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BurmaNet News January 14, 1996

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

The BurmaNet News: January 14, 1996
Issue #320

Noted in Passing:

	Khun Sa paid 500,000 kyat a month (about US$5,000 at the black
	market of exchange or $83,333 at the official rate) since 1992 to
	one general who was commanding this region. - an MTA officer



Yindee Lertcharoenchok

NEW YORK-based Human Rights Watch/Asia has called for the
immediate release of 13 Burmese performing artists and video-shop
workers who were detained this week in Mandalay, Burma's second largest city.

The group said the detentions "appear to be part of a pattern of
harassment and intimidation directed against members and
supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD)," the
political party headed by opposition leader and Nobel laureate
Aung San Suu Kyi.

"Since it would be disastrous in public relations terms to put
Aung San Suu Kyi back under house arrest, the Burmese government
appears to be going after her supporters instead, using draconian
laws that outlaw public gatherings," said Sidney Jones, executive
director of HRW/Asia in a press release sent here.

The statement said of the 13 arrested between Jan 7 and 10, nine
were members of a song and dance troop (A Nyein) from Mandalay
and two were comedians who had participated in a private
Independence Day celebration at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon on
Jan 4. They were detained on their return to their homes in Mandalay.

Human Rights Watch said it had since learned that four other
people were arrested between Jan 7 and 10.

Those arrested include two female dancers, Daw Win Ma and Hnin
Par Par, and another unidentified woman, an
assistant to the dancers. Six members of the band were also
arrested: U Tin Myint Hlaing, U Win Htay, U Sein Hla, U Win
Htway, U Thaung Tun, and an unidentified man.

The two comedians were identified as Par Par Lay and Lu Zaw and
Par Par Lay.

Par Par Lay, who was reportedly released only last year after 18
months in jail for satirizing members of the military government,
is an NLD member.

Two days before the celebration at Suu Kyi's house, U Win Htein,
the NLD's internal affairs liaison officer, was detained for
questioning by unidentified officials and released 24 hours later.

Prior to this, four members of the Karen ethnic minority
committee who were organizing a celebration for the Karen New
Year on Dec 24 were picked up on Dec 23 and detained for 12 days
after they extended an invitation to Suu Kyi.

The four were identified as Mahn Htay Shein, chairman of the
organizing committee, Saw Tin Win, a member of the NLD central
committee in the Karen state capital of Pa-an, Tin Tun Oo and Ko
Myint Htun, NLD youth members.

The statement said the four visited Suu Kyi on Dec 23 to invite
her to Insein township, where many of Rangoon's Karen live, for
the celebration. "On return to Insein that night, all four were
arrested." They were released on Jan 2 or 3.

Suu Kyi herself was stopped by local council officials when her
car approached Insein. She was later taken to the nearby
military headquarters at Gone Myint Thayar where the deputy
regional commander, Thura Myint Maung, brought in the four
arrested men to read out regulations that the celebrations were
permitted on the condition that no members of political parties
could be invited.

Leaders of the Karen guerilla force, the Karen National Union,
who went to Moulmein and later Rangoon for peace talks with the
Slorc in December said during a recent interview that they
believed that Suu Kyi was barred from attending the Karen
celebration in Insein because of their presence at the event.

The Karen delegation to the ceasefire talks went to Rangoon at
the invitation of Burmese junta leader Lt Gen Khin Nyunt
for a joint meeting.

They were later invited by the organizers of the Karen New Year
committee to attend the three-day celebration in Insein.

Two video-shop workers were arrested for distributing video
copies of Suu Kyi's "People's Forum'', which is an informal
public gathering that has been held in front of her home every
weekend since her release last July from nearly six years of house 
arrest. They were identified as Zaw Zaw Myaing and U Aung Soe.

The Human Rights Watch called on the Burmese authorities to cease
the harassment and arbitrary detention of members of the NLD and
allow all Burmese to exercise their right to freedom of association.


January 13, 1996    (abridged)

BURMA's opium warlord Khun Sa paid a Burmese army general a large
sum of money to facilitate his surrender and a peaceful
retirement from the drug war, one of his officers said yesterday.

"He paid millions to a general to guarantee his peaceful retirement after 
his surrender," the officer in Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army said.

The surrender was worked out in December and Khun Sa gave up his
strongholds in northeastern Burma's Shan state to Burmese forces
at the beginning of the month.

The MTA officer said he had spoken to a colleague directly
involved in the negotiations between Khun Sa's representatives
and Burmese army commanders to arrange the surrender and the pay-off.

He said he expected Khun Sa to be put on trial and then confined
in some safe location before being allowed to retire quietly.

He said we was not surprised by the pay-off as Khun Sa had been
bribing regional Burmese army commanders for years.

"Khun Sa paid 500,000 kyat a month (about US$5,000 at the black
market of exchange or $83,333 at the official rate) since 1992 to
one general who was commanding this region," the officer said.

