Two Warning Signs of Further Crackdown in Myanmar

Image depicts protestors in Myanmar on February 14, 2021. (Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons)

Amid an intensifying crackdown, Myanmar’s military pushes for a new cybersecurity law to keep citizens in the dark. Meanwhile, Asian Access supports local Christian leaders as they shine Christ’s light in their communities.

On Friday, leaders of the military junta proposed a draconian cybersecurity bill, the latest chapter in ongoing communication cutoffs. If implemented, the bill would remove content the government deems unacceptable and punish violations with criminal penalties.

“The government is looking at shutting down all forms of communication because of pressure from outside the country, and because of uprisings and social unrest in the country itself,” Asian Access President Joe Handley says.

Civilians in Myanmar are “being fed information about what’s happening [in their country] from outside media sources, so the government has slowly and surely started to clamp down on those sources of information,” he explains.

“The first phase was all local phone lines were shut down. As of the 15th, they’re going to be shutting down all forms of internet communication – at least that’s the threat.”

Troublesome indicators

Two weeks ago, a coup-d’état sparked widespread protests that continue today. Signs point to an even larger military suppression in the days to come. “Two things have increased the concern,” Handley says.

“One: they’re kidnapping people they suspect are communicating with the West or outside entities, and people that have been involved in the social uprisings,” he continues.

“My colleagues are now doing 24/7 watches on their own homes. They’re afraid for their own family’s sake.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Katey Hearth

CALL TO ACTION

  • Pray for national church leaders as they shine the hope of Christ during this perilous season in Myanmar.
  • Ask God to sustain communication channels between Asian Access and partners in Myanmar.