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BurmaNet News February 10, 1996 #34

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Subject: BurmaNet News February 10, 1996 #341

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

The BurmaNet News: February 10, 1996
Issue #341

Noted in Passing:

		We didn't have any negotiation or deal at all. They just 
		surrendered unconditionally. - Lt-Col Kyaw Thein, a senior 
		Defence Ministry official on the MTA ceasefire.


The Old Man's fear of Roh Tae Woo's episode?

Recently, the January issue of Thintbawa magazine was heavily 
censored by the Press Scrutiny Board (PSB). Approximately 58 
pages were torn out by PSB officials from page 5 to 12, from 
35 to 52, and from 133 to 160. The cover story about Burma's 
education system was completely torn out. The cover was 
conspicuously blotted out with black ink. [see picture:A]

The main reason was the January issue contained articles 
and news about the Rangoon University Diamond Jubilee along 
with analysis and comparison of colonial and national 
education systems. 

Thintbawa magazine is one of the most famous magazines in 
Burma and is closely watched and censored by PSB officials. 
In fact, it is not new to Thintbawa. Under the Slorc, 
privately owned magazines have been facing official 
censorship. In spite of this, approximately 100 magazines and 
journals in Burmese are publishing despite heavy censorship. 

Interestingly, many writers and intellectuals recently said 
they have been trying to test the water. Even though they 
don't dare to ask for freedom of expression they are privately 
criticising restrictions and censorship laws. 

The ruling junta, on the other hand, encouranges publishers 
and writers for less threatening business-related magazines 
and journals.  However, even business magazines cannot escape 
from heavy-handed censorship laws. 

One of the articles in the December issue of Myanmar Dana 
business magazine made officials mad. This article was about 
former South Korean strongman Roh Tae Woo who confessed he 
pocketed $221 million as President from 1988 to 1993. Roh Tae 
Woo wasn't alone. His corrupt generals and government 
officials were also brought up in the article calling them 
'former generals' and 'former president.' 

At least four paragraphs were blotted out with black ink. 
One caption reads: "Students demanding to punish former 
president Roh Tae Woo marched to his residence and were 
blocked by riot police." This line was inked out. [see picture:B]

Furthermore, former generals or former presidents were 
blotted out with black ink.  Observers and writers in Rangoon 
suggest this article might remind the people in the capital of the former 
president, party chairman and dictator Gen Ne Win and his cronies.  

"You can see they have cold feet," says a writer in Rangoon. 
Ne Win and his former generals do not really want to see a 
"Roh Tae Woo episode" in Burma of course. [Inside Sources] 



In November, drug warlord Khun Sa, alias Chang Si Fu, 
officially retired from his post as chairman of the Shan State 
Restoration Council. At the ceremony, Khun Sa and close aides 
hinted there would be a surprise in the near future. 

Indeed, many people were stunned to see Khun Sa's new year 
surprise. Khun Sa invited Burmese troops to their headquarters 
and 'surrendered' to authorities. 

Not only this, Khun Sa betrayed his 'Shan struggle for 
independence' and the Shan people, claim Shan rebels who 
disagreed with Khun Sa's recent move.

Unlike January of last year when Burmese soldiers captured 
the Karen rebels stronghold, Kawmoora. This time they  met no 
resistance at Ho Mong. 

On December 22, Khun Sa called a meeting. The drug baron who 
claimed he only taxed opium traders and fought for Shan 
independence proposed to convert the MTA to become Ka Kwe Ye, 
or local militia force. Khun Sa's proposal won a major vote at 
the meeting.  

Actually, since the beginning of  December, there has been 
an informal agreement to stop fighting between the MTA and 
Slorc. In December, Khun Hseng who happens to be Khun Sa's 
uncle was taken by army helicopter to negotiate with military 
leaders in Rangoon. 

There is much unhappiness and conflict among the Shan 
rebels. "He betrayed us," says one veteran Shan politician. He 
said Shan military officers from the MTA fled to the Thai 
border as they disagreed with Khun Sa's deal with government. 
It appears time has run out on the drug baron. He is wanted 
by Thailand and the U.S. being indicted on drug charges in New 
York. He has lost military outposts to the rival Wa army, 
which is backed by Slorc. His MTA has been rocked by 
defections and simmering discontent between the foot soldiers 
who are mostly Shan and the predominantly Chinese leadership 
further weakening his military strength.

