Burma's increasingly reform-minded government has taken 2,082 names off the infamous blacklist that bars many activists, artists, and journalists from re-entering the country, state-run media reported today. The catch? Officials aren't saying which 2,082 people are coming off the list, just as they've never divulged the contents of the list itself, leaving exiles unsure if it is safe to return, the Wall Street Journal reports; many of the exiles the newspaper contacted said that, as far as they knew, they were still banned.
"This is a PR move—just like the way they release dissidents," while leaving others in prison, said one blacklisted economist in London. Until now, the government has largely avoided even acknowledging the list. But today's announcement indicated that it contained a total of 6,165 names. "Companies and persons from all fields including media men were blacklisted … in the national interest," the government-run paper said, but now they're relaxing the list "in accord with the reforming system." (Read more Burma stories.)