In the early morning of Feb. 1, Burma’s military launched a coup and said it would impose a state of emergency for one year.
At present, in Burma, also known as Myanmar, there are tens of thousands of mainland Chinese business entrepreneurs and workers. Earlier, the Chinese regime said that overseas Chinese citizens were restricted from returning to China because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese regime has not addressed the situation of its citizens in Burma since the military coup or extended any help to them.
Mr. Chen, who works in Yangon in the media industry, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that local communications were cut off after the coup. People were shopping in a panic and there were bank runs. Soon after, banks and self-service ATMs were closed, and only cash was allowed by shopping malls. In Yangon, people are still confused about the situation, and the street atmosphere is tense. Large-scale unrest, however, has still not occurred.
Before the military coup, due to China’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, many overseas Chinese in Burma were unable to return home for the forthcoming Chinese New Year holiday.
Tu also revealed that there are many individuals doing business in Burma from China’s southern Zhejiang Province, such as those who own factories that produce clothing and shoes for export. If the military government comes to power, Chinese business owners are worried that sanctions imposed by European nations and the United States could affect the factories, Tu said.
“Asked at a press briefing on Feb. 1 about the coup in Burma, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not mention the situation of Chinese overseas in Burma, saying only that “We have observed what happened in Myanmar, and we are learning more details about the situation. China is Myanmar’s good neighbor. We hope that, under the constitutional and legal framework, all parties in Myanmar can manage their differences properly and preserve political and social stability.
On February 1, on its official website, the Chinese embassy in Burma released a “urgent reminder to Chinese citizens in Burma to take safety precautions” and provided a telephone number for assistance. The number and the various departments of the embassy were called by Radio Free Asia, but nobody answered the call.