The embassy official was asked to comment on a video posted online by a Rohingya NGO that showed Chinese delegates meeting with refugees in southeastern Bangladesh, and offering families money to return to their homeland.
Bangladeshi officials and Rohingya leaders confirmed the meeting and the offer to BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, on Tuesday.
However, she clarified, “China never offers money to Rohingya people for them to go back.”
“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 state, as a fund to rebuild their homes by themselves,” she said.
On Thursday, BenarNews could not confirm Hu’s statement. Win Myat Aye, chief of Myanmar’s Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine, Aung Tun Thet, a member of Myanmar’s Rakhine inquiry commission, and a foreign ministry spokesman did not immediately return calls from the Yangon office of
The video of the Chinese delegation was taken when Sun Gouxiang, China’s special envoy for Asian Affairs, arrived at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on March 3. During his visit, the diplomat met with 29 refugees, including 14 women.
A Bangladeshi official and Rohingya leaders who attended the meeting confirmed to BenarNews that the delegation had offered each family up to USD $6,000 to help the refugees rebuild their homes in Rakhine state.
“They asked us whether we would go back if they gave us five thousand to six thousand dollars,” Syed Ullah, secretary-general of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH), an NGO, told BenarNews.
At least 200,000 homes would be constructed in Myanmar to accommodate the returning refugees, the Bangladesh official, who requested anonymity, told BenarNews.