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Examining the 2024 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report: Progress over Politics

Examining the 2024 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report: Progress over Politics

Monday, July 8, 2024

Jason Tower, country director for the Burma program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, testified on July 9, 2024, before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations’ hearing on “Examining the 2024 Annual Trafficking in Persons Report: Progress over Politics.”

Type: Congressional Testimony

Democracy & GovernanceEconomicsGlobal PolicyHuman Rights

China Forces Myanmar Scam Syndicates to Move to Thai Border

China Forces Myanmar Scam Syndicates to Move to Thai Border

Monday, April 22, 2024

While Myanmar has long been the chief venue for the criminal operations of Chinese-origin gangs in Southeast Asia, these organizations have always stood ready to move — internally or across borders — if their sources of protection dissolved. In recent months, the organized crime kingpins have once again faced a fraying safety net. This time, the cause is the weakening of Myanmar’s corrupt coup regime in the face of a rising, multi-front revolution and, perhaps more importantly, an aggressive push by China’s law enforcement authorities.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

Myanmar’s Collapsing Military Creates a Crisis on China’s Border

Myanmar’s Collapsing Military Creates a Crisis on China’s Border

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Operation 1027 — an offensive launched in October 2023 by an alliance of three ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) against the military junta in Myanmar — has disrupted hundreds of forced labor scam syndicates operating under the protection of Myanmar’s army, dented the army’s image of invincibility and decimated the lucrative China-Myanmar border trade. A second operation launched on March 7 by another EAO in Kachin State has compounded China’s economic woes by adding to the impact on trade.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

Three Years After Coup, Myanmar’s Generals Face an Existential Crisis

Three Years After Coup, Myanmar’s Generals Face an Existential Crisis

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Three years after Myanmar’s military overthrew the country’s democratically elected government, the ruling generals — having suffered humiliating battlefield defeats — face an existential crisis. Victories by the diverse ranks of Myanmar’s resistance have invigorated their morale and they are tightening battlefield coordination despite slow progress toward political consensus. The military, meanwhile, is short of manpower and controls a shrinking percentage of the nation.

Type: AnalysisQuestion and Answer

Global Policy

Jason Tower on China’s Growing Influence in Myanmar

Jason Tower on China’s Growing Influence in Myanmar

Thursday, January 18, 2024

A string of recent defeats for Myanmar’s junta has “re-energized the resistance across the country,” says USIP’s Jason Tower. But as China takes a more involved approach to the conflict, there are concerns that “growing Chinese influence might pose more of a challenge to a free and open Indo-Pacific in the future.”

Type: Podcast

China’s Influence Increases amid Myanmar’s Instability

China’s Influence Increases amid Myanmar’s Instability

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Operation 1027 in Myanmar’s northern Shan State has advanced China’s quest to eradicate forced labor scam compounds on its border. However, it has also disrupted the lucrative China-Myanmar border trade and triggered a countrywide attack by resistance forces that has dealt the junta unprecedented battlefield losses. Beijing is concerned that its southwestern provinces will experience economic hardship with the loss of border trade, and that continuing hostilities may affect these provinces’ energy security. The Myanmar army’s desperate request for Chinese help to deal with the fallout from Operation 1027 has probably generated further concern in China that the military may be on the brink of defeat.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

Myanmar’s Junta Is Losing Control of Its Border with China

Myanmar’s Junta Is Losing Control of Its Border with China

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Myanmar’s military has lost control of substantial sections of the country’s border with China in recent days, as forces fighting the coup regime coordinate their attacks in an unprecedented way. The immediate aim of the combined offensive was to shut down lucrative criminal activity in enclaves along the Chinese frontier that are run by military-sponsored border guard forces. Significantly, in doing so, the insurgents took advantage of China’s recent efforts to stifle scams run from the enclaves that target Chinese citizens. This could mark a turning point in the national struggle against military rule, one that would pose serious new challenges to the anti-coup leadership, the international community and Myanmar’s neighbors.

Type: Analysis

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Myanmar’s Crisis Looms Over the ASEAN Summit

Myanmar’s Crisis Looms Over the ASEAN Summit

Thursday, September 7, 2023

This week, Indonesia hosted the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and its related meetings with dialogue partners, including the East Asia Summit, in Jakarta. The three-day affair was bogged down by the bloc’s continued inability to sort through internal divisions over member-state Myanmar’s 2021 military coup, which has allowed the ruling junta’s violence and support for criminal enterprises to fester into transnational problems. Meanwhile, the absence of several leaders from major ASEAN partners, such as China’s Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden, further dampened proceedings.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy

Four Takeaways from the ASEAN Summit

Four Takeaways from the ASEAN Summit

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gathered last week in Jakarta, with a range of critical challenges to address. Chief among those issues was the crisis in member state Myanmar, which the bloc is divided on how to approach. China’s aggressive activities in the South China Sea were also a key topic at the summit, with Beijing and ASEAN pledging to reach an agreement on a long-stalled non-binding code of conduct.

Type: Analysis

Global Policy