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Ceasefire capitalism: military–private partnerships, resource concessions and military–state building in the Burma–China borderlands

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Since ceasefire agreements were signed between the Burmese military government and ethnic political groups in the Burma–China borderlands in the early 1990s, violent waves of counterinsurgency development have replaced warfare to target politically-suspect, resource-rich, ethnic populated borderlands. The Burmese regime allocates land concessions in ceasefire zones as an explicit postwar military strategy to govern land and populations to produce regulated, legible, militarized territory. Tracing the relationship of military–state formation, land control andsecuritization, and primitive accumulation in the Burma–China borderlands uncovers the forces of what I am calling ‘ceasefire capitalism’. This study examines these processes of Burmese military–state building over the past decade in resource-rich ethnic ceasefire zones along the Yunnan, China border. I will illustrate this contemporary and violent military–state formation process with two case studies focusing on northern Burma: logging and redirected timber trade flows, and Chinese rubber plantations as part of China's opium substitution program.
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Keywords: Burma; ceasefires; counterinsurgency development; land concessions; military territorialization

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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