February 28, 2009:
China has apparently sold some of its new assault rifles (the Type 95) to Myanmar. Troops in that country have been seen carrying the Chinese weapon. The QBZ-95 (Type 95) is bullpup design (the magazine is behind the trigger) that uses Chinas proprietary 5.8x42mm cartridge, which is a little wider than the 5.56 NATO, but shorter in overall length. The Type 95 uses a 30-round magazine, similar to the M-16. The Type 95 fires single shots or bursts. China is still in the process of replacing its own Type 81 (improved AK-47) rifles with the new rifle The Type 95 is about ten percent lighter than the older rifle, and has apparently been well received by the troops.
The Type 95 was first seen in Hong Kong when China took over in 1997. The Type 95 comes in a variety of styles (a compact version, an automatic rifle, and a sniper rifle). An export version (the Type 97), using the standard 5.56mm NATO round is called, and is apparently what Myanmar is using.
At the same time China was exporting Type 97 rifles to Myanmar, it provided Bangladesh with financing and technical assistance for building a factory to produce a modified version of the Chinese Type 81 assault rifle. This is a 7.5 pound rifle that looks like the Chinese Type 56 (itself a copy of the Russian AK-47). The main differences are that the Type 81 has less recoil and "jump" (of the rifle when fired), which improves accuracy. The Bangladeshi version of the Type 81 is called the BD-08, and the new factory will be able to produce 10,000 a year. Eventually, Bangladesh will replace all its current Type 56 rifles with BD-08s. Both use the same 7.62/39mm ammo.