Chinese police are scrutinizing travel documents from those coming from Namkham, Shan State.
Chinese police have tightened security measures in Nawng Tawng in China, across from Namkham Township in northern Shan State, adding further checks on any Burmese nationals traveling cross-border.
“The Chinese police inspect whether Burmese people have a red book and an official seal in the red book. If there is no official seal in the red book, Chinese police will arrest you,” Namkham local Sai Pee told SHAN, referring to the official Burmese passport or travel document. “After that, police will make you take a urine test,” he added, to determine whether the individual has used drugs.
If the urine test comes back positive for narcotics, the person is typically sentenced to two years in prison, he said.
Locals in Namkham frequently travel to China to sell products in Shweli—also known as Ruili—by traveling through Nawng Tawng.
“As Namkham locals, we have been going to China for such a long time. Sometimes Chinese police arrest us for no reason. If a person is arrested, relatives of the person need to see the police. If not, the person will be sentenced to prison with hard labor,” another Namkham local, Sai Aye, told SHAN.
Locals said that periodically China enforces such security checks at the border point, to crack down on narcotics trafficking and illegal trade.
They recommended that locals who need to travel to China ensure that their travel documents are valid, and to avoid any unofficial border crossings.
“There are many CCTV cameras at every corner in China. Chinese police know when people illegally enter China through these CCTV cameras. Don’t go there illegally,” local Sai Moung said.
The recent travel difficulties began in April, when vegetable sellers were blocked by Chinese authorities from crossing through the Nawng Tawng inspection gate.