Chinese state media seem to downplay Myanmar’s military coup. Reports describe the overthrow of the democratically elected government as a “cabinet reshuffle” as the international response to Monday morning’s events began to grow.
US President Joe Biden threatened sanctions in the face of the first emerging international crisis in his young presidency, calling on the international community to “come together with one voice to urge the Burmese military to immediately give up the power they have seized”.
It contrasted dramatically with the muted statements from China, whose first reaction to the emerging news of Monday’s coup was that Beijing “noted” and “hoped” developments.[s] that all sides in Myanmar can deal appropriately with their constitutional differences ”.
Xinhua, the state-controlled Chinese news agency, said in a message, “The Myanmar military announced a major cabinet reshuffle hours after the state of emergency was declared on Monday.”
It cited a statement by the Myanmar military that “as part of the cabinet reshuffle, new union ministers have been appointed to 11 ministries while 24 deputy ministers have been removed from their posts”.
Tanks and other military vehicles rolled through the streets of major Myanmar cities on February 1 as the military took control of the government and arrested top leaders of the ruling party, including country leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
As a justification for its move, the army cited irregularities in the November elections, in which the Union’s military-backed Solidarity and Development Party only took 33 seats, while Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) 396 of 476 available won.
The global time, a state-run English-language Chinese newspaper, said the Myanmar military “arrested elected leaders and declared a state of emergency, which is a blow to the much-applauded democratization process in Myanmar and awe many.”
At the same time, the newspaper criticized the democratic model advocated by Western nations, suggesting that the events in Myanmar showed that “the prosperity generated by political reform alone was superficial and fragile”.
“So far there are few governance models in the world and the West is strongly committed to its electoral system. Smaller countries don’t have many options. On the way to modernization, most of them have opted for the Western-style electoral system, ”read an editorial.
“The setbacks and bumpy roads they encountered were interpreted as their fair cost to democracy. Apart from following traditional systems, they are simply unable to explore new political systems. “
Mr Biden’s statement followed stern responses from his new Secretary of State, as well as the UK, Australia, the United Nations and others.
Mr Biden described the coup and the arrest of leaders, including Ms. Suu Kyi, as a “direct attack on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law”.
“In a democracy, violence should never attempt to override the will of the people or attempt to obliterate the outcome of a credible election. For nearly a decade, the people of Burma (the former name of Myanmar) have worked continuously on elections, civil governance and peaceful transfer of power. This progress should be respected, “Biden said in a statement.
Mr Biden said that “the international community should come together with one voice to urge the Burmese military to immediately abandon the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have arrested, lift all telecommunications restrictions and cease violence against civilians.”
He assured that the US stands by “the people of Burma at this difficult hour” and promises to support the restoration of democracy and to hold those responsible to account.
“The US has lifted sanctions against Burma over the past decade, based on advances towards democracy. Reversing this progress requires an immediate review of our sanctions laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action. The United States will work for democracy wherever it is attacked, ”said Biden.