Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 06 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 07, 2023
One died and many injured in Pathein Prison riot; Mongla, Wa and SSPP arrived in Nay Pyi Taw
On January 6, a prison riot erupted at Pathein Prison, killing one inmate and injuring dozens more. The military council issued a news report that included photos of some of the injured prison staff.
The prison riot began when a phone was discovered from a political prisoner. Reports said that it happened when the rest of the inmates asked to release the one who was beaten up during a separate investigation upon finding a phone. One person was killed and many were seriously injured, and according to some reports, the total number of injured was more than 60. The military council stated in a press release on the night of January 6, when the incident occurred, that 9 prison staff and 2 police officers were injured. It is assumed that inmates removed wooden sticks from wooden beds, bamboo bedsteads, and other furniture and used them as weapons while resisting prison staff and police.
Although cell phones are not permitted in prisons, it is believed that inmates bribe prison staff in order to use them to communicate with their families. During a decade preceding the military coup, changes were made to prevent inmates from being beaten in the prisons, and governance conditions in the prisons improved to some extent, but after the military coup, the existing procedures were revised, and the situation reverted to the previous military regime’s repressive administration and corruption within the prisons.
It took 5 to 10 years to reform, but it cost only a few months to return to a position where they were not required to adhere to any human rights standards. Riots occurred in some prisons, including Nay Pyi Taw Prison during U Thein Sein’s regime and Myingyan and Shwebo Prisons during the NLD regime, resulting in the deaths of inmates.
This is not the first incident to occur following the military coup. In 2022, prison riots occurred in Monywa and Hpa-An, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Another special news for today is that the Mongla group, SSPP/SSA, and Wa armed groups, which are among the groups of the Northern Alliance and the FPNCC, a group of 7 northern armed groups, arrived in Nay Pyi Taw for peace talks. On the second day, the news reported that they were holding talks with the State Peace Talks team led by General Yar Pyae. A few weeks after China’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, Tan Zichun, who took over the position of Sun Guoxiang, visited Nay Pyi Taw, the northern armed groups that have relations with China arrived in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss. China has had close relations with almost all the northern armed groups. From the Mongla group and Wa group to the TNLA, the KIA, and the AA, they have good relations with China, and it is believed that, arms support, the border situation, etc., are the reasons to maintain the relationship.
It is clear that China maintains its influence on ethnic armed groups not only for stability along the border but also for its interests inside Myanmar. It can be said that China is interfering and regulating the situation in Myanmar for the purpose of balancing the instability of the neighboring country and the increasing influence of the United States.
The general public and democracy activists have an unfavorable view of China rather than a positive one, owing to the fact that China had influence over Myanmar throughout the previous military regime and had a close relationship with the military regime.