In Myanmar, 100 days after the military coup, more than half of the total number of civil servants, more than 200,000 people, are taking part in strikes and Civil Disobedience (CDM). Many of the 1,200 national and public hospitals have been shut down due to employee strikes, and faculty and staff members of 40 national and public universities are also going out on the streets shouting'anti-coup' and'democratization'. State-owned bank employees such as Myanmar Economic Bank, teachers, and government officials from various ministries, as well as 90% of the employees of the State Railway Company in Myanmar, are on strike.



As a result, the military is firing a bunch of related officials. According to local media, on the 8th, the military suspended 11,000 professors and 2,000 faculty members who were absent from school without permission for participation in the civil disobedience movement. In recent years, close to 500 professors, lecturers, and faculty members were fired from one university in Mandalay alone. In addition, government ministries have blacklisted public officials identified as participating in strikes and civil disobedience movements, threatening firing, arrests, and evictions from government offices. Among the doctors participating in the strike, there are voices saying that their family has been arrested.



Even in such a dangerous situation, there is one reason Myanmar officials participate in strikes and civil disobedience movements. "You can't work for a terrorist with a salary given by a terrorist." They say they cannot recognize as the government the terrorist group that caused the coup on February 1st against the will of the people.



▲ List of 465 university professors, lecturers and faculty members in Mandalay who were notified of dismissal by the Myanmar military


Daung Nway Oo, a Myanmar official who came to Korea and trained before the outbreak of the military coup, also defined the military coup as "terrorism," and said officials who are training in Korea like him are joining the strike.

Mr. Daung Nwew said, "All Myanmar citizens were greatly insulted by the military coup denying our vote. The reason that the military caused the coup was not for the people or our country, but to protect their business." I couldn't hide it.

Daung Noweu said, "The soldiers and police who are supposed to protect the people are killing not only the unarmed peace protesters but also the children in the house. This is terrorism. I am joining in,” he said.

In fact, Mr. Daung Nweu is refusing to receive military orders as well as salaries, just like some 200,000 local civil servants who participate in the civil disobedience movement.

The following is the full text of the interview with Daung Noweu from May 9th to 13th.

For the personal safety of the person concerned and his/her family, the interview was conducted under a pseudonym and did not contain specific instructions from the ministry or military.

Myanmar officials training in Korea become democratic fighters


Q. Daung Nyuwe, hello. Prior to the interview, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the victims of the Myanmar army and their families. And thank you for responding to the interview in difficult situations.


A. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my opinion.



Q. Could you introduce yourself first?


A. My name is Daung Nwei Wu. I am a student who is taking a degree course at a university in Korea. I am one of myanmarian civil servants working for a government agency in Myanmar. Currently, I am participating in the civil disobedience movement with other civil servants and officials in Myanmar.



Q. How long have you been in Korea?


A. I have stayed in Korea for more than 1 year. We still stay for another year before completing our degree program.



Q. Since when did you participate in the civil disobedience movement, and why did you make that choice? What kind of activities are you doing in Korea?


A. On February 1st, I called my family. But following that day, I couldn't contact you all day. Then I managed to get in touch with my family late at night. I was shocked to learn that there was a military coup then. The military detained all leaders and influential people that day. This is the second time in my life since 1988.



During the military rule, the people of Myanmar had a hard time losing their human rights. He has experienced enough of his unpleasant life in the military regime. However, over the past five years, I have learned what human rights are in democratic governments, and I have also seen great progress in all sectors of our country. Under such conditions, the people of Myanmar witnessed the military detention of Korean leaders on February 1st. All Myanmar citizens have been greatly insulted by a military coup denying our vote. They didn't respect our vote. So, after the military coup, most doctors and officials started the CDM, or civil disobedience movement. We didn't go to the government department office, we didn't go to the hospital to show that we didn't want to work for the military commission. We never trust because we know that the military has lied many times and has broken many promises.



In particular, the reason the military has initiated a coup is because it only wanted to protect their business, not for the people and not for our country. That's why the soldiers and police who are supposed to protect the people are killing not only peaceful protesters who are armed, but also the people in the house and children.



