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BurmaNet News January 9, 1996

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------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News:January 9, 1996
Issue #318



January 9, 1996   (abridged)

Narcotics production and trafficking in the Golden Triangle 
will continue and many even increase despite the fact that 
drug warlord Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army (MTA) have given 
up the armed struggle for an autonomous Shan State, according 
to a situation assessment report by the Office of Narcotics 
Control Board (ONCB).

A senior official of the National Security Council also 
predicted a possible rise in banditry by elements of the 
armed combatants who refuse to give up their arms to Burmese 

Although Khun Sa's influence has substantially decreased, 
there are still several splinter groups of combatants who are 
yet to surrender to Rangoon and who may take over drug 
production and trafficking from Khun Sa because Burmese 
troops have not achieved full control of the Shan State, 
according to the report.

These splinter rebel groups will be the main conduit through 
which narcotics will be smuggled into Thailand, the report 
said. Besides, Rangoon may implicitly allow Khun Sa and his 
men to carry on the illicit trade as usual because Burma 
itself does not have adequate financial means to help improve 
the livelihood of the Shan people, said the report.

Khun Sa's surrender, according to the report, will do away 
with a buffer that used to exist with the presence of the 
Shan rebels and put Thai forces in direct confrontation with 
Burmese troops. The report predicted more border disputes 
between Thailand and Burma because of the poorly demarcated 

On a brighter side however, the report said border crossings 
in Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai which have been 
closed by Rangoon since last February may be re-opened so 
that border trade can resume. As far as Rangoon is concerned, 
the report said the Burmese military junta might use Khun Sa 
as a bargaining chip in dealing with the United States or  Asean.


January 9, 1996    Report: AP, Rangoon

Three members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's 
political party, the National League for Democracy, have been 
released from jail after nearly three weeks, according to party sources.

Khun Myint Tun, Tin Tun Oo and Saw Tin were arrested on 
December 20 after making arrangements to invite Aung San Suu 
Kyi to attend the New year's celebration of the Karen ethnic 
minority in a northern suburb of Rangoon.

An ethnic Karen, whose name has not been released, was also 
arrested. He was freed along with the others last Tuesday, 
said an NLD member who demanded anonymity. Mrs Suu Kyi, who 
was released from six years of house arrest in July, was 
detained briefly by the military as she attempted to drive to 
the celebration. They warned her to return to her Rangoon 
home, and she complied.

The Karen are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Burma, 
which the military government has renamed Myanmar. A segment 
of the Karen who live near the Thai border have been waging a 
war of independence against the government in Rangoon for 
nearly five decades. Burma celebrated the 48th anniversary of 
its independence from Britain on Thursday with flag-raising 
ceremonies and public lectures around the country. Britain 
ruled Burma as colony from 1824 until 1948. (BP)


RELATIONS    January 9, 1996    (abridged)
By Dinesh C Sharma, New Delhi

Indian politicians have expressed concern that a growing 
Chinese presence in Burma is posing a security threat to 
India. Speaking at a conference on Burma, the politicians 
also criticised the "constructive engagement" policy the 
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and some 
Western countries were pursuing with the ruling military 
junta in Rangoon.

Conference organiser George Fernandes, the leader of the 
opposition Samata party, said the State Law and Order 
Restoration Council (Slorc) had trampled on the aspirations 
of the Burmese people with the help of military hardware 
supplied by China. He said the Chinese had sold weapons worth 
$1.4 billion to the Burmese military and were currently 
building roads as part of their strategy to gain access to 
the Indian Ocean via Burma.

China is threatening the peace of South and Southeast Asia by 
building a naval base in the Coco Islands, he charged. India 
faces a grave threat because the base is located only 40 
kilometres north of India's Andaman islands. The Chinese 
already are using the Coco base for spying on Indian naval 
bases in the Andamans, he said.

 Former Foreign Minister I.K. Guiral, who attended the conference, 
was also critical of the Chinese presence in Burma. The three-day 
conference which ended on Saturdaym, adopted an action plan 
that calls for the economic blockade of Burma and urges the 
implementation of United Nations resolutions on the country. 

