China Gate Closes Following Changes to Burma’s Border Pass System

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New cards issued by Burma are reportedly incompatible with the software used by China.

Photo by – Muse Youth/
Photo by – Muse Youth/

Chinese authorities closed the border gate crossing from northern Shan State’s Muse on Monday after Burmese authorities changed the type of card used for temporary border passes.

An immigration official in Muse has said that the new cards issued by Burma—and valid for seven days—are incompatible with the software used by China. The move has affected day laborers, traders, and truck drivers, who rely on the border passes to work.

“They say the new border passes don’t work in their computers. I don’t know when they are going to re-open the gate,” said Muse local Sai Seng Leng of the Chinese officials at the border, adding that many locals are facing difficulties.

“I use the temporary border pass card. I load and unload trucks working in China,” migrant worker Ko Kyaw told SHAN. “I have to return to Burma every seven days to renew my temporary border pass card. I just returned to Burma. Now I cannot get into China because of my card. The problem is that I will be absent from my work,” he said.

A Burmese immigration official told SHAN on Wednesday that new cards had been ordered from Tachileik on the Shan-Thai border.

“If the new cards arrive this evening, we will issue them immediately. It will be more sure tomorrow,” he explained.

The one-time use temporary border pass card costs 1,000 kyats (US$0.63). Thousands are issued weekly.

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