As a result, it appears Khun Sa decided to make a deal with 
Slorc officials who can offer him safety and the possibility 
of continuing his drug activities.

The Thailand-based Bangkok Post condemned the occupation of 
Ho Mong by the Tatmadaw explaining that rather than solving an 
old and vexing problem, they have created a new one. 
Khun Sa has been the best-known opium trafficker in the 
Golden Triangle for a generation.

The Slorc has long claimed that the defeat of Khun Sa and 
his drug army was a major goal. Officials have correctly 
described Khun Sa as a terrorist. The harm done over the past 
30 years by the opium warlord can hardly be measured. In 
Thailand alone  not to mention dozens of other foreign 
countries where he has peddled drugs  Khun Sa has corrupted 
officials and tragically ruined thousands of lives.

Burma's curious silence on Khun Sa is troubling, to say the 
least. The Slorc has in the past cooperated with drug dealers. 
In the face of the near-silence from the military regime, 
experts familiar with Burma have speculated on a deal between 
Slorc and the very symbol of Golden Triangle drug selling.

Burma's ambassador to Thailand, Tin Winn, has said only that 
"Khun Sa will be dealt with according to the law." Since the 
junta is the law in Burma, this statement could mean anything. 
The regime itself, in reply to direct questions, refused to state its plans.

Rangoon will be making a serious mistake if it fails to 
punish Khun Sa for his many years of narcotics trafficking. It 
will make a worse, and extremely damaging error if it is seen 
merely to go into business with Khun Sa. 

Burma has been fortunate to escape harsh criticism for 
cozying up to drug dealers in the past, but it is well known 
to welcome laundered drug funds from former heroin 
traffickers. If it fails to deal with Khun Sa as the narco-
terrorist he is, the main loser will be Slorc. It is time for 
Burma's leaders to consider seriously the Khun Sa case. 
Drug production in Burma will not decline despite the 
junta's recent success in gaining greater control over Khun 
Sa's group many observers predicted.

Despite warlord Khun Sa's "retirement" from leading Shan 
ethnic fighters, factions of his MTA and some ethnic Kokang 
and Wa remained largely independent of government control.
Burma has been producing greater amounts of amphetamines 
each year, rather than just heroin.

The drug problem has not gone away. The drugs are cheap to 
produce in Burma and they have markets demanding their 
products. The failure of the Slorc to bring Khun Sa to justice 
quickly raises the serious question of Slorc's sincerity and 
commitment to eradicating the country's drug problem. 


February 9, 1996

AUNG ZAW meditates on Sino-Burmese relations in the wake of 
junta leader Than Shwe's visit to Beijing.

When Senior Gen Than Shwe left Rangoon for Beijing last 
month Burmese in town said the general has gone for Ta Ya 
Ah: Htout in China. Ta Ya A: Htout basically meant in 
Burmese 'strive for Dhama.' So did the general 'strive for 
Dhama' in China? Perhaps not.

Ta Ya A: Htout has another meaning, however, Ta Yoke Ah: 
Hta. It meant 'depend on Ta Yoke [Chinese].'

Sino-Burmese relations boosted by the visit to Beijing by 
Burma's military junta leader Gen Than Shwe, Chinese Premier 
Li Peng said in Beijing after he met his counterpart.

It was the general's first visit to China as chairman of 
the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), which 
rules the country since 1988. The general and his party met 
President Jiang Zemin. Reports said the visit would "push 
bilateral friendly ties to an even higher level", especially 
following the "fruitful" talks with Jiang Zemin. Gen Than 
Shwe restated Burma's "One China policy", describing Taiwan 
as "an inalienable part of China".

In Beijing, President Jiang and Gen Than Shwe witnessed 
the signing of  two agreements on Chinese loans and on 
economic and technological cooperation, as well as a loan 
from China.

