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18 Jul 2021

Pei-Hua Yu and Plato Cheng, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Chinese migrant workers in northern Myanmar forced to return home as Beijing cracks down on cross-border online fraud

"Chinese crackdown on online fraud forces citizens to leave Myanmar’s ‘Little China’", 18 July 2021

[...] Li is among an estimated tens of thousands of Chinese nationals who have been caught up in the sweeping crackdown by local authorities in China on telecoms and internet fraud in areas on the Myanmar side of the border, where gangs that run illegal casinos and scams are known to be based.

Local public security bureaus across China in May initially told suspects who were connected to internet fraud in Myanmar’s border regions – specifically the Muse, Kokang, Wa State and Mong La areas – to return home, but the scope of the recall was soon expanded with new directives and notices emerging on social media by June calling “all nationals in northern Myanmar” to return.

Security officials said anyone who refused to comply would find themselves and their family members restricted from accessing welfare, subsidies and public services in China. [...]

Some 100,000 people in Wa State are Chinese nationals, most of them migrant workers or small business owners in the north, and they make significant contributions to the economy. The territory is dubbed “Little China” or “Shanzhai China”. [...]