So I decided that this was terrorism. I thought I had to stop the army. So from then on, I decided to participate in the civil disobedience movement. Although I am training in Korea, I wanted to show that I am participating in the civil disobedience movement. I am not responding to any directives from government organizations right now. And on the other hand, we are trying to find support organizations for civil servants who participate in the civil disobedience movement, and for those with no income or salary.



Q. You said you are not following the government's guidelines, but I am curious about what kind of guidelines the government is giving.


A. According to the guidelines, government officials should not engage in political or similar activities, nor should they protest. However, I am not following the guidelines our organization has delivered to me. In addition, all Myanmar officials who are training abroad are required to report the progress of the training every three months on a quarterly basis. It must be reported through the Myanmar embassy. Since the military coup I haven't been reporting that quarterly report. And the organization asked me,'Are you involved in CDM?', but I didn't answer. When I respond, it means I follow their instructions. So I didn't reply.



Q. Are you participating in the civil disobedience movement through your social media account?


A. Before the military coup, I only used email and Facebook, but many people, including me, changed a lot after the coup. We are also actively communicating through WhatsApp, Telegram, and KakaoTalk.



Q. Are you delivering accurate news to Myanmar through that platform?


A. Yes.

In order to motivate and encourage Korean protesters, we share various information and news through SNS.

People can't use the internet well because the internet has been shut down by the Myanmar army.

That's why.



Q. I heard that it is difficult to see accurate reports from the democratic camp Myanmar media.

What is the exact situation in Myanmar that Mr. Daung Nweu sees?


A. I also directly asked other acquaintances and family members in Myanmar.

They shared the information directly with me because they cannot speak within Myanmar.

They have lost their rights.

They are feeling too afraid.

They are too dangerous.

So they're sharing that information with me, and I'm sharing the news on Facebook.

My friends, my colleagues and my family are not journalists.

However, because many reporters are hiding now, they are unable to come outside to report the news.

"I can't get the terrorist money"...

Refusal to receive salary paid by the military

Q. Myanmar government officials have been told that once they get a Ph.D. degree abroad, they must fulfill their commitment to working in government departments for at least a few years. If so, do you have to pay compensation for breaking that promise?


A. Yes, we made an appointment. To earn a doctorate degree, you must have worked in a government department for at least 5 years. If this promise is violated, for example a PhD holder, 7 million kyat (approximately 5.1 million won) will be reimbursed.



Q. That means compensation for breaking promises, right?


A. Yes, we actually signed the promise. This scholarship was not arranged by the government. We searched and applied for scholarships online and at other universities studying in Korea, and all other procedures and fees were paid directly by us. The government officially allowed overseas expansion. I recognized that period as a working period and paid me a salary. That's what they offer us. However, during this military coup, I refused to receive my salary. Because I wanted to show my disobedience. I don't want anything of the government working for the military commission. So I'm not getting paid right now.



Q. However, if you do not receive a salary, you will have to live only on scholarships from the Korean government. Then you will have a big problem with your income.


A. Yes, it is. That's correct.


Myanmar's local family income is '0'… "Fearing family threats the most"

Q. Could you please explain the situation of your stay in Korea now?


A. Right now, I have a scholarship from the Korean government so I can stay here. My life doesn't matter that much. But my family in Myanmar is a problem. Prior to the original military coup, I passed the salary I was getting to my family through my local colleague. However, now my family has no income because I am refusing to receive a paycheck. They have no income. It is difficult for my family to directly participate in the civil disobedience movement.



I am really worried about my family right now. The military could threaten my family because of me. Perhaps they are watching around my house. If they don't find me, they will do something to my family. That is my concern. The military has always been that way. From my point of view, I cannot return to my homeland until the conclusion of this Myanmar Spring Revolution. Because the moment I return to my home country, I could be arrested at Yangon Airport in Myanmar. They are collecting all the information of overseas training officials participating in the civil disobedience movement. And two weeks ago, state TV subordinated to the military announced that the passports of doctors who participated in the civil disobedience movement were blacklisted, and the next target would be Myanmar government officials overseas. So, those who participate in the civil disobedience movement overseas for the democratization of Myanmar like me cannot return even after completing the training. It's a really difficult and worrisome situation.



