Myanmar blacklist cuts 2,082 names


A Myanmar vendor sells local journals and newspapers on a road side in Yangon on Aug. 20, 2012. Strong economic growth could lift Myanmar to the rank of middle income nation by 2030 if the formerly army-ruled country overcomes a host of reform challenges, the Asian Development Bank said on Aug. 20.


Soe Than Win

Myanmar's state media newspaper announced that 2,082 (out of 6,165) state-designated dissidents have been lifted from the state's infamous blacklist.

The statement said:

"In the past, companies and persons from all fields including media men were blacklisted and banned by the government in the national interest. But the government is lifting the ban on them in accord with the reforming system."

Now those off the blacklist are reportedly allowed to enter the country.

"Green light would be given to those Myanmar citizens who are currently in foreign countries enabling them to return home," the government said.  

So why is this happening now?

Presidential spokesman Nay Zin Latt told The Associated Press, “These relaxations are in line with the country’s transformation.”

He then said more names would be lifted form the list, and “only those who were put on the blacklist due to criminal and other economic misdemeanors will remain on the blacklist.”

It's unclear exactly who was taken off the list. The government has never publically announced who was on it, or why. 

Some may see this latest, incremental reform as part of a larger reform movement in Myanmar, also known as Burma, which, as it happens, GlobalPost recently investigated.

However, some remain skeptical of the government's motives.

"This is a PR move," a blacklisted economist in London told the Wall Street Journal. "Just like the way they release dissidents," and imprison others.