Former prime minister Chandrashekhar opened the conference, 
which was attended by human rights activists and Burma 
watchers from ten countries, as well as Burmese exiles in 
India. The ruling Congress Party sent former foreign minister 
K Natwar Singh as its representative.

According to Mr Fernandes, the Slorc saw this as tantamount 
to official assent to the conference and cancelled permission 
previously given for an Indian delegation to attend the 60th 
anniversary celebrations in Rangoon of the Indian National 
Army. The INA operated from the Burmese capital during the 
Second World War.

On the question of "constructive engagement", conference 
participants said advocates who believed it was possible to 
civilise the Burmese military rulers by investing in that 
country effectively were putting a premium on barbarism. In 
fact, Asean and others who were "constructively engaging" the 
military junta should examine the political and military 
aspects of the China-Burma axis for the future of peace in 
South and Southeast Asia, they added.

At the same time, Mr Fernandes also called for closure of 
trade points opened recently on India's border with Burma. He 
argued that these crossings had boosted the trade in 
narcotics drugs. The influx of narcotics from the Burmese 
side of the border had caused a high incidence of AIDS/HIV in 
India's northeastern border states, he said.

The conference expressed solidarity with Burmese opposition 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and called for the immediate 
transfer of power to her National League for Democracy party, 
which won a landslide victory in elections in 1990. The 
conference also resolved to raise public opinion in different 
countries for democracy to be restored in Burma.

In a message to the conference, Mrs Suu Kyi expressed 
appreciation for the support of India's pro-democracy people, 
and stressed the importance of interdependence in today's world. 


January 8, 1996

Dear Shan H.NG.P

Thank you for the informative reports on MTA surrender. We can
always make do with reliable reports from inside the country.

I cannot however agree with the assessment by your "source" that
"I wouldn't be surprised if she and her party found themselves 
losing their stature both nationally and internationally" because 
the MTA surrender will enable SLORC to exploit the situation.

The struggle by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for
Democracy has always been for a legitimate cause -- democracy and 
human rights in Burma. Their struggle has never been supported by 
Khun Sa or the MTA.  I can't understand why the downfall of Khun 
Sa and the MTA should be instrumental in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and 
the NLD "losing their stature" nationally and internationally.  

Only SLORC gains from the sell-out by the MTA.  Drugs flow
will continue, after a brief period of readjustment of drug 
interests.  This is because Khun Sa was never the key producer 
of opium or the only person to run refineries.

SLORC will turn a blind eye to narcotic activities as it had
done following previous cease-fire agreements with other forces
with interests in drugs.



January 6, 1996

December 12, 1995

There are many Burmese students with UNHCR recognition as persons
of concern who are still in the SDC, although some have been released already.

The list of the first group which was released from the SDC on 29 June 1995, 
is as follows:

No:  Name
1. Tun Tun Oo
2. Safe Areaw Myint Aye
3. Ba Hein Kyaw
4. Aung Naing Tun
5. Hla Soe
6. Aung Myint Than

The list of second group which was released from the SDC on 21 July 1995 
is as follows: 

No:  Name      NI No:     Entry date to SDC   alleged offence
1. Latt Ko Ko  1236      19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
2. Hein Htat   3377      19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
3. Maung Maung Pyone3532 19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
4. Yaung Ni Oo 3782      19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
5. Han Zaw     4830      19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
6. Myint Wai   5853      19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area
7. Maung Maung Tun 6081  19 Jan 95           Staged protest in Safe Area

The list of the third group released from the SDC to the Safe Area  on 18/10/95
is as follows:

No:  Name      NI No:     Entry date to SDC   Alleged Offence
1. Zaw Lat     1370      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
2. Zaw Wanna   1372      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
3. Zaw Min     1608      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
4. Hla kyi     2614      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
5. Zaw Lay     2966      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
6. Kon Balai      #
7. Charly         #
8. Maung Maung Oo #
9. San Lwin    3903      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
10. Win Tun Lin 5340     19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area

