on November 7, Myanmar’s general election. This is the fifth step in the military government’s road map for democracy and a historic election for Myanmar’s transition to a democratically elected government. Since then, Myanmar has tried to show itself as a “civilian government”.

the general election is drawing near, but Yangon has not seen the image of intense efforts, let alone the smoke of the election. The picture shows a monk walking past Yangon City Hall in Myanmar before the election. Agence France Presse

when the new yellow, green and red national flag fluttered over Myanmar, the Myanmar military government, which has been in power for 20 years, has begun to take an important step towards transformation.

on November 7, Myanmar’s general election. This is the fifth step in the military government’s road map for democracy and a historic election for Myanmar’s transition to a democratically elected government. Since then, Myanmar has tried to show itself as a “civilian government”, hoping to change the external evaluation, and finally obtain the opportunity of economic development and normal exchanges with the international community.

, a Buddhist country with complex national conditions and realistic contradictions, chose a proactive attitude of self-improvement and self-change.

Myanmar general election: “the contest between lion and rice

in order to prevent western forces from taking advantage of the election, Myanmar has strict regulations on large-scale gatherings before the election, but it also provides another window: on the day of the election, Foreign journalists will go all over Myanmar to observe the election

,

,

and

. Zhang Yunfei, a reporter of the International Herald Herald, comes from Yangon. In the face of November 7, Myanmar’s first democratic election in 20 years, Burmese people seem more willing to wait in relative calm.

although there are no large-scale canvassing rallies, the portraits of some candidates hanging on the streets of Yangon clearly tell the outside world that changes are taking place here quietly. Although we can’t see the smoke of the election, some western media suddenly found a group of Burmese young people with cowboy hats and hip-hop dance steps, which was a treasure. “Perhaps this election will not bring about much change in Myanmar’s politics,” time said, but the westernized lifestyle of young people shows that “the power of change is quietly surging”.

however, observers who know Myanmar regard this view as “disdainful”. They said that Myanmar, which is not open to the outside world, is not so closed. Young people can speak English and listen to English radio. Therefore, when the western world tries to figure out this “mystery” Buddhist country for them according to their own understanding, it does not realize that the Myanmar election is actually like a prism. Only by looking at the different sides, it may be closer to the whole picture.

the new country name and the new national flag

the latest appearance before the general election surprised the outside world.

on October 21, about two weeks before the general election, Myanmar officially announced the opening of the new national flag and new national emblem determined in the constitution of the Republic of the union of Myanmar. In the middle of the new national flag, which is composed of yellow, green and red, is a white five pointed star, which is explained in the constitution of the Republic of the union of Myanmar adopted by referendum in 2008.

according to the new constitution, Myanmar’s general election will produce the people’s house of the Federal Parliament (equivalent to the lower house) and the national house (equivalent to the upper house), and then produce a new democratically elected government. At the same time, provincial and state elections will be held. The new constitution of

,

,

and

also stipulates the new name of Myanmar – the Republic of the union of Myanmar, and the capital is Naypyidaw. After the general election, Myanmar will implement a presidential system. The president is the head of state and government. At the same time, he also serves as the chairman of the national defense and security committee, including the commander in chief of the three armed forces. The commander in chief of the three armed forces is the supreme commander of various armed forces. The army will continue to play a role in national politics and hold 25% of non elected military members in Parliament at all levels (the commander in chief of the three armed forces can nominate).

at present, there are about 40000 polling stations in Myanmar, including about 4000 in Yangon.

in order to prevent western forces from taking advantage of the election, Myanmar has strict regulations on large-scale gatherings before the election, and all gatherings need to apply for venues one week in advance. Some foreign media regard this as the “control policy” of the Myanmar government. However, Myanmar also provides an opportunity for foreign journalists: on election day, all foreign journalists and diplomats in Rangoon will start a general election observation tour organized by the Myanmar government to witness the democratic election throughout Myanmar.

the general election commission of the union of Myanmar said that these measures will ensure the effective coverage of the election process by foreign media, so additional foreign observers and journalists will not be allowed to enter the country during the election.

