Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s first visit to China is sparking conversations and interest online, but Chinese state media and officials continue to provide very little information about the trip.
After meetings in Beijing, the communist party-backed Beijing Youth Daily reports Aung San Suu Kyi will also make stops in Shanghai and Yunnan, the southern province that shares a long porous border with Myanmar. For months, ethnic rebels in the north of Myanmar have been fighting with the Burmese military there and at times the conflict has spilled across the border.
In one case, stray bombs from Myanmar’s military accidentally killed five Chinese farmers.
According to the Beijing Youth Daily, the visit will also include a range of cultural exchanges. The report did not elaborate.
On Thursday, Myanmar's best known political leader held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The meeting is not only important for China, but for Aung San Suu Kyi as well, said Xiamen University political scientist Fan Hongwei.
“Gaining China's support and developing some trust and understanding with Chinese leaders will benefit Aung San Suu Kyi's political development in Myanmar,” Fan said.
Extensive multimedia coverage
Wang Yi, a leading Chinese news website, is giving the trip extensive multimedia coverage. At one point the site’s phone app had a section solely for Aung San Suu Kyi with a photograph and accompanying music. The photo carried her name and the words: "Lady, Prisoner, Dissident."
By Thursday, the photo appeared but the music had apparently been removed.
According to the China Digital Times, government censors have ordered that that there should be no coverage of the visit. By midday Thursday, the second day of her visit, Aung San Suu Kyi's name was already one of the top 10 censored phrases, according to Freeweibo.com.
Low key arrival
Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon, but it was not until later in the evening that state media confirmed she had met with a senior Communist Party official, Wang Jiarui. When she arrived at the airport, she quickly got into her car and her motorcade departed.
There were very few details in the report. According to a Xinhua report, Aung San Suu Kyi and Wang “exchanged views on relations between the two parties.” Wang is the head of the Communist Party of China's international department.