The list of fourth/last group released from the SDC to the Safe Area on
24/11/95 is as follows: 
No:  Name      NINo:     Entry date to SDC   staged protest in Safe Area
1. Tun Lin     1181      19 Feb 95           staged protest in Safe Area
2. Yan Naing   1574      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
3. Kyaw Thu    1593      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
4. Paing Htoo  1828      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
5. Kyaw Zay Ya 1873      19 Feb 95           staged protest in Safe Area
6. Toe Toe     1883      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
7. Soe Oo      3309      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
8. Tin Htut    3799      19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area
9. San Tun Aung 5070     19 Feb 95           staged protest in Safe Area
10. Htun Htun Oo 5689    19 Jan 95           staged protest in Safe Area

The following persons left for resettlement in  Australia directly from the SDC:

1. Khin Maung Aye
2. Phone Myint 
3. Aung Kyaw Moe
4. Soe Soe Oo
5. Tin Htay
6. Ms. Mi Mi
7. Par Pa (a) Nyi Nyi Soe
8. Maung Maung Than

The list of persons still remaining in the SDC is as follows:

NO:  Name      NI No:    Entry to SDC   Alleged Offence
1. Han Thein   1149      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
2. Myint Lwin Oo1185     19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
3. Win Naing Tun1187     19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
4. Nanda Kyaw  1319      19 jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
5. Ye Hein     1340      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
6. Pho Shwe Hla1359      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
7. Thet Oo Naing 1360    19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
8. Aung Tun    1397      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
9. Naing Tun   1587      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
10. Win Htut   1852      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
11. Aung Myint Kyi1864   19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
12. Win Myint  2093      27 Jan 94      staged protest in Safe Area
13. Tin Kyaing 2300      19 Feb 95      staged protest in Safe Area
14. Tint Zaw Oo 2500     03 Dec 93      staged protest at Burm. Embassy
   (a) Toe Kyi
15. Ye Moe     2702      17 Dec 93      violation of Safe Area rules
16. Nyi Nyi Lwin 2318    19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
17. Kyaw Soe   3276      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
18. Min Khin Kyaw 3386   19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
19. Myo Aung   4103      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
20. Min Naing Aung 4123  19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
21. Safe Arean Oo     4274      09 Feb 95      violation of Safe Area rules
22. Tin Maung Htoo 4311  03 Dec 93      staged protest in Safe Area
23. Kyi Win    5209      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
24. Than Naing 5725      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
25. Aung Zaw   5850      19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
26. Tint Lwin Oo 6260    19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
27. Thant Zin Htun 6920  19 Jan 95      staged protest in Safe Area
28. Myint Soe  9259      19 Jan 95      staged protest at Burm. Embassy
29. Aung Kyaw Moe 7296   03 Dec 93      staged protest in Safe Area

They all seem weak, and they have been especially suffering from scabies, 
eye & ear  problems and mental illness.  The ossibility of HIV infection is 
also a serious problem. Myint Ko Ko (5688) was taken to the emergency ward
of a hospital for unknown reasons on 22 November 1995.

NOTES: Tint Zaw Oo (2500), Tin Maung Htoo (4311), Myint Soe
(7295) and Aung Kyaw Moe (7296) have been charged with illegal
entry and staging a protest in front of the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok and
on 1 January, they got sentenced only 40 days imprisonment or a fine of 2800 
Baht, but the order for  their releases has still not come out. 

 Is there a law that allows putting someone in such detention for longer than the 
sentence he received? What is the UNHCR's role supposed to be in ensuring fair 
treatment for these persons of concern? Is there any junstification stated by the 
parties concerned to inflict such unlawful punishment?

Among them, Myint Soe and Aung Kyaw Moe have not received  "person of concern" 
status by the UNHCR but they appealed to the UNHCR to get recognition.
(What has the UNHCR done to follow up their appeal cases?)

