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Taiwanese firms fly Taiwan flags to avoid confusion with Chinese plants in Myanmar

TECO tells Taiwanese factories to fly Taiwan flag to avoid being mistaken for Chinese firms in Myanmar

(flickr, Jason Ma image)

(flickr, Jason Ma image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid attacks on Chinese-owned factories in Myanmar, Taiwan's representative office in the country has told Taiwanese companies to fly the Taiwan flag to distinguish them from Chinese companies.

China's state-run mouthpiece CGTN on Monday (March 15) reported that two workers were injured after several Chinese-financed factories in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingthaya were vandalized and set ablaze on Sunday (March 14). That same day, the Chinese embassy in Myanmar issued a statement in which it urged the ruling junta to "take further effective measures to stop all acts of violence, punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel in Myanmar."

Many democracy activists in Mynamar suspect that China is supporting the military junta behind last month's coup, especially due to their lack of criticism of the regime's violent tactics. The attacks may have been spurred on by a tweet by Burmese politician and founder of Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN), Kyaw Win, in which he warned the military regime that if one civilian was killed "one Chinese factory will become ashes."

At least one Taiwanese company, identified as Tsang Yih Company (昌億公司), was caught up in the chaos with its guardhouse and four company vehicles destroyed. A total of 10 Taiwanese nationals were reportedly trapped inside, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

After receiving notification from the Tsang Yih Company, Taiwan's representative office, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Myanmar immediately contacted the company's employees to express their concern about the unfortunate incident. It also contacted the Myanmar government to send personnel to the company to come to their aid.

Myanmar military and police entered the zone on Sunday evening and declared martial law. The protesters who had surrounded the factories have dispersed, and the 10 Taiwanese employees are all now safe.

They are currently staying in the factory and waiting for the situation to stabilize. In addition, the representative office has located a safe hotel for them to stay in.

According to the representative office in Myanmar, there are several Taiwan-funded factories in the industrial zone. However, the other factories have not been affected by the violence.

After becoming aware of the situation on Sunday afternoon, the representative office immediately notified Taiwanese business owners in Myanmar to post signs that read "Taiwanese Enterprise" and display the Taiwan flag so as to inform local employees and nearby residents.

MOFA and the Myanmar TECO office have pledged to continue to closely monitor the situation and maintain close contact with Taiwanese citizens to provide them with the necessary assistance at any time. Any Taiwanese citizens who encounter an emergency in Myanmar should call the Myanmar TECO office +95-9-257-257-575 or call MOFA's emergency contact center at 0800-085-095.

Updated : 2021-05-07 07:23 GMT+08:00