The MTA forces responded positively...when they surrendered
 ...therefore the state has to warmly welcome them," Lt Gen Tin
Oo, a senior member of the ruling military body, told a meeting
of army officers on Thursday.

Tin Oo's remarks, reported in state-run media yesterday, were the
first public comments on Khun Sa by a government leader.


January 13, 1996                  Tak

TALKS are being held to pave the way for the return of 70,000
refugees from Thailand to Burma, it was announced yesterday.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is negotiating
with Burma's State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to
prepare sites for their return deputy secretary-general of the
National Security Council Kachadpai Burusphat said.

Thailand recently asked the UNHCR to talk with Rangoon to accept
the refugees when things return to normal after minority rebels
call an end to their armed struggle against the government.

"It is time for minority people to have a chance to return to
help develop and create peace in their country," he said.

Mr Kachadpai said the ceasefire in the north of Burma and the
surrender of opium warlord Khun Sa indicated the situation in
Burma has improved and that the border between Thailand and Burma
would be more peaceful.

Only the Karen National Union has not reached a ceasefire
agreement with SLORC but there were reports of contact between
the two sides on several occasions he said.

"I hope they reach an agreement soon" he said.

Thailand had asked the UNHCR to talk to Burmese authorities to
ensure the safety of Karen refugees when they are repatriated.

Mr Kachadpai, who was inspecting camps in the northern province,
said the UNHCR should help resettle the refugees in Burma while
setting up projects to help SLORC cope with the problem.

He said 74,984 Burmese have been living in 18 camps along the
Thai-Burmese border since Rangoon stepped up its offensive
against the minority groups after 1984.

However, another 10,000 refugees have lived outside the camps,
building shelters in forests and Thai villages.  They have been earning 
a living by becoming labourers in rice fields.


January 13, 1996

RENEGADE Karen troops reportedly intend to kidnap both former and
active leaders of the anti-Rangoon Karen National Union (KNU) to
put pressure on Karen refugees to return to Burma from camps on Thai soil.

A senior Thai official in Mae Sot district, Tak Province, said
yesterday that Phra U Sujana leader of the Democratic Karen
Buddhist Organisation (DKBO), which. is supportive of the Burmese
regime, wanted Karen refugees in Thailand to return home to help
reconstruct and develop the Moei and Salween river basins.

The DKBO's military arm the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, shot
dead Maj Gen Hta Lue, a former KNU general, on Thursday at his
lodgings in Mae Hla camp Tha Song Yang district.

The Thai official said the renegade Karens, who broke away from
the KNU over a year ago, originally intended to kidnap Maj-Gen
Hta Lue to force his son, Col Bena, a KNU staff officer, to join them.

Col Bena and KNU Forestry Minister Aung San met DKBA leaders
early last year to discuss their possible defection and the sharing of 
benefits derived from forestry resources, said the official, adding there 
hasn't yet been any reply from the two KNU officers.

The official said it was unknown which KNU leaders would be the
next to be abducted or murdered by the renegade Karens.

The KNU army has now all but disintegrated with most of its
soldiers now living in refugee camps on Thai soil.

In Mae Hong Son, two Burmese deserters were arrested. Pvt Tun
Hla, 19, and Pvt Hla Myo Aung, 16, told police they had been with
the 218th Battalion, engaged in action against Karenni forces.'

The soldiers, who were arrested at Ban Nam Pieng, said they had
dumped two G3 rifles and 400 rounds and four grenades before
crossing the border.



Dear Friends,
We believe information is power. Our first priority is to disseminate 
important information and daily events in Burma to  you.

We believe that to supply accurate, independent and impartial 
information should be our number one priority. We pledge to 
keep you informed of all significant events taking place in 
Burma during the year of 1996. 

In 1995, it was business as usual in Burma with things moving 
slowly. At the beginning of this year Manerplaw was captured 
by Slorc troops. The Karen's last stronghold, Kawmoora camp, 
fell shortly after to Slorc's howitzers.

In February, the UN condemned the Slorc for human rights 
abuses including the widespread use of torture. Alvaro de 
Soto, assistant UN Secretary-General visited Burma and met 
Slorc leaders including civilian foreign minister U Ohn Gyaw. 

U Ohn Gyaw is the only civilian minister in Slorc cabinet. Ohn 
Gyaw has another title. The diplomatic community call him the 
'defence minister' as he is always defending Slorc and the 
Tatmadaw even though he never joined the Armed Forces. 

Former Prime Minister U Nu died in Rangoon. His death was 
mourned by students. Nine students including women sang a 
revolutionary song and laid a wreath. Was it a felony? They 
were taken away by intelligence officers and later received 
seven years imprisonment. [Warning for tourists who are 
preparing to visit Burma in 1996: Don't sing a song and don't 
bring a bouquet!]