Ye Moe (2702) has been in the SDC since 17 December 1993 without having 
any court trial for a violation of the Safe Area's rules and Win Mying
(2093) has been in the SDC for a similar case since 27 June 1994.

(How long do they need to serve there for such a violation of the Safe Area's
rules and what are the sentences those violations?
Are there any stated sentences for such violations and what is
UNHCR's monitoring process to ensure fair treatment? 
What is UNHCR's concern? And what does the UNHCR do when
the authorities violate the rules instituted by themselves?
(eg: MOI stated that they would allow the issuance of week long travel
documents twice a month for every Safe area resident, but they don't
actually do this. What does the UNHCR do to maintain the rights MOI
has allowed for those refugees?

All students who staged protests in the Safe Area were detained in the SDC 
such a long time without having any trial.
(Without having legal treaties or court processes, one must 
question what the rules and justice actually mean)

Update on 28 December 1995
A group of ten were released from the SDC on 21/12/95, but the release
orders for Tint Zaw Oo (Toe Kyi), Tin Maung Htoo, Myint Soe and Aung 
Kyaw Moe (who have been detained there since December 1993) did not
come out yet. And hence, there are a total of 20 left in the SDC including 
Myint Ko Ko who has been in hospital for full-blown AIDS up to now.

U Ye Gaung, the journalist and his wife are still in the IDC and they
are being kept separately. U Ye Gaung is in cell 8 and his wife
is in one of the cells for women. Cell No: 8 is designated not
only for immigration acts but also for other charges.

[BurmaNet Editor's Note: U Ye Gaung, his wife, and the more than 20
Burmese students arrested around the same time are still in the IDC
despite reports that they were going to be sent to the Safe Camp three
weeks ago. - January 9, 1995]


January 7, 1995

Comment by Jennifer Beer, an anthropologist who has done extensive
research on tourism in Asia, on Khin Maung Kyi's article on tourism 
which appeared in Burma Debate and was recently posted on BurmaNet.

The tourism article is right on. The only time he goes overboard, to my
mind, is in the nostalgic notion that tourism will sully the local culture
as if other kinds of industrial development with international financing
won't also transform life and culture in Burma drastically as well. A
poli. scientist named Linda Richter published an excellent book in the mid
80s on the different tourism policies throughout Asia, and what a
*difference* the governmental stance on tourism makes in terms of
economics and cultural and political impact. Bali has managed to do some
things right, and preserve at least elements of their environment /
cultural pride / livelihood. (At least in contrast to places like Phuket.)
As I recall, Richter's section on India indicated the most success--they
plan albeit haphazardly for DOMESTIC tourism, and let the international
travellers fit in where they can. Much more robust and diversified
economic gain and less culture-smashing. Perhaps Burma can think about 
attracting Southeast Asian tourists (religious tourists....?) who have 
less need for 5 star hotels and super-infrastructure, and can be repeat 

Of course the main issue he talked about less is the use of tourism to
gain acceptance in the wider world--In Richter's book, she discusses
Fiji after the coup and how tourism was the cornerstone of the new gov'ts
legitimacy. Here you have a double-edged sword: the ruling junta gets to
prove that Burma is safe and open (to tourists' eyes), however I disagree
with the standard opinion that tourists come in and out without ever
learning or caring about the locale. Sure they don't tour slums and prison
camps--they are on *Vacation* for heaven's sake, not on a school trip--but
I think that once people have travelled somewhere they have more interest
in the place, it has a reality for them, and they will pick up snippets
from the media, pay more attention. If only to prove their
cosmopolitanness to their neighbors, they have to be able to say, "oh
Burma, yeah, I was there in '95 and boy they have troubles
there....beautiful though...and now they've released whats-her-name..." 
The packaged tour participants will come back to a place if they liked 
the first taste--this time maybe on their own. Anyway, I wouldn't 
discount the value of having more people coming in and out. Just makes 
ugly things harder to hide.


January 6, 1996 Phnom Penh, AFP

Cambodia will re-establish ambassadorial level diplomatic 
links with Burma later this month when a high-level 
delegation from Phnom Penh visits Rangoon, Cambodia's foreign 
minister said yesterday.

