Protesters in Yangon, Myanmar calling for a boycott of Chinese products (Image: AP)

Ten weeks since the coup, violence by Myanmar's military has claimed at least 700 lives, seen more than 3000 people detained and triggered a swelling flood of refugees from the country.

At the same time, it has laid bare China’s dilemma about its southern neighbour as reports mount of Chinese troops gathering on Myanmar’s northern border, keen to try and protect the Middle Kingdom's vast economic interests. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned other South-East Asian nations this week to be alert to “external forces” infiltrating Myanmar.

China is Myanmar’s largest trade and military partner. It was as surprised by the February military coup as the rest of the world. Only two weeks earlier, Wang was in Myanmar for talks with the now detained former state counsellor and de-facto government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as military leaders.