[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index
STANDARD NEWS - (25/12/95)
ASIA: GOVERNMENT LEADER CALLS SUU KYI "COLONIALIST'
RANGOON, Burma, Dec 25 AP - In an indirect attack on Nobel Peace
Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of Burma's secret police
said in an official newspaper today that "subversive elements" are
bent on destroying the country.
General Khin Nyunt, who is regarded as the number two man in
Burma's military junta, made the remarks in a speech at an airport
opening ceremony in the provinces, the state-owned New Light of
Myanmar newspaper said.
"Adopted children of the colonialists under the external
influence are trying to cause the disintegration of the union,"
Khin Nyunt said. He referred to "subversive elements".
Khin Nyunt never named Suu Kyi, but a recurring tactic of the
military government has been to portray Suu Kyi as a foreigner
trying impose un-Burmese ideas on the country.
Although she is married to a British academic and spent several
years of her adult life abroad, most Burmese regard Suu Kyi, the
daughter of independence hero Aung San, as one of their own.
Khin Nyunt's comments come as tensions are rising between the
government, which came to power in 1988 after slaughtering
thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators, and democratic forces
represented by Suu Kyi and her political party, the National League
Suu Kyi's party recently boycotted a national convention called
to draw up guidelines for a new constitution. Democracy advocates
have branded the convention a sham designed to ensure military
"A group of people in the interest of their own political party
and neglecting the welfare of the state have been trying to disrupt
the ongoing convention," Khin Nyunt said.
A few weeks earlier General Tin Oo, another junta leader,
referred to Suu Kyi as a traitor and warned anyone who attempted to
disrupt the convention would be "annihilated".
On Saturday, Suu Kyi was detained briefly by the military and
prevented from attending a Christmas celebration for members of the
ethnic Karen minority. Some factions of the Karen have been
fighting for autonomy from the government in Rangoon.
A number of her supporters have also been arrested.
Preventing the disintegration of the country is another
recurring theme of the military. Following its independence from
Britain in 1948, Burma was wracked by civil war with various ethnic
groups for more than four decades.
Although ceasefires have been signed with 15 of 16 ethnic
groups, the Mon recently renounced their agreement with the
government, and the Karen have never laid down their arms.
Suu Kyi has repeatedly said the way to solve conflicts with the
ethnic minorities is through dialogue.
ASIA: DISSIDENT BARRED FROM CELEBRATION, PARTY MEMBERS DETAINED
BURMA AUNG (CARRIED EARLIER)
RANGOON, Burma, Dec 23 AP - Authorities stopped dissident leader
Aung San Suu Kyi from attending a New Year celebration of the Karen
ethnic minority and took her to military headquarters for a
warning, her political party said today.
Four other people who had tried to arrange for her to attend the
celebration on Thursday were detained and had not yet been
released, said Win Htein, spokesman for Mrs Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy.
He said the four -- three NLD members and the patron of the New
Year event -- were arrested on Wednesday night.
Mrs Suu Kyi, who was released in July from six years of house
arrest by the country's military government, tried to attend the
celebration in the northern Rangoon suburb of Insein anyway but was
stopped en route by authorities, Win Htein said.
Before returning home, she was taken to the Rangoon Command
military headquarters, where she was told the celebration was a
traditional get-together of the Karen and not a political
gathering, he said.
The military seized power in 1988 after violently suppressing
pro-democracy street demonstrations. It held a general election in
1990 but then refused to turn over power after a landslide victory
by the NLD.
The Karen New Year is celebrated annually with speeches,
feasting, dancing and music. Insein, a working class neighborhood,
has a high concentration of Karen. The minority has been one of the
most active in fighting the Burmese government for greater autonomy
in its homeland in the country's east.
Win Htein identified the arrested men as Khun Myint Tun and Tin
Tun Oo, youth members of the NLD; Saw Tin Win, a member of the
NLD's central committee in Pa-an, the capital of Karen state; and
Mann Htay Shein, the patron of the Karen celebration.
Win Htein also confirmed a report that an NLD member in
Mandalay, the country's second biggest city, had been detained for
distributing videotapes of NLD activities.
He said the reason given for the December 16 arrest of Sein Hla
Aung was that it was illegal to distribute videotapes without
clearance from the government censorship board. Sein Hla Aung would
be tried on December 26, he said.
The US-based group Human Rights Watch/Asia, in a statement
issued on Thursday, reported that Sein Hla Aung was arrested for
distributing videotapes of speeches that Mrs Suu Kyi gives every
weekend to crowds that gather outside the gates of her Rangoon
Distributing audio and videotapes of Mrs Suu Kyi's speeches is
the principal way her message gets out to the people, as mass
political gatherings are still banned in Burma.
Human Rights Watch also claimed that under new restrictions
placed on the NLD, party members must seek permission from local
government officials before travelling within the country or
attending NLD meetings. There has not been any public confirmation
of the ban.