Lt Gen Khin Nyunt lashed out at the BBC and VOA. He said they 
are the mouthpieces of pro-democracy Burmese in exile. But 
lately the VOA's Myint Zaw Lwin had a lot of 'tete-a-tetes' 
with Burma's feared intelligence chief. Lt Gen Khin Nyunt shut 
his mouth and stopped making anti-VOA protests during his 
public speeches.

In March, Slorc freed two prominent political prisoners; Kyi 
Maung and Tin Oo. Senior Gen Than Shwe paid an official visit 
to Vietnam. 

In Shan State, Khun Sa's platoon launched a predawn assault on 
Slorc troops in the border town of Tachilek. Slorc was enraged 
and the border has been hermetically sealed up until now. Gen 
Khin Nyunt asked for compensation from Thailand because the 
Shans attacked from Thai side.

Karenni rebels reached a cease-fire agreement with Slorc that 
fell apart in late June.

In April, Buddhist Karen crossed the border to kidnap Karen 
refugees and threaten them to return home. 

In May, US Congressman Bill Richardson went to Burma but was 
refused to meeting with dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 
Richardson said: "serious repression, regression and 
retrenchment" in the area of human rights continue to exist in 
Burma. He said, "I was stiffed."

The Chairman of Slorc went to Indonesia and Singapore. Gen 
Than Shwe discussed the prospect of Burma's participation in 
Asean activities.

The Mon guerrilla group reached a cease-fire agreement with 
Slorc despite a split within the Mon camp over whether to sign 
or not sign. Mon leader Nai Shwe Kyin later went to Rangoon 
and shook hands with the top leaders of Slorc. This became 
fashion among the ethnic leaders. It seemed they don't want to 
be left out of the chance to get a 'good deal.' 

Nai Shwe Kyin was told not to meet the 'third party' while in 
Rangoon obviously, Suu Kyi and politicians. Nai Shwe Kyin 
obeyed the order.

But we were pleased he was able to meet his family members. 

At the same time, sources in Rangoon reported Slorc issued a 
passport for Nai Shwe Kyin. But he can travel to no more than 
five countries, sources added. He is happy to be legal though! 

A full-scale battle erupted in Kayah state following the 
collapse of a cease-fire agreement between the Karenni and Slorc. 

In July, something startling happened. About 3:30pm our office 
received a phone call from a newspaper friend that Suu Kyi was 
released. It was hard to believe. We called up our friends and 
diplomats  in Burma and Bangkok. One Burma observer said, "how bizarre!" 

We turned on the TV and watched. People in Rangoon said, "No 
way". But they promised to go and check at University Avenue. 
When we saw Larry [BBC Southeast Asia Section] on BBC TV his 
voice was shaking and he was obviously in disbelief. 30 
minutes later we got confirmation from Rangoon. The Lady was freed.

The whole of July was about Suu Kyi. She warned foreign 
investors not to rush in but they didn't listen. British, 
Japanese, Singaporean, Korean, and Thai businessmen thought 
there was a golden opportunity to do business because the 
junta had freed the Lady. Tokyo resumed its assistance to 
Burma. Some Burmese in Tokyo and England criticised Tokyo 
officials. One said: "They [Japanese] have a very bad 
understanding of Burma." 

We guess the old man's strong links with certain Japanese 
played a major role. Now Japan and Burma have an air-link.

In August, Burmese fishermen in Ranong were murdered by Thais, 
further damaging an already strained bilateral relationship. 
Secretary One always blamed and accused Thai officials. It was 
Surin [Thai former deputy foreign minister] who rebuked Gen 
Khin Nyunt's idiotic accusations. Surin is respected among Burmese dissidents.

Kasem, the current foreign minister of Thailand, and a senior 
former diplomat, also won respect when he gave the greenlight 
to the Thai ambassador in Rangoon to see the Lady. This is one 
constructive engagement policy analysts can believe! But Slorc 
did not allow Asean ambassadors to have a luncheon with the Lady.

In September, the US ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright 
went to Rangoon. She met Secretary One. But there was no nice 
chit-chat. The tough lady met Burma's powerful general. 

Albright told the press later that Khin Nyunt wore a 'nervous 
smile.' Khin Nyunt was furious. We wonder how many nights he 
could not sleep and shouted out 'damn Albright'. 

Another ace for the year was Thailand's Defence Minister Gen 
Chavalit. Chavalit went to see his 'brothers' in Rangoon. But 
he is not trusted by Slorc, one well-placed source in Thailand 
said. He later went to China and asked Beijing leaders to halt 
their open-handed military assistance to Rangoon.

In October, the National Convention was put back by one month. 
The junta's guise was not reasonable: to avoid disrupting 
rice-planting and observance of Buddhist holidays. Some speculated 
it was because of the solar eclipse. Slorc leaders are superstitious. 

Suu Kyi sought to resume her previous position as general-
secretary of the NLD, but Slorc rejected the move. 