Foreign Minister Ung Huot said he would leave for Burma on 
the invitation of its foreign minister on January 25 and 
would be joined two days later by First Prime Minister Prince 
Norodom Ranariddh, who will be on a working visit.

Cambodia's new ambassador to Burma, Kek Larang, who also 
serves as Cambodia's ambassador to Laos, will present his 
credentials to Burmese authorities during the trip, Ung Huot said.

Cambodia still has property in Rangoon that was used as an embassy 
in 1960s. "I am going to inspect the property to see what is there and 
what we can do with it," he said. (BP)


January 6, 1996

The provincial administration has proposed two new sites to 
accommodate over 9,000 Karen refugees who are soon to be 
moved from a camp in Tha Song Yang District. 

The proposal to relocate the refugees from Sho Klo camp to a 
site further inside Thailand was prompted by security 
concerns. Chief among these is the possibility of reprisal 
attacks on the refugees by Democratic Karen Buddhist Army 
(DKBA) troops, a Thai official said.

The committee responsible for finding a location to 
accommodate the refugees has recommended two sites: at Km 53-
54 on the Mae Ramat-Tha Song Yang Road, Mae Ramat District; 
and at Km 48 on the Mae Sot-Umpang Road, Phob Phra District. 
Some 40 DKBA fighters clashed with Thai rangers on the Tha 
Song Yang-Mae Sarieng Road yesterday morning after the former 
robbed a Thai villager's grocery shop in Sho Klo camp and 
later broke into a hospital. (BP)


January 7, 1996  by RITA PATIYASEVI  (abridged)

Two countries eager to explore economic pentagon with Burma,
India, Bangladesh

THAILAND and Sri Lanka have agreed to propose that the Asian
Development Bank make a feasibility study of a possible economic
pentagon linking the two countries with Burma, India and Bangladesh.

The topic was discussed by Foreign Minister Kasem S Kasemsri and
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in Bangkok last week.

Nopporn Adchariyavanich, a counsellor at the Foreign Ministry's
Department of Economic Affairs, said all countries but Burma have
shown an interest in the proposal.

Cooperation would, to a considerable extent, help promote joint
private sector ventures in fields like trade, skills training,
tourism, agriculture and fisheries, manufacturing, transport and
telecommunications, he said.


January 8, 1996   (abridged)

THE border alert in Chiang Mai's Mae-Ai district will continue
until the Burmese government withdraws all of its troops from
area nearby formerly controlled by drug warlord Khun Sa's army,
Supreme Commander Gen Viroj Saengsanit said yesterday.

Gen Viroj said no reinforcements had been sent to the area.

"Thai troops will remain stationed along the border until all the
Burmese troops withdraw. When the Burmese go back to their
barracks, so will we," the general said.

He toned down the situation, saying that the Burmese have been
deployed along the border to block the escape route of Mong Tai
Army (MTA) troops from Burmese territory.


January 8, 1996

RANGOON _ Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called
on the country's ruling military junta to tone down it's
criticism of the democracy movement in the interest of national unity.

Speaking to about 5,000 supporters at one of the regular weekend
rallies held in front of her Rangoon home, Suu Kyi said the cause
of national unity was too important to be put at risk by partisan bickering.

We must therefore avoid doing anything harmful to national unity,
such as making adverse criticisms against one another," she said.
"So far I as we are concerned we welcome constructive criticism,
but we don't have time and energy to waste on destructive criticism."

Her remarks on Saturday were an apparent reference to recent
strong criticism of her political party, the National League for
Democracy, in the government-controlled press.

The New Light of Myanmar and other state-run newspapers have
accused her party of trying to sabotage the government's
development efforts and discredit a national convention convened
to draft principles for a new constitution. _ United Press International.


January 8,  1996
Mounting pressure left drug kingpin with little choice

CHIANG Mai _ Pressure from an internal split and an imminent
joint attack by the Burmese army and rival ethnic Wa forces
forced Golden Triangle warlord Khun Sa to recently open peace
talks with the Burmese junta.