“Democrats” vowed

from the number of candidates, the competition is fierce. There are more than 3000 candidates and 82 independent candidates nominated by 37 political parties in Myanmar, competing for 1159 parliamentary seats at all levels to be elected.

because there are many political parties and many voters are illiterate, the ballot design adopts a humanized scheme: in addition to the name of the candidate and the name of the political party, the ballot paper is also printed with the logo of the political party for the identification of voters.

,

,

and

are various and interesting. Some political parties use animal designs such as lions, tigers and peacocks as symbols; Some political parties use bamboo hats, farm tools, bows and arrows as symbols; Others use rice, flowers and grass as signs.

,

,

and

are the largest political party in Myanmar, the union consolidation and Development Party (hereinafter referred to as “Gongfa party”) chaired by current Prime Minister Thein Sein. Burmese people like lions. Stone statues of lions are often erected in front of many temples or buildings. The

Gong FA party evolved from the Federal Consolidation and Development Association established in 1993DSPE “

in Myanmar, there are mainly three political forces, including the military government, the armed forces of all ethnic groups and the democratic forces. The struggle between the latter two and the former has hardly stopped, and there has never been a period when either side has an absolute advantage. In addition to the long-term soft detention and detention of political prisoners, some senior officials of the conservative Myanmar military regime have always insisted “One lineage, one voice, one leader”. For them, the recruitment of local ethnic armed forces is almost equivalent to “national division”. Therefore, the idea of requiring the armed forces to hand over their weapons and even use force to conquer northern Myanmar has always existed in the military regime.

this is an important reason why the call for tripartite democratic dialogue put forward by the United Nations to Myanmar has not been answered. The “conservatives” of the military government believe that without a strong military force as a guarantee, the union of Myanmar will quickly split into many small countries along the borders of states like the former Yugoslavia.

find a way out of the suffering

in the past 30 years, the developed society has provided little assistance to Myanmar, especially the United States has said more and done less, and even imposed an economic blockade on Myanmar on the grounds that “the military regime must carry out its own reform and allow moderate democracy”. Such measures have made Myanmar’s economic development slow and become one of the least developed countries in the world. However, in the end, it is the ordinary people in Myanmar who are difficult to deal with the economic pressure of the West.

,

,

,

in addition, the external understanding of Myanmar’s domestic situation was once misled by western public opinion and even demonized. Although the Myanmar government has many restrictions on people’s behavior, as a country dominated by Buddhist belief, not only its own people have a great degree of freedom of movement, in fact, foreign tourists will not feel too obvious restrictions on their activities in Myanmar, and the people, police and even soldiers of Myanmar rarely have impolite and difficult behavior, Foreign tourists can clearly feel the harmonious coexistence of various religious beliefs in Myanmar.

at the same time, for Burmese people with British colonial history, English is also the language they learned from childhood, so it is not difficult for Burmese people to obtain external information, and Burmese young people who wear jeans and play rock and roll are naturally “not rare”. However, in the hearts of “open” Burmese people, the deep-rooted Buddhist belief still allows them to maintain a peaceful heart and restrict their code of conduct.

,

,

and

. The reason why the Myanmar military government has spared no effort to promote the election activities is not only hoping to obtain the legitimacy of the regime and show its new face as a “civilian government”, but also hoping to change the external evaluation, finally break through the external blockade, obtain opportunities for economic development and normal exchanges with the international community.

careful preparations before the transformation

for this election, the Myanmar generals who have been in power for 20 years have made careful preparations in advance.

the Myanmar military government led the establishment of the union of Myanmar consolidation and Development Association (hereinafter referred to as “Gongfa Association”) in September 1993. So far, it has developed 21.67 million members, close to 40% of the total population of Myanmar. By absorbing a large number of young people, the “Gongfa” spread its organization to urban and rural areas throughout the country, laying a mass foundation for the military government to govern.

