The Myanmar junta seems to be trying to impose a selective censorship of the internet, so that businesses can operate but the people can't speak to each other or the world. Judging by the response on Twitter, it's not working.
U.S. officials announced new sanctions on Myanmar in the wake of the recent military coup, targeting two state-owned businesses with connections to the armed forces.
US imposes additional sanctions on Myanmar, targeting two junta-linked businesses
U.S. imposes new Myanmar sanctions on 2 state-owned businesses
US imposes sanctions on two state-owned Myanmar businesses, treasury says
Why is the Myanmar junta clinging to power? In part because the military's businesses are a lucrative family affair, bringing in revenue for spouses and children. The family of coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing provides a telling example.
For international businesses operating in Myanmar, the coup has created an "unworkable" situation. "As the military crushes protests, companies from clothing brands to energy giants face both practical barriers and ethical quandaries."
"Demonstrators in the city of Monywa poured cans of beer over their feet and those of passers-by to show their contempt for the brewery’s owners — the military." Like many military businesses, Myanmar Beer has has seen its sales plummet since the coup.
As the US assumes the UN Security Council presidency this month, it promises "intense discussions" on Myanmar. That should include pressing for a global arms embargo and sanctions on military businesses. Dare China to abandon the Myanmar people and veto.
The UN rapporteur for Myanmar said heightened international pressure is needed to stop the junta’s assault. "He proposed a global arms embargo...sanctions on the military’s businesses and a UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court."
UN Security Council members should press for tough sanctions on Myanmar military businesses. Make the Chinese government either allow it or openly veto it rather than have it both ways, pretending Beijing supports the Myanmar people when it really backs the military. I explain:
Myanmar, like Egypt, shows how a military's broad involvement in the economy stifles economic growth. Militaries tend to be more interested in extracting revenue to fund repression than in developing the economy. Time to sanction the junta's businesses.
The Myanmar military warned protesters they were risking their lives (i.e., it would shoot them) if they took to the streets. They responded by taking to the streets in the hundreds of thousands. Businesses closed as employees joined a general strike.
Myanmar’s military junta tries to present a "business-as-usual approach to the economy" but it's not working with either the workers who are leaving their jobs in droves to join the protests or many businesses that worry about complicity in the repression.
If China's and Russia's veto (threatened or real) continues to stymie meaningful UN Security Council action on the Myanmar coup, we should look to the UN General Assembly, where there is no veto, to act--such as on global sanctions on military businesses.