Trade between Burma and China in the first 10 months of 
last year stood at US$569 million, up 10 percent on that for 
the whole of 1994. Two way trade was estimated to have 
reached $600 military last year. China has also agreed to 
provide low-interest loans and technical help for the 
Burmese economy, an officials said.
China has also indicated its willingness to loan to Burma 
the Sacred Relic of the Buddha's Tooth. For Slorc, this is a 
genuine "sweet tooth" for its Visit Myanmar Year 1996 
tourism promotion, said one observer. A source said China 
requested $500,000 for the transportation  costs.

However, closer ties between the two countries have led 
to problems at home, especially resentment at China's 
growing influence in Burma. "Whether privately or openly, 
the Burmese have not hidden their dislike for the Chinese in 
the cities," said one Burmese professor in Rangoon. In 
particular, democracy-minded Burmese are unhappy with the 
Chinese presence, as it is one of the major arms suppliers to the junta.

But Beijing isn't alone in fact. Many Chinese from the 
tiny island, Singapore are also establishing a strong and 
friendly relationship with Burma's leaders and business 
community in Rangoon and Mandalay. "Burma is Singapore's 
hinterland," said a Burmese in Rangoon. "They are advising 
Burmese what to do," he added. 

As of September 1995, Singapore has 33 companies and with 
US$ 643 million. Singapore is Burma's second-largest trading 
partner. Singapore's Trade Development Board (TDB) said 
recently that it would open a trade office in Rangoon to 
hammer closer economic links. This office in Burma will be 
TDB's 31st overseas office and its 19th in Asia.

Late last month, Rangoon military leaders including Lt 
Gen Khin Nyunt attended a ceremony marking the completion of 
the construction of new major hotel, the 450-room Rangoon 
Sedona Hotel, built by the Straits Steamship Land Company of 
Singapore. The hotel will be opened to guests at the middle 
of this year.

"The current situation reminds me the time when we were 
under the British," recalled a resident in Rangoon. "When 
they [British] were here Kala [Indians] were everywhere in 
Rangoon. We [Burmese] had to move to outskirts," said the 
80-year-old resident. Rangoon was occupied by British and 
kalas. "It is the same thing happening again," he said. "But 
unlike British they [Chinese] no need to open fire," he 
added. He jeers at the ruling junta's rhetoric anti-
colonialism stance and rhetoric. 

"They keep criticizing British and the west for their 
counties support of Aung San Suu Kyi,  who is married to a 
British citizen, and harsh criticism for the Slorc. The fact 
is they invited Chinese to take over our nation," he said. 
He said he felt the Slorc has sold out to China. When asked 
about Mandalay, 620 kilometers far from Rangoon,  the old 
man said, "It is a Chinese city."

Known as the Golden City, Mandalay was established in 
1857 by King Mindon. The Mandalay palace, which is built of 
teak was eventually taken over by the British after Mindon's 
son King Thibaw.  As such, it became just another outpost of 
British colonialism. 

The British are gone, except for the occasional tourists. 
There are, however, new invaders. Mandalay is occupied by 
Chinese. They are everywhere and  many Burmese have left the 
town. One Burmese who recently went to Mandalay said: "This 
time there were more Chinese than I have ever seen in my 
life  new houses owned by Chinese are being built."

Many Burmese have also complaining that some hotels in 
Mandalay have change their names. The government-owned 
Mandalay hotel, for example, is  now known as Mandalay Swan 
Hotel and its main restaurant, Mahn Thurain, has also 
changed its name to the Peking [Beijing] restaurant.

One well-respected writer in the town has something to 
say about the Chinese-invaded, foreign investment, tourism 
and Slorc. "Slorc has five more years to prove itself 
economically before the Chinese completely take over." He 
added that tourism is the only way out for Slorc to avoid 
bankruptcy. The Chinese presence in Burma is not a new 
problem. 'The old man' Gen Ne Win is a half Chinese. His 
real name is Shu Maung and Shu is obviously not Burmese 
name. His trustworthy acquaintance, Burma's former president 
San Yu who passed away last week was half Chinese," said the 

Residents in Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state, 
complained about illegal Chinese who, they said, come from 
Yunan with forged Burmese nationality cards. The immigration 
authorities never question them. But that is not surprising. 
They (Chinese) just bribe their way through," said one resident.

