Beijing Uses University Scholarships to Tighten Ties With Myanmar Junta
China has awarded PaukPhaw scholarships to 111 university students of the Naypyitaw State Academy founded by junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, the latest in Beijing’s steps to rekindle ties with Myanmar military generals after it distanced itself from the regime following the 2021 coup. Students from 12 fields of study have received 500,000 kyats (around US $180) each for the 2022-23 academic year. According to junta media, PaukPhaw (“fraternal”) scholarships will be awarded to 800 university students from East Yangon University, Yangon Education University, Yangon University of Foreign Languages, Dagon University, and Naypyitaw State Academy, with funding from Alibaba Philanthropy for the current academic year. The PaukPhaw scholarship project was launched by the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation in Myanmar Office (CFPA) in 2015. Scholarships have been presented to a total of 1,348 students from 14 universities to date, according to junta media. The four-month-old Naypyitaw State Academy founded by Min Aung Hlaing is the latest recipient of the China-backed scholarship, reports The Irrawaddy.