China has asked Myanmar to take effective measures to protect Chinese citizens and investors after a Chinese garment factory in Yangon was targeted on Thursday by strikers who damaged property, stole personal belongings and prevented some workers from leaving.
Police have arrested five suspects who allegedly instigated the incident, the Chinese embassy said, adding that Chinese workers, who were inside the besieged factory, have been freed.
Hundreds of striking workers from the factory, as well as others, attacked the factory on Thursday morning, damaging the plant, taking away Chinese staff's possessions and restricting their movement, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Seven Chinese workers were trapped during the incident, according to reports.
The Chinese embassy and police worked together to secure their release in the afternoon, the embassy said on Friday.
The embassy also said it is negotiating with Myanmar and has requested that it take effective measures to restore factory operations, hold perpetrators to account and safeguard the legal rights of Chinese citizens and Chinese companies.
The factory, owned by a company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, had been operating for three years and has more than 500 local workers and 10 Chinese workers, according to reports.
Photos posted online showed smashed windows and damaged furniture in the factory as well as striking workers wearing red headbands.
The Chinese embassy said it lodged solemn representations to Myanmar's Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs and leading Yangon officials on Thursday, requesting Myanmar act immediately to guarantee the Chinese workers' safety and ensure the protection of property.
Myanmar promised to handle the incident in a proper manner as soon as possible.
China is the largest investor in Myanmar. According to China's Economic and Commercial Counselor's Office in Myanmar, China's nonfinancial foreign investment in the Southeast Asian country in 2016 reached 8.6 million, up about 50 percent year-on-year.