Finally, we know that both sides were putting on airs. It became 
clear that the honeymoon period was over. The junta had no desire 
to talk with her and the opposition. Suu Kyi and NLD have been 
marginalized. But she is still popular. But how long will it last?

We see no hint of compromise from the ruling junta though 
there were hopeful signs when they had set Suu Kyi free in 
July. The opposition's repeated calls for a genuine political 
dialogue were met with total silence.

In November, the Slorc-sponsored National Convention resumed 
but the NLD walked out. 

All 86 delegates boycotted the convention. It became a 
ridiculous caper. Only a dozen of elected representatives 
remain while  the others were all handpicked by the junta. 
Without the NLD, the military-sponsored National Convention, 
some call it the never-ending National Convention, continues at a snail-pace. 

Slorc raised the allowances for remaining delegates by six baht a day. 
At the blackmarket rate it comes to 24.50 Kyats a day. You can have noodles.

Earlier Slorc faced an extra blow. The UN human rights 
investigator Yozo Yokota's report said Burma may be using forced 
labor for tourism. His reports said women were raped by soldiers. 

Burmese soldiers view rape as a right. But Slorc asked, how 
can anyone from this society commit such outrageous crimes? Good 
question? We strongly believe Slorc should answer instead of asking.

In Shan State, drug kingpin Khun Sa announced his retirement. 
But he said if he was not around some one would take over and 
the lucrative trade in opium won't be terminated. His request 
to live in Thailand was immediately turned down by Thai generals.

Recently, the US was planning to announce a $2 million award 
for information leading to the capture of the warlord. Not a 
bad deal but who dares to do so?  

Up until now, Suu Kyi and her colleagues are free to speak at 
her University Avenue compound. 

Suu Kyi, Tin Oo and Kyi Maung are still permitted to speak out 
but we are not sure when Slorc will stop them?

They still don't leave their fortress. Suu Kyi warned students 
not to take to the streets. She knows Burma has plenty of 
trigger-happy soldiers. 

It is sad but the truth is that despite the good cheer and 
happiness in July all hopes are fading as the military leaders 
continue to walk their own path.  

One observer said things in Burma are unpredictable. Gen Ne 
Win is still alive. Seemingly, he has none of the regrets or 
apologies of former South Korean strongman Roh Tae Woo. Even 
if Ne Win wanted to do so, his generals especially Khin Nyunt 
would not allow him to because they might have to follow suit. 

Ne Win's favourite daughter Sanda Win now runs the Nawarat 
hotel in Rangoon. The hotel is a gathering spot for high-class 
prostitutes said a Rangoon-based diplomat. But he declared 
firmly that he visits there only occasionally and takes none 
of them. We believe so.

"Prostitution in Burma is illegal but you can find them at 
Sanda's hotel," he added.

It was wishful thinking that there was a split within Slorc 
when people witnessed Lt Gen Khin Nyunt's lone presence at the 
Rangoon University Diamond Jubilee Conference. Some foreign 
visitors were impressed because Khin Nyunt gave his speech in 
English and did well.  "I know he is smarter than Gen Tin Oo 
and Gen Than Shwe," one commented. Many foreign guests who met 
Khin Nyunt were impressed with the general according to 
several sources. "He should be Number One, he will turn Burma 
around," one diplomat said. We would like to believe him. 

Second Secretary Two Lt Gen Tin Oo recently lashed out at 
opposition parties. He said Tatmadaw would resolutely take 
action against and 'annihilate' those who harm the interests 
of the entire nation. We would like to know what interests and 
whose interests he was talking about? 

In his speech, Tin Oo warned he would crush those who relied 
on 'alien forces.' Tin Oo recently came back from Russia. 
Sources said he bought military hard-ware and choppers. Senior 
Gen Than Shwe is also planning to pay an official visit to 
China. Tin Oo should warn Gen Than Shwe instead of the people. 

But we also notice why Tin Oo gave such tough-sounding 
speeches recently. He wanted to become Defence Minister and 
Supreme Commander of Tatmadaw. We are not certain though. "Can 
Tin Oo overthrow Khin Nyunt?"

In December, Senior Gen Than Shwe, also known as 'sullen Than 
Shwe', came to Thailand. Lt Gen Khin Nyunt accompanied him. 
Thais were worried for security. 

A dozen security guards were assigned to protect the sullen 
general and his delegation. But nothing happened. In fact, 
nothing happened except that a handful of former students and 
foreign students including Thais went to protest against the 
visit and Asean's invitation. There we saw Thailand's well-
known double-faced policy.

As a result of the visit, many Burmese were rounded up in 
Bangkok. We heard Moe Thee Zun's office was forced to close 
down. Moe Thee himself is stuck in the US. Myanmarese military 
attache Col Thein Swe told Thai counterparts to arrest him 
when he returns to Thailand.