Upon his return at Rangoon's Mingaladon Airport, Senior 
Gen Than Shwe was smiling broadly. From Jan 7 to 13, his 
state visit to China was broadcast on radio and TV. It was 
also mentioned in officials newspapers and accompanied by 
dozens of photos. It seems he and other Slorc do not really 
have enough information about what the people are saying 
behind them. He proved that he went to Ta Ya Ah: Htout in China. 


February 9, 1996

Suu Kyi says a vitriolic government media campaign has 
helped her cause, Agence France-Presse's Michele Cooper 
reports from Rangoon.

Burma's military rulers have notched up successes against 
ethnic insurgents and a backward economy, but they have 
failed to shift the political focus away from pro-democracy 
leader Aunt San Suu Kyi.

Regular commentaries in the state-run press refer to her 
dismissively and deride her views, but they also serve as a 
continual reminder of her existence to a broad spectrum of 
the population.

"These article win us a lot of support," Aung San Suu Kyi 
said in a recent interview. "Some people feel we have a 
secret supporter (in the press)," she added with a smile.

Realistically, she and her National League for Democracy 
(NLD) are no closer to power than they were in 1990 when, 
although the party swept the general elections, the junta 
refused to acknowledge the results and step down.

Slorc maintains firm control over the government and the 
population in general.

"But she puts them on the defensive," a political observer 
commented, referring to the pro-democracy campaigner.

Both sides stubbornly insist they are in the right, and the 
atmosphere does not appear favourable for substantive talks 
at this time.

"Perhaps the Slorc will offer some sort of 'window-dressing' 
meeting with her before Yozo Yokota makes his report to the 
UN in February," one long time resident of Rangoon speculated, 
referring to the UN special rapporteur on human rights.

But any talks could be dragged out for months or more, long 
enough for the Slorc to get a new constitution adopted 
giving the military a permanent "guiding" role in the government.

"Then they could hold new elections that come up with a 
result they can live with this time, however that result is 
obtained," another analyst said.

Such speculation is only guesswork. The junta's membership 
is no secret, but its workings are opaque.

The few indicators emerging include an obvious cosying up to 
other countries in the region, and particularly the Asean 
which has faithfully pursued a policy of "constructive 
engagement" in Burma.

"The government here has become much less responsible to the 
concerns of Western governments, and has made a substantial 
qualitative change in relations with the region," a region 
diplomat remarked.

Faced with continuing criticism from the West on human 
rights, and disappointed that the release of Suu Kyi did not 
bring an influx of the development aid so desperately 
needed, the Slorc is looking toward the more understand 
nations of the region for succor.

Few political observers think the Slorc would risk the 
world's wrath by trying to shut Suu Kyi up again, but 
regular arrests have put many NLD supporters behind bars for 
varying periods.

The arrests are seen as part of a pattern of harassment 
rather than anything more serious.

"They're treading on people's toes rather than chopping them 
off the at the socks," said one observer who saw this as one 
of several signs the regime might be easing after a 
relatively good year.

Through a combination of military might and favourable 
circumstances, the Slorc has managed to eliminate most the 
ethnic insurgencies on the borders and even to gain the 
surrender of opium warlord Khun Sa.

"The problem is, they were able to settle with the ethnic-
based rebel groups on their (the Slorc's) own terms. They 
can't do that with Suu Kyi," an analyst said.

Suu Kyi emerged from nearly six years of house arrest in 
July with a fierce determination to persevere that contrasts 
sharply with her slight stature.

She rejects suggestions that she needs to be more flexible 
in order to get results.

But one analysts observed: "no one can govern this country 
without the participation of the military." (TN)


February 10, 1996

[Editor's Note: Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw refers to Khun Sa as "U Khun
Sa".  "U" is a term of respect for elder men.]

THE Rangoon junta will not extradite opium warlord Khun Sa to the
United States where he is wanted on heroin. trafficking charges,
Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw said yesterday.

Ohn Gyaw's comments marked the first time a senior official of
the State Law and Order Restoration Council has publicly said
Rangoon had no plan to extradite Khun Sa, who surrendered to
government forces last month.

