still are conspicuous attempts to carry out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims at the very least.
As of now, Suu Kyi is the most despised person on earth, while peoples across the world have universally heaped hatred on her, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has said he would not be surprised if a court one day ruled that acts of “genocide” had been committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, Reuters reported on 18 December 2017. The top UN Human Rights boss since 2014 played central role in the establishment of the International Criminal Court.
There’s no difference in opinion after a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Xi Jinping in Beijing. In response, the Chinese leader said his country had previously worked with Myanmar and Bangladesh in this regard and it would continue to do so. Xi Jinping said their goal is also quick return of the Rohingyas to their homeland. The Rohingya issue was discussed during the dinner also hosted by the Chinese president. “At the meeting, it was agreed that the representatives of the two countries will work together. They’ll also use their goodwill on Myanmar,” Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said.
PM Sheikh Hasina told the Chinese President that the Rohingyas did not want to go back to Myanmar as they were afraid of a recurrence of persecution there. In response, Xi Jinping said there is a very slim possibility of a recurrence of such incidents as there is international attention on it. President Xi Jinping said his country would try as much as possible in this regard as both Bangladesh and Myanmar are its close friends.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of China (CPC) said it would contact the top Myanmar leaders to amicably solve the Rohingya crisis and start the repatriation as soon as possible. CPC Minister for International Affairs Song Tao gave the assurance when he met PM Hasina at Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing. “We’ll contact Myanmar political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to solve the Rohingya problem amicably and so that the repatriation of the first batch of the Rohingyas starts as soon as possible,” he said.
As regards the loan agreements, Sheikh Hasina requested the Chinese president to ease the terms and condition of loan agreements for timely disbursement of fund to expedite the project implementation. Xi Jinping said he would take proper measures in this regard. Hasina said Chinese entrepreneurs can invest in economic zones as her government was setting up 100 economic zones across the country. The Chinese President said they were aware about it and would make all efforts to reduce the trade imbalance. The Chinese side discussed the trade gap issue very rationally rather than arguing that there were not enough products to be imported from Bangladesh to reduce the trade gap, said the foreign secretary.
May good offices of President Xi Jinping find a peaceful speedy solution to the Rohingya Muslim crisis which has posed an enormous economic burden on Bangladesh.