Our Burmese friends who watched Than Shwe's presence at the 
Asean Summit and meeting with Thailand's highly-respected 
figures  lacked respect. Unlike other honourable guests he 
stood awkwardly there for a few seconds then shook hands with 
one and a few seconds later..... another. His sullen face made no change. 

According to CV presented at the Asean Summit Gen Than Shwe 
has no proper education. But according to a short profile 
about Gen Than Shwe he is most powerful general and plays a 
constant mediating role between hardline and liberal factions 
within the leadership. 

Even though Burma's generals were quiet in Bangkok, they are 
the ones who scorn and bully people at home.

Karen rebels sent out a delegation to Rangoon but Slorc's wish 
was not fulfilled because they wanted Gen Maung Maung to come. 
But the Karens sent a mid-level delegation. It was believed 
that some Burman groups and individuals are unhappy with the 
cease-fires reached ethnic groups because they voiced no 
support of the NLD's boycott.

Good news or bad news? Whatever it is, Myint Zaw Lwin at the 
VOA [Burmese Section] might be fired, sources in Washington 
said. She realised the price was quite high after many nice 
conversations and interviews with Slorc leaders and Dr Khin 
Win Shwe who happens to be Gen Khin Nyunt's wife. Myint Zaw 
Lwin donated money to the regime. Burmese want to hear 
information not propaganda.

Finally, we are happy to learn that many people in Europe and 
the US appreciate our newsletter. Thanks for your support. We 
also got many letters from Asian countries. Some Burmese 
embassy officials appreciate the Irrawaddy. But to be honest, 
we had nothing to do with the recent defection of Dili Kumar!   

All in all, all of us here at the Burma Information Group 
would like to thank you for your gracious support during 1995. 

A Happy New Year To You.
-- The Editor



Shortly after Burmese generals threatened to annihilate' the 
Aung San Suu Kyi-led democracy movement, chairman of the State 
Law and Order Restoration Council Senior Gen Than Shwe came to 
Thailand to attend the 5th Asean Summit.

The invitation to Rangoon will be of questionable benefit to 
Asean itself and Thailand. Five years after Burma held its 
free and fair general elections the military rulers are still 
in power. They refused to respect the outcome of the election. 
In addition, Asean leaders including Thailand's are aware that 
Burma's prisons are filled with political prisoners including 
young students. Recently, the junta renewed its rigid stance 
and fiery attacks on the opposition. 

If we are to face facts it must be accepted that there has 
been no political development in Burma. Until now, Burma has 
been treated as a pariah state. In spite of this, Asean leaders made 
a bold decision to invite Burmese leaders to their summit.  

Since last year Burma has shown its seriousness about 
obtaining observer status at the annual Asean Meeting. Last 
July Burma acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation at 
the Asean foreign ministers' annual meeting in Brunei. Burma's 
Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw accompanied the chairman of Slorc 
to officially declare at the Asean Summit his country's desire 
to become a member of Asean. U Ohn Gyaw also promised, if 
Burma joined Asean, it won't be a sleeping partner. He said: 
"We look forward to gaining observer status at the next Asean 
ministerial Meeting in Indonesia."

While U Ohn Gyaw pressed Asean leaders for observer status, 
Gen Than Shwe told Asean leaders in Bangkok his country is 
progressing towards an open-market economy, a process that 
will lead to democracy.

It seemed Burma is ready to abandon its long-standing neutral 
stance' on foreign policy and hitch its wagon to Asean. 

But analysts and Asean officials have been trying to examine 
Burma's hidden agenda. Seemingly, the military calculated the 
upshot of joining the Asean. For Slorc, there would be nothing 
to yield but much to gain. They could use this forum to gain 
legitimacy and as well as enjoy economic and trade benefits. 

The association adopted its controversial constructive 
engagement policy with Burma in 1991. Nevertheless, the 
grouping has been almost mute on the need for democratization 
and taken no action to encourage an end to the suppression of 
the democratic movement in that country. Asean has shied away 
from issue of Burma. 

Asean leaders said they preferred 'quiet diplomacy' rather 
than publicly condemning the repressive military regime.

They stuck to their well-known excuse; the principle of non-
interference in other countries' affairs. So they ignored at 
Burma's continuing gross human rights violations and political 
persecution while Asean businessmen rushed in with hundreds of 
millions of dollars in investments. 

Asean officials argue that economic engagement can turn Burma 
around but there is little evidence to indicate it will 
happen. Critics said that what this policy appears to have 
actually done is to corrupt Asean. 

Look at recent events in that country one week before Gen Than 
Shwe came to meet Asean leaders; the United Nations adopted a 
resolution urging the Slorc leaders to negotiate with Suu Kyi 
and work together to achieve national reconciliation and steps 
towards democracy.

There is, however, strong speculation that the opposition in 
Burma might face a crackdown soon. Dissidents even predicted 
that after the Asean Summit authorities would begin a tough crackdown. 