at present, among the eligible political parties, no political party can pose a threat to the Federal Consolidation and Development Party (hereinafter referred to as the “Gongfa party”) representing the military government. Because the five most powerful former legal political parties, such as the “Democratic League” and the Shan state Democratic Federation, failed to submit an application for re registration before May 6 this year for reasons such as boycotting the general election, the government has announced their dissolution on the spot, while other political parties generally have disadvantages such as short time for establishment or legalization, lack of influence on the country’s grass-roots people and are not easy to obtain support.

in order to cooperate with the party’s participation in the election, Myanmar’s current Prime Minister Thein Sein and 22 ministers announced to participate in the general election as civil servants on April 26, 2010. 15 military officers such as the third figure of the military government and chief of general staff Rayman also announced to resign from the military and participate in the parliamentary election in August. According to the current situation, it is estimated that in addition to the 25% appointed seats reserved for soldiers in the new constitution, there is little suspense that the “Gongfa party” has won enough votes and seats in the other 75%. The military government of

,

,

and

is also continuing to incorporate the armed forces of ethnic minorities in various places, hoping to solve the problem of local armed separatism. Today, the military government’s plan is to order ethnic minority armed forces to accept the government’s reorganization, and the military command is handed over to two ethnic minority officers and a government officer, under the unified leadership and command of the military government.

in this case, except for the consent of several weak ethnic minority armies such as the Kachin new democratic army and the kayah State Army, several other armed forces such as the Alliance Army, the Kachin Independence Army and the United Wa State Army do not agree to the reorganization, or hope to bargain with the government. The increasingly impatient government forces sought an opportunity to defeat the Kokang alliance by force last August, but they are still in the stage of military confrontation with other ethnic armed forces. However, local ethnic armed forces have no chance and ability to affect the conduct of the general election.

an insider who once served in the Myanmar Communist People’s army disclosed: “At present, most ethnic minority armed forces are willing to negotiate with the Burmese government and accept the adaptation. First, they are clear that they can’t fight the government army. Second, they see the change of the Burmese government. Third, they know that the western society is also increasing the pressure on the Burmese government. However, the Burmese government does not refuse to come. For example, the United Wa State Army, which has the most powerful military force and has a capricious attitude, is completely requisitioned by force There is a great possibility of taking it. ”

,

,

,

the forces of the international community, including China, all hope that the Myanmar government can hold the general election peacefully. At the same time, they call on the armed forces of ethnic minorities to give up armed struggle and participate in the general election, and actively mediate the parties to reach a consensus. However, the struggle between various factions in Myanmar is still very complex, and it is difficult for external opinions to affect its internal affairs.

The transformation of

is not easy.

the multi-party national election on November 7 is the fifth step of the seven point road map for democracy announced by the Myanmar military government in August 2003 (see “link” in this edition for details). Although it is not favored by western public opinion, it can not be denied that the military government is indeed advancing its commitment.

although the military will still have 25% of the non elected parliamentary seats in parliaments at all levels, it does not have an overwhelming advantage in terms of data, that is, another 75% of the seats are open to competition among political parties. If the traditional military political power wants to grasp the baton, it must also be realized through political parties and seats, Instead of giving orders at will as before. The changes of

,

,

and

have also achieved some positive effects. In particular, Myanmar media are allowed to continuously report the unveiling ceremony and election activities of Party headquarters across the country, so that more than 30 political parties qualified for the election have the opportunity to expand their influence. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Democratic leader of Myanmar who once boycotted the election, also expressed a certain degree of recognition and “rejoiced at the public’s attention to the political process of the election”. Obviously, although other political forces still cannot compete with the military government, they are forming new political forces other than the military government and the Democratic Alliance.

,

,

and

, while the outside world still accuses the military government of “undemocratic”, there is actually an unavoidable problem: the current interests demands of various local ethnic armed forces in Myanmar, such as “independence” and “high autonomy”, can not be compromised even if democratic forces such as the “Democratic League” come to power, Therefore, I am afraid it is also difficult to meet the “democratic standards” of the international community on this issue.

