Withforeignpressbannedfromenteringthecountry,andaninternetblackoutinplace,thedetailsoftherecentuprisinginBurmaareuncertain。

Butaftertendaysofever-braverdefiance,Burma’s“incipientpopularrevolt”–sparkedbyasharpriseinfuelandfoodpriceslastmonth–appearstobeinretreat,saidTheIndependent。

BackinAugust,fearsthattherulingmilitaryjuntawouldexerciseitsauthorityinasimilarfashionto1988(when3,000studentsandmonkswerekilled)keptpeopleaway,buttheranksofdemonstratingmonksandtheirsupportersgrewrapidly,endinginthreedaysofviolencelastweek,whenabrutalcrackdownkilledupto200。

SincethenBurmahasonceagainbeensealedoff,withtelephonelinescutandinternetandmobile-phonesignalsblocked。

Thejunta’scrackdownhashandedChinaa“foreignpolicydilemma”,saidRosemaryRighterinTheTimes。

Chinahasinfluencethatitisnowunder“intenseinternationalpressuretouse”,yetforalltheirlip-servicetodemocracy,China’sleaders“havenottheremotestinterestinanoutcomethatmightencourageChina’sowndemocracyactivists“。

Instead,ChinacontinuestoinsistthatitdoesnotinterveneinBurma’sinternalaffairs–aloadof“hogwash”,giventhatBurmaispracticallyaChineseprovince。

ChinasellsBurmacheapmilitaryhardware,plundersitsnaturalresourcesandinvestsheavilyinitsinfrastructure。

Chinaissufficientlyawareofthedisgusttheregimeinspirestohedgeitsbets,meetingwithexileoppositiongroupsandevenhalf-heartedlysupportingthereleaseofBurma’s“greatfigureheadoffreedom”,AungSanSuuKyi,butsolongasIndiaandRussia“playsoftballwiththejunta“,Beijinghasnoneedformoredrasticaction。