We have learned that U Tin Oo senior leader of the NLD have 
been preparing his bags to go to prison. It was also learned 
that inmates at the notorious Insein prison have been 
transferred to upper Burma in order to make more rooms for 
newly-arrived political prisoners in the case of mass arrests. 

What's more, we are disturbed to learn the news that U Sein 
Hla Aung of the NLD in Mandaly was arrested by military 
intelligence shortly after he distributed a video of Suu Kyi 
giving speeches. He was arrested on 15 December one day after 
the Asean Summit finished.

Hence, critics are not entirely wrong. When they say: "Asean 
is a silent partner in crime." Strong and hard-hitting indeed. 
Burma's Suu Kyi has echoed such criticism. The Lady questioned 
the policy recently. "The question is for whom has it been 
constructive? Was it constructive for the Burmese people in 
general? Was it constructive for a limited business community? 

Suu Kyi suggested Asean governments, including Thailand, put 
the people of Burma first. "The people are more important than 

Without such doubt, it is time to correct and counter these criticisms 
indeed. Asean leaders should prove that criticisms are wrong. 

Shortly after Suu Kyi's release Thailand's foreign minister, 
Kasem S Kasemsri, made some constructive moves when he 
authorized Thailand's ambassador in Rangoon to visit the 
opposition leader. 

Kasem also expressed his opinion that the military leaders 
should open a political dialogue [with opposition ] to achieve 
genuine national reconciliation.

Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas, who was present at the 
Summit, strongly defended Asean's policy with Burma. Alatas 
espoused his belief in quiet diplomacy. "Quietly talking them 
[Slorc leaders] out of their shell and asking them to see the 
benefits of being open. We think it has already had some 
benefits and concrete results, although it is a slow process."  
Alatas said he doesn't believe the country is trying to use 
Asean to ward off attacks by the international community.

In fact, it is understandable why one of Asean ministers is 
defending the Burma's dictators. One Asean official recently 
said: "If you look at Asean, which countries do not have 
problems with human rights? So why pick on Burma..." Alatas 
himself admitted Indonesia has a problem with East Timor. 

Whatever the case, many people have come to accept that Burma 
will become member of Asean in the future, possibly as soon as 
the year 2000. 

Though, there are many questions that remained to be answered: 
will the military leaders set the nation free before joining 
Asean? Will they restore democracy and freedom? Will they 
listen to international opinion? Will they negotiate with the opposition? 

Many people including some senior Asean officials are unconvinced.

If Asean believes in 'quiet diplomacy' it is Asean's 
obligation to keep up a dialogue with Burma's leaders. 

Like Indonesia's Alatas said they should nudge Burma to 
undertake genuine changes for the sake of the country, if they want to 
attend the next Asean Meeting in Indonesia. 

On that account, Asean leaders should tell Burma's military 
leaders that there should be genuine political dialogue 
between the opposition and the ruling junta. Before giving 
observer status to Burma at the upcoming Asean Meeting in 
Indonesia Asean should lay down specific conditions. 

Some of the conditions could be to begin a political dialogue 
with the opposition, halt political persecution, set free all 
political prisoners and review the Slorc-sponsored National Convention.

Not only this, but Asean leaders should establish, as they do 
with the military leaders, a formal dialogue with leaders of 
the democracy movement. This shouldn't be difficult since 
Asean has never had a problem to embracing the military leaders.

Finally, the 28-year-old association should not forget that it 
represents the voice of 470 million people in Southeast Asia, 
and not just those of several governments. Because of this 
Asean should show its support and solidarity to the 45 million 
Burmese people, not to those who are in power. By doing so, 
Asean will gain credit. 

One day in the future 45 million Burmese people will become a 
member of this association. Asean should note the fact that 
Slorc does not represent the people of Burma and 'Slorc' alone 
cannot join Asean. Asean's policy should be beneficial to the 
people of Burma not a handful of men in power and privileged few.

In fact, the ball is in Asean's court. Asean leaders should 
open their eyes to the suffering in Burma under the present regime. 

Most important of all, we strongly believe that at the recent Asean 
Summit the association has gained power and is now in a strong position 
to make constructive advice and recommendations to Burma's leaders 
because we all know Burma is serious about joining the association.  

?The Editor



Ye Htut gets 7 years of prison sentence. His trial was held in 
the notorious Insein prison without family members or presence 
of an independent press. It is not known yet if his family 
members are allowed to visit him. It was believed that during 
the investigation he was severely tortured. 

Particularly, he was asked about his connection with the Burma 
Information Group (BIG). His confessions were believed to be 
sent to Burmese embassy officials in Bangkok.  (See: The 
Irrawaddy, Vol. 3 No.23) (BIG)



"I think Daw Suu Kyi doesn't like Japanese reporters," says 
one Japanese reporter. The reporter and his friends who are 
also Japanese went to interview the Lady at her residence 
shortly after her release. They were impressed but they 
thought Suu Kyi didn't  like them. 

