A Chinese Special Economic Zone is deepening conflict in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Resource-rich Ramree Island, on the coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, has remained on the sidelines of recent violence as fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) continues to intensify. But the Myanmar government’s relations with the AA are now increasingly shaped by pressure from Beijing to advance the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a US$1.3 billion Chinese-backed development project based on Ramree.

The Myanmar government and Chinese state-owned CITIC Group are pushing the Kyaukphyu SEZ ahead despite public opposition. There has been limited transparency and inadequate public consultation with communities affected by the project.

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Skylar Lindsay