“can not let the Myanmar military government take full responsibility for the current chaos in the country, and all kinds of national armed forces and democratic forces that insist on their own actions should also take some responsibility.” A Chinese businessman in Myitkyina, Burma said, “the government and the people are two different things. For the main nationalities and Burmese, I think they are actually very kind, not at all ugly in American movies. Now the international community does not know much about Burma, but discrimination and isolation are very serious, which is not conducive to the resolution of contradictions.”

,

,

and

obviously, the historical debts and practical contradictions that the Myanmar military government currently bears are extremely complex. However, although there are still many restrictions or challenges, it is not easy for the Myanmar military government to take this step. The international public opinion that really cares about Myanmar may be more tolerant.

seven point democratic road map plan

the Burmese army took over the state power after months of political turmoil in 1988. In August 2003, the military government announced a seven point road map for democracy aimed at achieving national reconciliation and promoting the democratic process. The

,

,

and

seven point road map plan for democracy mainly includes the resumption of the national assembly, the establishment of a new constitution Drafting Committee, a referendum on the draft new constitution, the holding of multi-party national elections, the transfer of state power to a democratically elected government, etc.

in May 2004, the constituent National Assembly resumed its session after an interruption of eight years. In September 2007, the national assembly completed its mission and determined the constitutional principles of the new constitution. The future country of Myanmar is named the Republic of the union of Myanmar. It implements the presidential system, establishes the upper and lower houses of the national assembly and the people’s assembly, and implements the multi-party parliamentary democracy and the market economy system.

in May 2008, the constitution of the Republic of the union of Myanmar was adopted in a referendum. In March this year, Myanmar’s national peace and Development Commission officially promulgated the general election law and the political party organization law. These laws include the Federal Election Commission Act, the political parties registration act, the people’s house of parliament election act, the national house of parliament election act and the provincial and State Council election act. The final step in the road map of

,

,

and

is the national elections in Myanmar and the transfer of state power to the democratically elected government on November 7 this year.

the slogan “troops are the guarantee of peace” can be seen on the streets of bangkang, the capital of Wa State in Myanmar. Yin Hongwei photographed

wa leader and commander in chief of the United Wa army Bao Youxiang. Data figure

at China’s border ports, there are few people who can travel between Myanmar’s Wa State and Yunnan Menglian every day. The special atmosphere of

,

,

and

photographed by Yin Hongwei shrouds the border between China and Myanmar. The restricted transit of Chinese tourists in

,

,

and

is not only for the wa region, However, it covers all China Myanmar ports.

Yin Hongwei, a special contributor to the International Herald, sent from the China Myanmar border. “Now bangsang is much colder than before, mainly because there may be a war, and there are fewer Chinese people in the past.” Although the second special zone of Shan State in Myanmar (commonly known as “Wa State”) has already changed its capital location to a more auspicious name “bangkang”, the border people living in Menglian County, Yunnan Province for a long time are still not used to it. In your impression, this small town in Myanmar, separated by a river from China, used to be the seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Myanmar, and later one of the important export places of drugs in the golden triangle. At present, it is the core hinterland of the United Wa State Army.

,

,

,

since the adjacent Kokang area was recovered by the Burmese government army in August 2009, as the most powerful local ethnic armed force in Myanmar, the every move of the United Wa State Army has become the “key prevention and control” object of the Burmese government. As the date of Myanmar’s general election approaches, the situation of Wa State, which refuses to accept the government’s order to reorganize the army and participate in the election, has attracted much attention.

Chinese tourists are restricted from crossing the border.

Chinese tourists traveling by car to the China Myanmar border have felt the “special atmosphere” on the other side of the river. Before

,

,

and

, tourists with Chinese ID cards could do it after arriving at Menglian County, Yunnan ProvinceA kind of “China Myanmar border people pass” is used for free access. However, on the National Day holiday this year, when many tourists rushed to Menglian with interest, they were told that they could not transit. Even the local people in Menglian were gradually restricted. Unfortunately, tourists can only stop at meng’a bridge on the boundary river and return after taking photos. At present, it is mainly the residents of Wa State who can travel freely between the two places every day.