Why? There was an answer later. "She likes to give interviews 
to western journalists," the reporter complained. Suu Kyi 
picked the world service for her first TV interview. Then CNN 
and ABC in Australia. 

It is understandable why the Lady picked the world's giant and 
powerful broadcasting stations for interviews first. She did 
give interviews to Japanese TV stations and even The Nation 
News Talk programme in Thailand. 

But two western journalists who met Suu Kyi said most 
journalists asked quite peculiar questions such as, What is 
your economic policy? How do you intend to control inflation? 
On these questions Suu Kyi holds no position. 

But some Burmese residents in Tokyo say Japanese are 
apolitical. A long-time resident in Tokyo said, "I can 
understand why Suu Kyi doesn't like them." Some suggested that 
since her release the Lady has given many interviews. Some 
reporters complained they were dissatisfied with her answers. 

Should she stop meeting the press? Without doubt, Slorc will 
be quite pleased. One NLD member said, "Definitely, she can't 
make everyone happy, especially the newsmen."

However, sources in Rangoon said Japanese officials in Tokyo 
and Rangoon are engineering the Suu Kyi-Slorc dialogue. "It 
may happen soon, they have presently entered into talks with 
Slorc toward a full resumption of ODA." Already Mitsui and 
other Japanese construction companies and trading firms in 
Rangoon are returning to their pre-1988 prominence, while 
Mitsubishi Oil's announcement of a $70 million deal with 
Myamar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) just weeks after Suu 
Kyi's release indicates that many deals were 'in the pipeline' 
well beforehand. The 'special relationship' that Japan enjoyed 
with Burma due to the historical connection of having trained 
the Thirty Comrades, followed by continued monetary support 
for 'Comrade' Ne Win's regime from 1962-on, appears to be 
quite alive. (It is well known that the Gen has been a close 
friend and frequent house guest of the former WWII 'military-
industrial' giant Mitsui family.) (BIG)


Dec 95 London 

In an address to the Britain Burma Society describing his 
impressions of the Yangon University Diamond Jubilee 
Conference held this past 15-17 November, the first open 
international scholarly meeting to be convened in Burma since 
the 1950s, Dr Robert Taylor of the School of Oriental and African 
Studies (SOAS) commented that the Conference theme "Tradition in 
Contemporary Perspective" was both timely and problematic. 

Underscoring the SLORC's dual claims to be the guardians of 
"Myanmar tradition" and also the bringers of economic 
innovation?" By now, everyone openly admits that the Socialist 
Period was an utter failure" and the military leadership's 
choice to commemorate the founding of Rangoon University in 
1920 was likewise a celebration of the history of Burmese 
student politics, with which the military has a double-edged 
relationship. Rangoon (Yangon) University was the hotbed of 
student activism from which sprang Aung San's Dobama "We 
Burmese" Movement and subsequently the Burma Independence 
Army, a precursor to today's Tatmadaw; at the same time, 
Rangoon University students have since gone on to spearhead 
mass challenges to the military, such as the protests staged 
around former UN Sec-Gen U Thant's funeral in 1974 and the 
pro-democracy uprising of 1988. Likewise, symbolic of the 
military's antagonism to their own student movement roots was 
the 1962 destruction of the Rangoon Student Union Building, 
where Aung San first rallied his fellow Thakin patriots and 
from where who called for a general strike after Gen Ne Win 
swept into power. The old Student Union site remains vacant to 
this day, just a short walk through the campus from the 
Diamond Jubilee Conference venue Convocation Hall. "It's as if 
the Army were saying that the Student Movement prior to 1962 
was good, then post-1962 suddenly it became bad," commented Dr 

Even SLORC Sec-1 Khin Nyunt's opening speech to the Conference 
served to underscore the military's ambivalence. Khin Nyunt 
being the only member of SLORC to have actually attended 
Rangoon University?the others having trained in Military 
Academy?his lone presence in some sense signalled his 
"isolation within the present regime." (On a related note, it 
was learned from another returning Conference participant that 
Khin Nyunt was inexplicably unable to fulfill a personal 
promise to publisher Paul Strachan to push the new book Old 
Rangoon: City of the Shwedagon (Kiscadale) past the censors 
for distribution within Burma, perhaps indicating a weakening 
in Sec-1's power base or some breakdown of communications 
within factions of the bureaucracy. The book contains passing 
criticism of the current SLORC policy of demolishing colonial 
architecture in the rush to build tourist hotels, while 
focusing on the by-gone glories of the British period.) 