“Arrested as soon as I return to Myanmar…I want a job opportunity if the situation prolongs”

Q. If so, there must be a message you would like to ask the Korean government for assistance.


A. Yes.

The Korean government has announced that it will allow other passport or visa holders to stay in Korea until the situation in Myanmar stabilizes.

However, I haven't heard of anyone with a student visa being allowed to stay.

So I would like to ask the Korean government to consider temporary residence permits for Myanmar students and civil servants, like other visa holders, until the situation in Myanmar is peaceful and stabilized.

Otherwise, citizen disobedience movement participants like me will not be able to stay here or survive.*



* As a result of checking with the Korean Ministry of Justice, all Myanmar residents in Korea, regardless of visa holders, are subject to humanitarian special stay measures.

The interviewer also informed them that they can apply for an extension of their stay at the immigration office within one month of their visa expiration.



We want visas, passports, and job opportunities if the Myanmar situation prolongs.

Me and the others on the strike must try to survive somehow if they don't get the scholarship.

However, you may be arrested if you return to Myanmar.

So I want the Korean government to support those who participate in such civil disobedience movements, including me.

If the Myanmar military blacklisted me and released my passport, I couldn't do anything.



There is also something I would like to request from the Korean government.

It is asking for the National Integration Government (NUG*) of the Democratic Party of Myanmar to be recognized as the only legal government in Myanmar and to cooperate with organizations under the NUG.

And while the military coup continues, I hope to stop investing in Myanmar and stop joint projects and cooperation with Myanmar government agencies.

Also, I would like to ban the issuance of visas to new officials coming to the Myanmar embassy in Korea.

On the other hand, I would like to provide scholarships or employment support to students participating in the civil disobedience movement or government officials in Myanmar.



* NUG: National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar


"Over 60~70% of public officials are estimated to strike… Korea also participated in strike"

Q. According to foreign media, more than 200,000 people, half of the civil servants in Myanmar, are participating in the strike and participating in the civil disobedience movement.

Do you understand the actual number of officials involved?


A. I think more than 60% and about 70% of public officials are participating in this strike.

In particular, nearly 90% of people are fired at many universities.

This is unfair and illegal.

I read a list of officials who took part in the strike, including doctors, teachers and professors.

And many of the officials on that list are being removed, and some have been fired.

Some are announced as being disciplined.

It is very unfair and inhumane.



Q. I heard that there are colleagues in Korea who also participate in the civil disobedience movement.

How many colleagues are involved?


A. It seems that there are over 100 Myanmar civil servants studying in Korea.

It's not exactly that.

And we don't know exactly the number of people participating in the civil disobedience movement.

However, about 15 people I know participate in the civil disobedience movement here in Korea.

However, other people can also participate in the civil disobedience movement.

There may be people I don't understand, but I don't know because I'm not in contact with them.



Q. Did the Myanmar military know that Daung Noweu participated in the strike?


A. Yes, maybe the military knows that I am participating in the civil disobedience movement.


"ASEAN countries seem to be concerned about the impact of their own democratization movement."

Q. How do you think the international community, including ASEAN (ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations), should respond specifically?

And the G7 foreign ministers also gave a very strong voice to the military.

Do you think this movement of the international community is effective in solving the problem?


A. I want to answer this in two parts.

First, it is related to the ASEAN Conference.

I doubt that ASEAN countries really want to help our country.

This is because most ASEAN countries are not democratic countries.

They also have similar problems as our country.

And there is a kind of promise between ASEAN that they should not intervene in each other's internal affairs.

However, the Myanmar issue is not myanmar's own internal affairs.

This is because the victory of the Myanmar Spring Revolution can motivate the people living in those ASEAN countries.

I really doubt whether ASEAN can make an effective statement or agreement.

And I would like to point out that one important point is missing from the contents of the agreement reached by ASEAN.