“The Wa State has always had a close relationship with China, especially with the local people in the border areas. Such restrictions began only a few years ago. At first, it was mainly because the Chinese government did not allow Chinese citizens to enter at will because of the national unified action to suppress overseas casinos; later, it was because the battle of Kokang took place and news kept coming after Kokang was defeated He said that the Burmese government troops will attack the Wa State. Although the two sides have not started fighting, for the sake of security, the Chinese government will certainly not let the Chinese go out at will. ” A local resident said.

he said that the local people are not very concerned about these restrictions, because they are too familiar with each other. Many people have relatives and friends in the Wa State, so they have ways to communicate every day, and the local public security border defense is not too strict with them, “because the Burmese government army has not really exchanged fire with the wa armed forces”. The wa police opposite are more lax in management. They prefer the Chinese people to spend and do business in the past.

in fact, Chinese tourists are restricted from leaving the country not only in the wa region, but throughout all China Myanmar ports, including Ruili and buting, two national ports controlled by the Burmese government army.

at present, among the many local ethnic armed forces in Myanmar, the Shan State Army and Karen army are still fighting with the Myanmar government army; Others, such as the Kachin Independence Army and the United Wa State Army, seem to be on the verge of war. These situations annoy neighboring countries: “keep fighting” often makes Thailand miserable; Once a war breaks out during the “tense confrontation”, it will also affect China’s border security. If you dare, a large number of refugees pour into China after the war, and even Chinese soldiers and civilians are accidentally injured by the war.

in addition, in addition to the need to regard the Myanmar government as a “common enemy” on the issue of survival, contradictions and struggles among armed forces of all ethnic groups often occur, even at the expense of the use of force. In short, in the territory of Southeast Asia, war and drugs have been the theme of Myanmar, a suffering country for more than 100 years.

“the long-term crisis in WA

” in fact, the Kokang Alliance Army will collapse at the next attack of the Burmese army. There is basically no decent resistance, and the fighting will and ability of the Alliance Army are far less strong than what is said by the outside world. ” A border official familiar with the war situation at that time said he believed that “if the Burmese army repeats the old tricks of other ethnic minority armed forces, it is estimated that the latter will not be able to adhere to them without foreign military assistance.”

however, although the United Wa State Army evolved from the rest of the former Myanmar Communist People’s army has always been a big taboo of the Myanmar government, in order to deal with the situation of numerous national armed forces and complex struggle in the country, the Myanmar government and the Wa State have to carry out some interest cooperation. The most typical example is: in January 1996, the two sides worked together to crack down and force kunsha, the big drug lord in the “Golden Triangle”, to surrender. Then, after wa gained most of kunsha’s territory, the controlled area expanded by 70%. The rapid demise of

,

,

and

kunsha has put unprecedented pressure on the Burmese government and other ethnic armed forces, and realized that the strength of the Wa State Army can not be ignored.

,

,

and

once, WA took the elimination of drugs as the reason for its continued survival, but the Myanmar government’s demand is more long-term. It hopes to reorganize its armed forces, transform them into border police, and accept the unified leadership of the government army. The Wa State naturally cannot accept such a decision. It has always hoped to become a special zone with “high autonomy”. Therefore, the two sides have been in a state of little progress in negotiations for several years.

,

,

and

both sides are not very positive about the voting on Myanmar’s new constitution completed in 2008 and the upcoming general election. The fundamental reason is that neither side has received a satisfactory response from the other side. After the military conquest of Kokang in August 2009, the Burmese government forces have been trying to appease the local people in order to peacefully incorporate other 36 local ethnic minority armed forces. On November 11 that year, the Kachin new democratic army in northern Myanmar and the kayah State Army in eastern Myanmar were transformed into “border protection forces”. According to the 2008 constitution of Myanmar, the restructured troops can enjoy the same treatment as the government forces, including uniforms, military pay and other benefits.

