Representatives of Chinese news media organisations who were allowed to gather first-hand news and information in northern Rakhine State said that after their reporting trip, they agreed that the situation in western Myanmar is complicated and will take a long time to resolve. The journalists also said there were no restrictions placed on them as far as what questions could be asked or who they could talk to.
The following are excerpts from interviews with members of the Chinese media who visited and reported on Thursday and Friday from the conflict areas in Maungtaw, Rakhine State, where terrorist attacks occurred on 25 August.
Alice Lau, Director of the News Department, Phoenix TV, Hong Kong: During the trip to Maungtaw, we met with the Islamic community, the local Rakhine ethnic community and the Hindu minority there. We also visited the areas which were destroyed in fire and IDP camps. At the camps, we found ethnic Rakhine and Hindu people. We found that the number of Buddhists are higher than others at the camps.
As a journalist, I will report what I saw and heard during the trip without bias.
Before the trip to Maungtaw, I observed the reports of western media, eastern media and local media in Myanmar on Rakhine issue. As State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said, the Rakhine issue is very complicated. I accepted that this issue needs space and time to be solved. I really want to see peace in northern Rakhine.
We welcomed the State Counsellor’s decision to allow international media to visit the conflict areas in northern Rakhine because it would help all to distinguish right and wrong news.
During our trip, we could get access freely to information and local authorities also assisted us in collecting information.
To solve this issue, Myanmar needs to walk a long way, because the Rakhine issue is very complicated.
Sun Guangyong, Chief Correspondent, The Peoples Daily: We also visited Islamic villages living at peace and IDP camps where ethnic Rakhine villagers and Hindu villagers are being sheltered. We also visited nearly all places in conflict areas in Maungtaw.
There were no limitations on us regarding collecting information and that satisfied us. We also visited Nay Pyi Taw and collected information regarding the Rakhine issue. When we cover an issue, just focusing on one area is not acceptable, and we should approach an issue in a country from all corners.