Khun Sa, who was indicted six years ago by US courts on several
drug trafficking charges, also encountered difficulties after
Thailand sealed off the Thai Burmese border a year ago.

Bangkok's action prevented food and medical provisions reaching
Khun Sa's forces, according to his uncle and close associate Khun

Khun Saeng, said to be one of the key players in Khun Sa's
negotiations with Burma's rulers, said in an interview yesterday
that Khun Sa had no alternative but to open talks with Rangoon.

He said Khun Sa had been pressured politically and militarily
since Maj Gan Yord defected in June with about 2,000 troops of
the Mong Tai Army (MTA).

The defection had caused a serious split between the Chinese and
Shan membership of the MTA, he added.

The MTA was also pressured by the Burmese junta, the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), who had cooperated with
Khun Sa's ethnic Wa rivals to encircle and attack various MTA
outposts since June. The assaults resulted in about 300 death on
the MTA and Wa sides, said Khun Saeng.

The other factor was the decision by the Thai Army and government
to close various paths into the MTA areas opposite Mae Hong Son,
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, making it difficult for the MTA to
acquire food and medical provisions, he added. Khun Saeng, who
was responsible for MTA finances, said after the Thai closure,
the MTA had to pay Bt2,500-3,000 for each pick-up load of goods
and Bt500 for each traveller crossing the Thai border.

The Burmese side had also demanded a Bt200,000 protection fee a
month, with some Thais sharing the financial benefits, he said.  

Under the deal with SLORC, the MTA would give up some of its
weaponry and MTA troops would be transformed into local militia
forces, which would help Rangoon develop the country, according
to Khun Saeng.

He said SLORC would seize all MTA heavy weapons, allowing them
only personal firearms.

Khun Sa's secret deal with SLORC has caused some dissension in
the MTA, especially among the leading Shan members and grassroots

Maj Kyaw Htun, an MTA officer, said he and 300 other troops had
fled MTA headquarters at Homong, opposite Mae Hong Son province,
before the Burmese troops marched in to take control of the area.

He said he recently learned that Khun Sa had sent Chinese
emissaries to hold secret talks with SLORC without informing Shan
members of the MTA.

Kyaw Htun said he found out that Khun Sa had agreed to surrender
the MTA controlled area to Rangoon.

"Khun Sa's decision was a betrayal of the Shan revolutionary
cause. It's a sell-out of the Shan land to the Burmese. It's a
well planned conspiracy," he said.

He added that Khun Sa had basically used MTA members of Chinese
origin from various outposts to secretly talk with Burmese
authorities. SLORC had asked the MTA to lay down all arms by Jan
3, he said.

Kyaw Htun said a large number of Shan troops in the MTA had fled
Homong into Thailand and that 2-3,000 of them were trying to reunite.

He said by Jan 3 about 2-3,000 Burmese troops of the 55th, 99th
and 525th battalions had full control of Homong and various
strategic MTA outposts.

The Shan members, he said, were very displeased with Khun Sa's
surrender and the handing over of arms and decided to continue
their struggle for the independence of Burma's northeastern Shan


January 8, 1996    (slightly abridged)

True to form, Shan politics has taken another convoluted turn.
The latest report is that Slorc's troops are now in Khun Sa's
mountain redoubt, Ho Mong. According to Shan sources, Khun Sa has
agreed to a token surrender in exchange for Home Guard status and
other yet unknown "dispensations".

It can also be said that the high-stakes, cat-and-mouse game
between Slorc and Khun Sa has just begun. The latter is certainly
not without friends in Rangoon, Bangkok, Vientiane, Kunming,
Taipei etc. It is very possible that Khun Sa might be able to
retire in comfortable obscurity somewhere. Being a wily operator,
whose political-economic entrepreneurial skills are considerable,
he may have already made such an arrangement.

On the other hand, he may be in danger since there are powerful
figures from many countries who cannot afford to have him put on
an open, American-style trial.

