Trade between the once-thriving border towns of Muse and Ruili is restarting after nearly three years, but remains restricted to a trickle of trucks, with Myanmar wary of the COVID-19 surge in China.
The regime's sudden decision has hobbled Myanmar citizens seeking better lives overseas and risks depriving migrant workers of legal protections, with rights groups suspecting a ploy to target dissidents.
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Activists say security forces and regional governments are cooperating to restrict demonstrations and other political activities, in breach of constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.