In Myanmar, dozens of families have posted notices in state-run newspapers about cutting down their relations with children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren who have publicly opposed the ruling military junta over the past three months. The army announced that it would seize all properties of its opponents and arrest people who shelter the protesters. The notices began to appear in huge numbers after the military took power from Myanmar's democratically elected government a year ago.
Reuters quoted Lin Lin Bo Bo's parents, one of those disowned by his family, saying, "We declare we have disowned Lin Lin Bo Bo because he never paid attention to his parents' wish." The 26-year-old Bo Bo said that his family disowned him after the military came into his house searching for him. Later, he read the notice of his parents disowning him in a newspaper.
According to Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, senior advocacy officer at rights group Burma Campaign, Burma's military regularly targeted opposition activists' families during unrest in 2007 and the late 1980s, but it has become far more common since the February 1, 2021 plot. While witnessing more such notices in the press, Wai Hnin said that one way to respond is to go by Myanmar's culture, which is to disown the family openly. She said, "Family members are scared to be involved in the crimes. They don't want to be arrested, and they don't want to be in trouble."
A year ago, hundreds and thousands of young people took to the streets to protest the coup. In the aftermath of a violent crackdown by the army on protests, some protesters fled overseas or joined armed groups in remote parts of the country. They are generally aligned with the deposed civilian government and are known as the People's Defence Forces.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a monitoring group, security forces have killed about 1,500 people and arrested nearly 12,000 people. These figures have been deemed exaggerated by the military.
Journalist So Pyay Aung, who was disowned by his father in November, told Reuters that he live-streamed and filmed the riot where police were using batons and shields to stop the protests. The video was then live-streamed on a news website, the Democratic Voice of Burma. He said he hid himself in different locations in Myanmar after the authorities began searching for him before fleeing to Thailand with his wife and infant daughter. He further added, "When I saw the newspaper that mentioned cutting down ties with me, I felt a little sad. But I understand that my parents had fears of pressure. They might have worries of their house being seized or getting arrested."
It was intended to send a message to authorities that the parents shouldn't be held responsible for their children's actions, two parents who disowned their children told Reuters. The parents requested anonymity for fear of drawing the attention of the military.