"There is no question of extradition with any country. In 1990 we
received a request from an embassy to have U Khun Sa extradited,"
Ohn Gyaw said. "And we have called to the attention of that
particular nation that there never existed any extradition treaty
and we have no intention whatsoever of an extradition."

Lt-Col Kyaw Thein, a senior Defence Ministry official, denied
that Rangoon had made a deal with Khun Sa. "We didn't have any
negotiation or deal at all. They just surrendered unconditionally. "

A total of 12,690 Mong Tai Army members surrendered in January,
turning over 7,510 assorted weapons, the government said.
"Remaining members of the MTA are still coming in small groups,"
Kyaw Thein said.

Ohn Gyaw and Kyaw Thein made the comments at a ceremony to
destroy confiscated drugs.

About 1.750 tonnes of heroin, opium and marijuana were destroyed
in front of about 100 spectators including diplomats and
officials from United Nations organisations.

Kyaw Thein said two nonproductive drug laboratories had been
found in MTA-controlled areas and the government was searching
for more.

He said the flow of drugs out of Shan State had not stopped
despite the surrender of Khun Sa. "But I can assure you that
the amount of drugs produced in MTA-controlled areas will drop
very significantly."

He said many of the formerly armed ethnic groups living in the
Shan State and the Kachins in northern Burma have also pledged to
make their regions "opium-free zones."

"So the production of opium from this country is going to drop in
the future," he said.

When asked what would happen to Khun Sa, Kyaw Thein said: "We
will deal with this matter according to the law and processes for
this ar still going on, Right now I don't know when exactly this
process will be finished."

Khun Sa could be charge under Burmese laws, but "after all, we
have treated other criminals leniently," Kyaw Thein said.

During a recent speech to the Medical Association, Lt-Gen Khin
Nyunt also welcomed Khun Sa's surrender and referred to him and
the MTA as "our own blood brethren".

"We will look after them well on humanitarian grounds and for the
sake of national spirit," said the junta member adding that they
were no different than others who had laid down arms.

Hundreds of other armed rebels who surrendered over the years had
but to publicly "repent" to win government forgiveness, analysts noted.


February 9, 1996    (slightly abridged)
by Yindee Lertcharoenchok, Somjit Rungchamratrasmee

NAKHON SAWAN - The Army has given the green light for its 
soldiers, paratroopers and border patrol police to retaliate 
immediately with force against any intruding, unidentified 
forces, Third Army Region Commander Lt Gen Thanom Wacharaput 
said here yesterday.

The order came after repeated verbal warnings by Thailand 
failed to deter armed forces of the DKBA from crossing the 
Moei River into Thailand and robbing, kidnapping, killing 
and wounding a number of Thais and Karen refugees in camps 
in northern Tak's Tha Song Yang and Mae Sot district.

Speaking after presiding over a ceremony at an Army training 
centre at Fourth Division headquarters, Thanom said he had 
instructed Army forces, paratroopers and border patrol police 
providing security in Tha Song Yang and Mae Sot to use "retaliatory 
measures" on the spot against any unidentified armed intruders.

He said forces on the border can now take action without 
having to first verify the identity of the intruders or receive 
permission from high-ranking officers at the Third Region 
command in Phitsanulok or Army headquarters in Bangkok.

The forces have always retaliated whenever DKBA troops 
intruded into Thailand "but from now on they can respond 
immediately when an incursion takes place without having to 
first verify the identity of the intruders," Thanom said.

He said he was aware of the possible effect or retaliatory 
measures on Thai-Border relations but emphasized that action 
would be taken only against unidentified armed forces "found 
in Thailand".

The Army has imposed a curfew in some sensitive areas and 
any unidentified armed forces found operating there will 
immediately be countered with force, he said.

Tha Song Yang authorities have also begun moving Karen 
refugees from two units in Shoklo Camp to join five other 
groups located deeper in Thailand to protect them against 
possible raids by the DKBA, Thanom said.

Thanom said that during the next meeting of the two 
countries' Regional Border Committee, he will ask the 
Burmese junta "to shoulder responsibility" for any losses 
and casualties resulting from intrusions by troops from that 
side of the border.

