Building with writing "Thilawa Special Economic Zone" that has closed gates and barriers in the driveway
Hitting a roadblock: development projects like the Japan-sponsored Thilawa Special Economic Zone have struggled following the 2021 coup in Myanmar. Source: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Myanmar.

Do regime differences shape developmental engagement? How China and Japan compete in post-coup Myanmar

The 2021 military coup in Myanmar has left the country significantly isolated on the world stage. Politically, foreign governments have avoided recognizing the junta rulers, although quasi-official engagement is still underway. Economically, foreign investments into Myanmar have dropped by 42% from 2021 to 2022, off levels that had already massively decreased since the 2017 Rohingya expulsion. However, despite the international outcry over the new regime’s open warfare against civilians and the escalating violence in Myanmar’s multi-front civil war, both China and Japan have remained engaged in development cooperation, pursuing ambitious projects for economic corridors and special economic zones (SEZs) that were contracted under the deposed civilian government; in the case of China, even some new projects have been launched. 


Image shows barricades using traditional Sarongs as a means of Protest in Myanmar
Traditional sarongs and other “feminine” items have become effective tools in protest. | Photo: Maung Sun via wikimedia commons | CC BY-SA 4.0

Here, There, and Everywhere: Feminist Resistance beyond the “Women, Peace and Security” Agenda in Post-Coup Myanmar

As a landmark in the movement to increase global attention to women’s critical role in participation, protection, prevention, relief and recovery in conflict settings, the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) lend reference power to gender mainstreaming in all issues related to conflict resolution and peace governance – however, they fall short of effectively supporting women’s resistance in Myanmar.


Spinning Top
Despite displeasure, China and Myanmar keep their relations spinning. | Photo: Christophe Hautier on Unsplash | Free Use

China in Post-coup Myanmar – Closer to Recognition, Further from „Pauk-phaw“

At the close of 2021 China remains one of the few foreign partners for Myanmar. Amid ongoing public resistance to the junta and violent protest suppression, Beijing and the new regime in Naypyidaw are looking for a new mode of mutually beneficial coexistence. The junta tries to buy China’s support and recognition through new bilateral projects, while China aims to create a safety net for its long-term interests in the country.


Bewaffnete Bereitschaftspolizei in der Nähe von Demonstranten in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, am 8. Februar 2021. Die Spannung in den Auseinandersetzungen zwischen den Behörden und den Demonstranten gegen den Putsch in Myanmar kochte über, als die Polizei einen Wasserwerfer auf friedliche Demonstranten in der Hauptstadt Naypyitaw abfeuerte (Foto: picture alliance/AP Photo).

Myanmars „Veto-Coup“ 2021: ein Interpretationsversuch

Militärische „Veto-Coups“ kamen in der Vergangenheit in den Staaten öfters vor, in denen die Streitkräfte eine führende gesellschaftliche Rolle einnehmen. In Südostasien spielt das Militär diese herausgehobene Rolle in Myanmar und Thailand – beide Staaten haben Erfahrungen mit Staatsstreichen gemacht. Am 1. Februar 2021 putschte in Myanmar erneut das Militär. Da die Armee des Landes enge und lange zurückreichende Verbindungen zur Armee Thailands hat und beide Armeen eine Tendenz zu Putschen haben, stellt sich die Frage, inwiefern der Staatsstreich vom Februar 2021 aus der Geschichte der Putsch(versuche) auf dem südostasiatischen Festland erklärt werden kann. Folgt Myanmar dem thailändischen Vorbild?


Photo: © picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS | STR)

China in transitionary Myanmar. Challenging paths to democratization and peace

The recent military coup in Myanmar reversed a decade-long experiment towards incremental political liberalization. At the same time, it also brought China’s engagement there back into the spotlight, and initial Chinese reactions led to suspicions that Beijing had welcomed or even aided the return to military rule. However, the reality of China’s role in Myanmar’s democratic transition and simultaneous peace process is far more complicated, and instructive for its overall engagement in conflict societies.


Armed riot police are seen near protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. Tension in the confrontations between the authorities and demonstrators against last week's coup in Myanmar boiled over Monday, as police fired a water cannon at peaceful protesters in the capital Naypyitaw (Photo: picture alliance/AP Photo).

Interpreting Myanmar’s 2021 „Veto“ Coup d’etat

Military “Veto” Coups have been prominent in countries where armed forces have played leading roles in society. In Southeast Asia, militaries have been prominent in Myanmar and Thailand, and the two countries have experienced their fair share of coups. The latest putsch occurred on February 1, 2021 in Myanmar. With Myanmar’s military having had a long and close relationship with Thailand’s armed forces, and both countries’ militaries prone to staging coups, one wonders to what extent Myanmar’s 2021 putsch can be explained in the context of the history of coups in mainland Southeast Asia. Does Myanmar follow the Thai model?


Myanmar security presence in IDP camps, Rakhine State, Myanmar, 31 July 2012. | Photo: Bernard Jaspers-Fajer EU/ECHO; EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid; Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Hate speech in the context of mass atrocity crimes: How social media platforms help and hinder international criminal investigations

The May 2020 arrest of Félicien Kabuga brought an end to a manhunt spanning 26 years and two continents. The capture of the elusive alleged financier of the infamous RTLM hate speech radio station shows the importance of documenting hate speech for court proceedings if and when fugitives are eventually arrested. Today, extremist hate and atrocity speech in the context of genocide and war crimes takes place and is spread online. However, social media platforms have been slow to respond to and document it, and to cooperate with international authorities in doing so.