“(in the view of the Wa State), the Myanmar government has no credit, so they don’t believe what they say.” A source close to the Wa State said, “the current deadlock is that it is impossible for the Wa State to be completely independent, but the Myanmar government is also doing everything possible to block its opportunities to participate in national affairs. Moreover, the strength of the Wa State has been limited to northern Myanmar for a long time, and it lacks understanding of the situation of the whole country and influence in other parts of Myanmar.”

he believes that the Myanmar government and the Wa State have been in a state of mutual use and mutual suspicion for a long time, but they are “unable to defeat each other”.

due to years of war, it is said that more than 10000 young people in Wa have died in the war. Although the UWSA claims to have tens of thousands of troops, it actually has only three regular divisions and one military region, with a conventional force of no more than 20000. It is such a local ethnic armed force that the Burmese government army with 500000 troops has been unable to disarm it, which shows its tenacious vitality. In addition, in many cases, the Myanmar government even had to rely on the help of the UWSA to encircle and suppress some other open rebel forces – “using ethnic minorities to restrain ethnic minorities”. It can be seen that the complexity of the relationship here also shows that there are too many similar ethnic armed forces in Myanmar, which makes it difficult for the government army to be considerate.

interestingly, despite the numerous contradictions between the Myanmar government and the Wa, theThe distant United States is not used to both sides: the former is regarded as “military dictatorship” and the latter is “drug trafficking military armed forces” (since the beginning of the 21st century, the pattern of Myanmar armed organizations “supporting the army with drugs and protecting drugs with the army” has not changed much, which has always been the reason for the hanging of the Myanmar government and has also been criticized by the international community).

,

,

,

the number of border people’s Liberation Army is not large.

,

,

and

although it is “calm” on the Menglian side of China, whether there will be war on the wa side “has always been the topic of discussion among many local good people after dinner, and many people even bet on” which side will win in the end “, At the same time, he also expressed concern about the chaos and refugees caused by the possible war. As for the upcoming general election in Myanmar, many Chinese border people believe that “because the election results are difficult to be in suspense, the wa will not be interested in participating. Of course, not participating will not have much impact on the wa.”

on the streets of Menglian, you can often see vehicles with wa license plates running. For Wa people, China is a very rich and safe country. Although Menglian is only a little-known border town in China, it is already a prosperous city compared with the conditions of wa.

“wa and Myanmar government controlled areas basically do not communicate with each other. Although wa also controls some areas bordering northern Thailand, it is also difficult for them to go to Thailand from there, so their shopping activities are basically carried out in China.” A businessman in Menglian County said, “they buy a lot. Many businesses in Menglian depend on them, and the relationship between Wa people and Chinese people has always been very harmonious.”

in fact, some powerful people in Wa not only regard Menglian as a place of consumption, but also many of them have invested through local relatives and friends and even purchased real estate. Obviously, if the war happens and is not conducive to the Wa State, they may take refuge in China for various reasons.

as we all know, in the summer of 2003, when the US government aggressively said that it would enter Myanmar through the Thai border and use force against the “drug trafficking military organization” Myanmar UWSA, it also caused a burst of panic in Myanmar. China, worried that “the city gate fire will affect the pond fish”, also decided to let the people’s Liberation Army cooperate with the original local border police force, Jointly assume the task of guarding the China Myanmar border.

,

,

,

the redeployment of the Chinese regular army to the China Myanmar border has attracted the attention of many international experts. From a strategic and military point of view, once the situation in Myanmar gets out of control, there will be armed conflict and arms and drug smuggling along the border, which will seriously affect the security and stability of Southern Xinjiang of China. With the garrison of regular troops, the chaos can be prevented from spreading to China; More importantly, once the situation in Myanmar gets out of control, foreign troops may take the opportunity to enter Myanmar, and the PLA can respond quickly and create a separation zone for China from the war.

however, Many local people in Menglian said that “the statements of the outside world (experts) are exaggerated. At present, the number of people’s Liberation Army stationed here is actually very small. Compared with Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar, China is now very powerful, and the emergency mobilization of troops is very fast. There is no need to be so nervous at ordinary times, otherwise it will disturb the lives of the people”.