While political issues never figured prominently, discussions 
was reportedly quite frank and intellectually provocative. In 
a hopeful sign for future academic dialogue, Conference 
participants from Japan, Thailand, France, Australia, England 
and the US were allowed to freely exchange views with  their 
Burmese counterparts?academic papers ranged from popular 
culture analyses of Burma's new "everyone wants a TV" 
consumerism, to historical researches on King Beyinnaung who 
sacked the Siamese royal capital of Ayuttaya and of whom the 
Burmese have recently built "border guard" statues based on 
Thai images. Committed efforts had also been made on the part 
of the authorities to clean the campus, install benches for 
the students and remove armed soldiers from the gates.  

When questioned about the prospects for change in Burma, Dr 
Taylor closed with the remark that he was not overly 
optimistic. "Nowhere in the world is there a general who's not 
well-fed. Typically it is only when they are satiated and can 
rest that their own children are well off, do they begin to 
relax their controls and let the wealth spread around." 
However, as with the process of neutralising a black market by 
legalising it, "Perhaps some more democratic values will be 
subsumed along the way."

A correspondent in London contributed this article to the Irrawaddy.



Burma has taken delivery of at least two Russian-made 
helicopter gunships. They were carried to Rangoon in November 
by a Russian transport plane. The delivery may be part of a 
bigger deal struck in late October, when army-commander Lt Gen 
Tin Oo, made an unpublicized trip to Moscow. 

The choice of Russia as an alternative arms supplier to China 
is said to have been prompted by dissatisfaction with Chinese 
weaponary, which has been flooding Burma in the past few 
years. The Chinese equipment, including aircraft and armoured 
fighting vehicles, is reported to be of poor quality and 
difficult to maintain. (FEER)



The US ambassador Albright  Madeleine made Lt Gen Khin Nyunt 
mad. They held two-hour talks in Rangoon a few months ago but 
not as cordially as the NLM always said. The sharp-tongued 
Albright didn't allow Khin Nyunt to woo her or sit back and 
relax and sip a cup of tea.

She said Khin Nyunt wore a nervous smile. Also, when Khin 
Nyunt said Burmese are happy and smile a lot she shot back 
immediately saying that Burmese smile not because they are 
happy but because they are afraid. 

In any case, the ambassador now has a name, Time reported. 
Slorc officials began referring to Albright as 'Mad Elaine'. 
Not a nice name. (BIG)



It was reported that Pe Than U, First Secretary at the Slorc 
embassy  in Ottawa, Canada fled to the United States. If it is 
true, it will be the second time in two months, a Burmese 
embassy officials has run away. Last year, Daw Aye Aye Nyein 
from the Burmese embassy in the US defected to the pro-
democracy groups. [Reported by Myint Thein in Dallas]



Some students who were released from Insein prison said the 
prison is an HIV transmission centre because all inmates have 
to share one needle. "I wonder how many people have already 
infected by this virus," said U Myat Min in Rangoon. 

The BBC World Service have been broadcasting an AIDS education 
progra-mme for the last few months from its Burmese section. 
The programme leader is Daw Tin Htar Swe and it has received 
acclaim from people in Burma. One question raised during the 
discussion was how many women in the countryside in particular 
in villages were infected by this deadly virus because 
soldiers often raped them. [BIG]



NOV 26 was Burma's diamond jubilee National Day. The junta 
opened an exhibition hall and thousands went to see it. 
"Smooth and efficient transportation" was arranged by officials.

But Slorc was the only party celebration National Day. Over 
one thousand people also attended a ceremony held by Suu Kyi 
and other politicians and listened to speeches. 

Bohmu Aung was master of ceremonies. U Kyi Maung of the NLD 
and Dr Maung Maung Kyaw and other guests also gave speeches.

There were also essay and article competitions on National 
Day. Suu Kyi awarded prizes to the winners.

"A country where independence has been achieved also needs 
development and peace," said Suu Kyi. 

She also stressed national unity and the need to safeguard of 
the nation. The opposition leader, whose attempt to resume her 
previous position in the party was thwarted by the junta, 
urged youths to maintain and protect independence and national 
unity. She said the students union was abolished and destroyed 
after Burma regained independence from British.

When she talked about education Suu Kyi emphasized the need 
for freedom of expression and speech.

She then said: "The Fighting peacock is the symbol of 
[Burmese] students. But peacocks by nature do not only fight 
but also dance.  Thus students should know/learn when they 
need to fight or dance. Instead of fighting all the time the 
peacock should know the appropriate time. She also said she 
knows students are tired of fighting all the time.  Students 
in Rangoon said Suu Kyi's speech indicated that there are 
student groups which are preparing to stage a protest against 
the junta. "This is a kind and clear warning to those students 
who are getting impatient with Slorc," said a student close to Suu Kyi.  

But he added Slorc leaders are quite angry with her speech as 
she mentioned the Fighting peacock and students union. "They 
could perceived it as agitating against the junta," said a 
student who requested anonymity.

He also said: "We wanted Slorc to free our fellows as soon as 
possible." He added. (BIG)