Booming Chinese Demand For Jade Fuels Armed Conflict And Entrenched Corruption In Myanmar

From the garden deck of his office, Yup Zau Hkawng looks over one of the greener cities in Asia. Myitkyina is the capital of Myanmar’s Kachin State, its wide boulevards lined with trees. The sleepy town boasts a bustling downtown market painted vivid green, just a few blocks from the modest but charming central library, […]

Myanmar a geopolitical battleground for China and US

Myanmar will continue to be a geopolitical battleground for China and the United States as long as the civil war between its government and ethnic rebels persists, according to a commentary from the Beijing-based Sina Military. The ongoing strife in Myanmar, which has never really stopped in the last 60 years, is not merely an […]

Cutting down Myanmar’s forests a hard knock life for Chinese

“Dangerous places hold a lot of opportunity, so everyone wants to get a piece of the action,” said Liu Wei (pseudonym) in an attempt to explain why he goes logging in northern Myanmar, in an interview with the Chinese-language Beijing News. The local militia grant them permission but logging activities are forbidden by the central […]

Over 100 foreigners arrested for illegal logging in Myanmar

More than 100 foreigners, most of them Chinese, were arrested in northern Myanmar in a crackdown on illegal logging. The wire news agency quoted the army-run Myawaddy newspaper as reporting that a total of 142 people, including 102 foreigners, were arrested during a military operation against logging in restive Kachin state between January 2-4. Documents […]

Yangon bomb accused tells court he faced death threats

A man charged with allegedly carrying out bombings in Yangon in October 2013 has told a court he was told he would be killed if he didn’t plant the devices. Saw Myint Lwin is accused of placing bombs at Western Park Ruby restaurant in Ahlone township and Traders Hotel on Sule Pagoda Road. While the […]

Security a Concern as Jade Mining Set to Resume in Hpakant

YANGON — Recent fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township has raised security concerns, with jade mining operations set to resume in the area next month. Large-scale mining in the jade-rich hills of Hpakant was suspended in 2012, shortly after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down and conflict erupted between the […]

The smuggled stone that was once more precious than gold

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is one of the world’s largest Jade producers – but with trade bound by international sanctions, many of the precious gemstones are smuggled out of the country. At first, I think it’s a waterfall. A wave of liquid sound comes towards me over the brackish waters of the Irrawaddy River. […]

Jade Mines to Resume Operations in Kachin State: Burmese Govt

YANGON — In northern Myanmar, where the vast majority of the world’s jade is produced, mining companies will soon be allowed to resume operations, following a two-year hiatus due to armed conflicts. The Ministry of Mines announced Tuesday that small- and large-scale miners can return September 1 to the resource-rich Kachin State. Mining operations were […]

Jade Emporium Sales Soar to $3.4Bln

YANGON — Jade sales at Myanmar’s major gems emporium held in Naypyidaw last week have surpassed expectations and reached about 2.6 billion euro (US $3.4 billion), up from about 2 billion euro ($2.6 billion) last year, a Ministry of Mines official said. A senior official at Ministry’s Myanma Gems Enterprise told The Irrawaddy that some […]

Myanmar clunkers ‘scrapped’ to make room for new cars

Automakers are seeking pole position in possibly one of the world’s fastest growing markets for new and used cars. YANGON — Mr Mike Shwe Hlaing has a lot full of used SUVs and a potentially huge market to sell them to if Myanmar manages to spread some of the affluence blooming in its biggest city […]