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China denies offering cash to lure Rohingya to Myanmar

China never offers money to Rohingya people for them to go back,’ says Chinese Embassy Attaché in Dhaka

DHAKA, Bangladesh (BT) – A Chinese official has denied reports that his country’s government delegation had promised each family of Rohingya refugees $6,000 if they returned to restive Rakhine State in Myanmar, a media report said.

According to BenarNews, an online news service, Chinese Embassy Attaché in Dhaka Vera Hu said: “China never offers money to Rohingya people for them to go back.”

The denial came a few days after the news portal reported that Sun Gouxiang, a Chinese envoy for Asian affairs, met 15 men and 14 women in the southeastern town of Cox’s Bazar on Sunday and offered them $6,000 each if they returned to Rakhine state.

“They asked whether we would return to Myanmar if they gave us $6,000,” the online had quoted Syed Ullah, the secretary general of the advocacy group Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace And Human Rights (ARSPH), as saying.

He said that he rejected the offer saying they will not return unless they were granted citizenship with Rohingya identity. 

According to BenarNews, a Bangladeshi official, who attended the meeting, had also confirmed to the news service that the Chinese delegation had offered some money to help rebuild their homes in Rakhine State.

Responding to the report, Vera said: “It is Myanmar government that would offer the money to Rohingya families who don’t want to accept the houses built by Myanmar in Rakhine, as a fund to rebuild their homes by themselves.”

– Persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

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