On Wednesday, the news that Burma had sentenced 153 illegal loggers from China to life imprisonment was splashed across Chinese media. The Chinese Embassy in Rangoon verified on the same day that the actual sentence was 20 years in prison, but launched “solemn” representations over punishments it decried as “too heavy”.
The statement was echoed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which demanded that Burma “take all the factors into consideration and properly handle this case”. While the prospects of a successful appeal remains unclear, the sentences could spark a diplomatic dispute between China and Burma and run the risk of a Chinese interference in Burma’s internal affairs.
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