I haven't seen any statements stating that all leaders and those who have been arrested for political motives must be released.



And this is the second G7 Foreign Affairs and Development Ministers' Meeting.

In a statement, they agreed to an active response to Myanmar.

Blocked support to the military and requested the relevant countries not to sell weapons.

I think the G7 statement to stop investing in Myanmar was very effective.


"China and Russia never help Myanmar people."

Q. I mentioned some of the countries that are not helpful in resolving the Myanmar situation.

What do you think of China and Russia?


A. I would like to say this.

China and Russia never help the people of Myanmar.

Indeed, the center of China and Russia's relationship with Myanmar is solely for economic business and their interests.

In the case of Russia, I think that few companies invest in our country.

I know that Russia mainly sells weapons to the military.

So I know that the Russian government is only offering and inviting government scholarships to military personnel in Myanmar.

So most of the soldiers go to Russia to study defense-related subjects.



On the other hand, China has a lot of intervention in all areas, including controlling our government's administrative system.

Now China is taking a lot of natural resources from Myanmar.

Some of them are being taken illegally.

Although some agreements have been reached with the Myanmar military, most are illegal.

China invests heavily in Myanmar, sells weapons, and provides technology to the military.

Most of the people in Myanmar are feeling hatred for China as a result of this military coup.

In addition, they share their wishes through social media, etc., that they want to stop the business and blow up the gas pipeline from the west coast of Myanmar to China.

China will also worry that it will actually happen.



"Thank you very much for the support of Korea…I will encourage you to buy products made in Korea instead of made in China."

Q. How is Korea?

Do you think the Korean government and the people of Korea are helping you and your colleagues in a practical and effective way?


A. Of course.

We sincerely thank the Korean government and people for supporting and working with the people of Myanmar.

The Korean government especially supports Myanmar more strongly than other countries.

As part of that evidence, the Korean government is issuing sanctions and warning messages against Myanmar's military, protecting the Myanmar people living in Korea.

So thank you for the effort.

Korean people are also participating in political activities and protesting in various cities in Korea with Myanmar people.

It shows in person a heart of sympathy and humanitarianism.

Because the Korean government has helped us, we are motivated to achieve more and more democracy and encourage ourselves.

That is why I believe that if we win that revolution, we should be able to help the Korean government and the people again.



Now Myanmar people are also involved in boycotting Chinese products.

So I think if we win the military, we should replace Chinese products supplied to Myanmar with Korean products.

I think you can do that.


"I want the UN's responsibility for protection, but if that's difficult, even the National Integration Government acknowledges it."

In fact, in order to eradicate Myanmar's military, I want the UN's'Protection Responsibility' (R2P*).



* R2P (Resposibility to protect): If a country does not or cannot protect its citizens from the four major crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, racial cleansing, and crimes against humanity, the international community can intervene through the UN Security Council. Principles to Ensure



Fighting with the military now takes a long time, and many citizens can feel fatigue for a long period of time. Some of the people involved in the civil disobedience movement return to work. So if it takes a long time, those people can lose hope. If we cannot prevent such a situation, the military can control all administration. That's why the most effective way is the UN's responsibility to protect, or R2P.



If R2P takes time to implement, I would like to secondly ask the international community to approve the National Integration Government NUG as the only legal government in Myanmar. If many countries recognize the NUG as the official legitimate government of Myanmar, the NUG can go through several processes (to restore democracy).



NUG officials communicate with each other only online, under military surveillance and control. It is difficult to communicate in a completely unsafe situation. In a very dangerous situation, they want to get government approval from the international community. If the international community recognizes the NUG as our government, the NUG can effectively help those who participate in the civil disobedience movement. As you know, most of our fellow citizen disobedience movement participants are hiding and running away. They don't have security. That's why if the NUG protects people, more people can join the civil disobedience movement.



Q. Thank you for responding to the interview. As one of the Korean people who support Myanmar's democracy, I hope that Myanmar's spring will come soon.


A. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak up.



[Interview Part ②]


▶ [Report File] "I can't forgive the selfishness of my colleagues on the side of the military"

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