What prompted Khun Sa's "surrender", according to those in the
know, is the shift in the centre of gravity of the heroin
business to China, via Yunnan, and to Laos and Cambodia. In other
words, big heroin players have found other more respectable
partners and protectors, now that the bug of gaining wealth by
any means has bitten power-holders and officials, particularly in
Burma and Yunnan.

A new, and bigger, transnational heroin network has been
established, and Khun Sa's importance has declined. As a result,
his coffers have these past few years been much depleted. To add
to his woes, a strong Shan contingent led by Gunyod defected and
entered into a ceasefire arrangement with Slorc in mid-1995.

According to some veteran Shan leaders, Gunyod's defection was
one factor which forced Khun Sa to "return to his masters" _
conjecture which sounds weird, but given the nature of Shan
politics, seems quite reasonable (though quite illogical,
needless to say).

To make matters more complex, a contingent of Khun Sa's MTA (Mong
Tai Army) led by his long-time "Foreign Minister", Kheunsai, has
not surrendered. It is reported that this group has established
informal links (or understandings) with both Khun Sa and Gunyod.

Further complicating the situation, the Wa army (Slorc's
ceasefire ally) has launched an offensive against Khun Sa's Home
Guard army. The war between the two is likely to drag on for a
long while, despite the fact that both are, so to speak, on the
same side of the political fence.

>From the above, it would seem that with Khun Sa's "surrender",
although much appears to have changed, there is, at the bottom,
very little that is really different. Shan politics and wars
remain, as in the past, the function of competition for profit
among big players in the heroin industry (global in scope) and
their clients, ie, governmental and non-governmental warlords of
Burma and Shan State.

In the meantime, it seems that the 2 people of Shan State remain
condemned for some time to a life either as debt-ridden producers
of raw material (opium) for the global heroin industry, hewers of
wood for various "armies", cannon-fodder of a variety of
warlords, and powerless, voiceless victims of political violence
and wars. This is all the more so in the "new world order" where
Deng's dictum, "to be rich is glorious", has become the sacred
gospel of those possessing highly mobile economic power,
legitimized by the "global triumph" of capitalism.

With the collapse of communism and Yunnan's push to "modernize",
via links with the financial hub of the region, Singapore, Burma
is well on its way to becoming a lucrative backwater for
Yunnanese and Singaporean tycoons (and would-be tycoons). The
most likely result is a Burma which is more of a marketplace than
a sovereign political entity. Its future will increasingly be
shaped by the imperatives of powerful economic powerhouses from
abroad, with the result that the already existing state-society
dysfunction and political decay will be perpetuated by both
outside economic powerhouses and the predatory Burmese state _
not unlike the many states of sub-Saharan Africa.

Given the trajectory of the "new world order", marked by a
situation where economic powerhouses are able to hold states and
governments hostage to the needs of profit-taking, Shan State,
and Burma as well (like sub-Saharan Africa), may perhaps
represent a harbinger o f things to come for the rest of the
world. The slide of humanity toward a hell ruled by apolitical,
asocial greed (a more honest, if crude, name for
"profit-maximization") seems inevitable, unless those who purport
to value human freedom, dignity and human rights above greed, are
able to get their act together.

Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe is a son of the late Sao Shwe Thaike, Burma's
first Independent president from 1948-1952. This article was
contributed to the Nation.


BURMESE DEMAND              January 7, 1996

More than 200 police oversaw the removal of 140 stalls along 
the Moei river yesterday. The evictions, ordered by Deputy 
Interior Minister Suchart Tancharoen ahead of the Jan 8 
deadline, met no resistance. Burma claims the stalls, which 
lie across the border from Myawaddy, encroach on its  territory.

The owners agreed to move to a one-rai plot nearby in 
accordance with a resolution at a meeting chaired by Deputy 
Finance Minister Newin Chidchob at the Finance Ministry on 
Dec 27. Traders can remain at the site for a year, after which they 
will be given space at two other plots owned by the Treasury Department.