Rebel clashes subside

MENG PENG, China - Fighting subsided along China's southern border yesterday after days of clashes between Myanmar government troops and ethnic rebels sent up to 30000 refugees streaming into China.

MENG PENG, China - Fighting subsided along China's southern border yesterday after days of clashes between Myanmar government troops and ethnic rebels sent up to 30000 refugees streaming into China.

Some rebels turned their guns over to Chinese authorities and swapped their uniforms for civilian clothes, tired of being out-manned by thousands of Myanmar troops.

"There was no way we would win," former rebel Ri Chenchuan said as he shopped for new clothes.

The clashes have posed a major concern to China and its goal of stability ahead of the sensitive October 1 celebration of its 60th anniversary. At least one person was killed and dozens were injured when a bomb was tossed into China on Saturday, a report said. Beijing has told Myanmar to end the fighting.

The violence also threatens to strain China's close relationship with Myanmar's military junta, which has been trying to consolidate control over several armed ethnic groups along its borders. The junta wants to ensure next year's national elections, its first in nearly 20 years, go smoothly.

An official with the public security bureau in China's Zhenkang county, which oversees the border area, said yesterday there had been no reports of fighting since late Saturday.

Like many Chinese officials, he refused to give his name. - Sapa-AP

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