The regime has collected over 70,000 names of voters in four areas near the China-Burma border in northeast Shan State and ordered them to vote for only the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), local sources said.
The names of all eligible voters in each family in four main areas west of Salween River--- Mungbaw, Munggu (Mongkoe), Hpawng Seng and Pang Sai were collected over a week ago by village administrators, said local residents.
All villagers over 18 years were included in the voter’s list. They also include many Chinese citizens, who have settled temporarily in these areas. Just before getting hold of the voter’s list, the authorities publicly announced that special temporary identity cards and family unit documents are be issued to Chinese citizens no matter how long they have stayed in these areas, said residents.
Residents close to the village administrators said, the voter’s lists were collected to garner votes for the junta’s USDP through pressure.
During the 2008 referendum for the constitution, local military authorities used the collected names of voters in these four areas as ‘Yes’ votes for the regime-centric constitution, Gam Ba, a resident of Munggu said.
Northern Shan State hosts 10 local militia groups loyal to the Burmese regime and they have been ordered to mobilize people in their controlled areas to vote for the USDP, said sources close to the militia groups.
Each militia group has been granted special business permits in their areas, whereas some Chinese-led militia groups have been granted the right of opium cultivation and production of heroin, Amphetamines and Methamphetamines.
The militia groups in turn have to provide millions of dollars to the regime’s Lashio-based Northeast Regional Command (Ya-Ma-Kha) and military officers under the command, said sources close to the militia groups.
Now, the militia groups in Northern Shan State are pushing people and saying “All people have to vote for the junta-backed USDP because the country is ruled by the majority Burman ethnic”.
The same thing is being done by two Kachin armed groups in Kachin State, which transformed to the junta-proposed Border Guard Force and local militia groups late last year. They are the Pangwa-based New Democracy Army-Kachin (NDA-K) and Lawayang-based Lasang Awng Wa Peace Group.
In Kachin State and Shan State, the Burman-led military government is using local militia groups to garner votes for the USDP and weakening ethnic armed groups, which rejected the order to surrender weapons.