Thousands of Burmese civilians have crossed the border into China
recently, fleeing fighting between Burmese troops and rebels in Burma's
eastern state of Shan.
Media reports quote witnesses as saying
Burmese troops have occupied the city of Laogai in Shan's Kokang
region, which is largely populated by ethnic Chinese.
are leaving out of fears there will be fighting between the troops and
elements of a local opposition militia, the Myanmar Democratic
Alliance, the MNDAA. led by Peng Jiasheng.
The group which has
had a long-term ceasefire with the Burmese military recently split,
with some members agreeing to join the military as part of an ethnic
Chinese media reports say at least 10,000
people have crossed the border into China's southern Yunnan province
in the past three weeks.
Tensions in the region have been on the rise since August 8 when the Burmese government deployed troops in Kokang.
Myanmar Peace and Democracy Front, an alliance of four ethnic groups,
says the military wants to transform the Kokang armed forces into
government-controlled border guards.
Some exiled Burmese
activists say Burma's military leaders are trying to eliminate the
threat posed armed ethnic militias ahead of next year's elections, by
forcing rebel fighters into the government's army.
government has signed ceasefire agreements with ethnic militias but
relations between authorities and the militias have been volatile.
Many Burmese refugees also live along Thailand's border with Burma.
Burma is home to more than 100 ethnic groups.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.