Resume of issuing passports; Role of Chinese in Myanmar issue

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – February 22 Scenes

MoeMaKa, February 23 2023

Resume of issuing passports; Role of Chinese in Myanmar issue

The military council has announced that it is now possible to reapply for passports after almost 2 months of suspending the issuing of passports since the beginning of January, without giving specific reasons.

From issuing passports by making an appointment online using the QR code system, they have stopped issuing on the pretext that the system will change in the first week of January. Among those who are leaving to work, attend school and receive medical treatment abroad, those whose passports have expired or those who have not done so yet have run into difficulties because they have missed the deadline and they cannot travel even though there was an emergency because they do not have a passport. Because only those registered with Bodh Gaya pilgrimage companies were issued passports, some people who had reason to go abroad had to register and pay to go on a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya, got their passports and went on a pilgrimage in recent months.

It’s hard to guess exactly why the military council suspended the passport process, but it could be a sign of showing their power.

Due to the scarcity of job opportunities after the military coup and armed conflict, many young people were forced to work abroad by their parents, and the number of people applying for passports has increased like never before. To apply for a passport, there are people queuing up at 1 or 2 a.m. and waiting in line for 10 to 12 hours. This happened from the middle of last year until the end of the year.

A minimum of 30,000 kyats to a maximum of 1,000,000 kyats had to be paid to obtain a QR code for pre-registration of passports. There were many people who had to spend from 3 lakhs to 10 lakhs for the whole process. There were people who paid 10 lakh kyats as the minimum amount for the Bodh Gaya pilgrimage in order to get a passport, and then went abroad after the pilgrimage.

The military coup not only lowered the country’s economy, politics, and human rights, but also stopped those who were going to work or study abroad.

Another news topic for today is that China’s Special Envoy for Myanmar met and discussed with the ethnic armed groups in the region bordering the China. It is reported in the news that they had a meeting with the Wa group, the Mongla group and the KIO, but it is not disclosed what topics were discussed. It is obvious that China will closely monitor the involvement of the United States in Myanmar’s political crisis. It is also obvious that they do not want the ethnic armed groups in the regions bordering China to get close to the US.

It is true that the ethnic armed groups in Myanmar that depend on it for support, weapons, food, and medical care, must treat China with priority and respect their ideas, even though they are not loyal to China.

China supported the SLORC and SPDC military regimes, but now after the 2021 military coup, they are more cautiously observing the political situation and may be wavering which side to bet on.