He said all intruders, of whatever ethnic group, "are 
considered to be of Burmese nationality and thus the Burmese 
government is a accountable for their actions".

The request will be made at the 12th meeting of the Regional 
Border Committee in Moulmein from Feb 19 to 22. Thanom will 
head the Thai delegation, while Maj Gen Ket Sein, chief of 
the Burmese army's southeastern command, will lead the Burmese team.


by Somjit Rungchamratrrasmee and Yindee Lertcharoenchok
February 10, 1996

KAWMOORA, Burma - A senior officer in the Democratic Karen
Buddhist Army has denied that his forces have attacked Thai
villagers and Karen refugee camps in northern Tak's Tha Song Yang
and Mae Sot districts.

Capt Kyaw Thay, the commander of the Kawmoora camp, opposite Mae
Sot, said his men were wrongly blamed for the deaths, injuries
and thefts inflicted by armed raiders on villagers and refugees.

At his Kawmoora base, Kyaw Thay said DKBA forces had only entered
Thailand to uncover arms caches hidden by the rival Karen
National Union (KNU) and to eliminate KNU troops sheltering here.
The DKBA, which captured Kawmoora from the KNU early last year,
had no desire to hurt any Thais, he said.

However, highranking Thai security officers in Bangkok and Mae
Sot said the DKBA and the  Burmese junta should both be held
responsible for the violent intrusions, kidnappings and robberies
which often resulted in death and injuries to both Thais and the

They said the ruling Burmese State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) was behind the split in the KNU which resulted in
the creation of the DKBA by renegade Karen in December, 1994.

Since its formation the DKBA had been provided with supplies and
weapons by the Slorc and had been acting on directives from
Rangoon, said the officers, who asked not to be named. They added
the Slorc was aware of the DKBA's activities, but always denied
responsibility .

"The Burmese government has been assisting the DKBA, providing
both food aid arms. We have information that [Rangoon] even
directed the DKBA on various activities. So they cannot disclaim
responsibility for DKBA actions," said a senior Army officer in Bangkok.

The officer said the military was often surprised by the Slorc's
attitude towards resolving disputes with Thailand. He questioned
the military junta's sincerity in wanting to resolve all problems with Bangkok.

Often Burmese authorities in Rangoon  will tell our government
and military officers that problems at the border will be
resolved by local Burmese officers at Myawaddy, Tachilek and
Victoria Point," he said. "But those Burmese officers at the
border in turn say they cannot make decisions and that everything
has to be forwarded to their leaders in Rangoon." Kyaw Thay said
it was possible the two rival Karen groups could reunite if KNU
leader Gen Bo Mya would go to Myaingyingu Temple, near the Karen
state capital of Pa-an,and talk with DKBA leader U Thuzana,  a
Buddhist monk. He said DKBA and the Slorc forces jointly
controlled some of the territory they had seized from the KNU.

His group was allowed to oversee some of the border region.

Kyaw Thay admitted that Rangoon had supplied the DKBA with food,
weapons and munitions.


February 8, 1996

Most Karen refugees are willing to return to their 
motherland if there is national reconciliation in Burma, 
according to an opinion survey conducted by the Fourth 
Infantry Division under the Third Army Region.

Col Chalor Thongsala, division deputy commander, yesterday 
told the Bangkok Post his division had handed out 400 copies 
of a questionnaire to Karen refugees in four major camps in 
this province including Sho Klo and Mae La camps in Tha Song 
Yang District, Huay Kaloke in Mae Sot District and Mawkier 
in Phop Phra District.

The survey was conducted during January 10-20 and the 
questionnaire was written in both Burmese and Karen. Of the 
400 refugees, 375 responded to the questionnaire, said Col Chalor.

Of the respondents, 273 or 72.5% said they wanted to return 
to Burma after the three parties concerned _ the State Law 
and Order Restoration Council, National League for Democracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic minority groups _ jointly 
sign an agreement on national reconciliation.

On the question of how long it would take for the situation 
in Burma to turn favourable enough for them to go home, 
92.39% were unable to predict when, but 4.34% hoped they 
would be able to return home in the next few years while 
10.86% did not wish to return home no matter what the situation.

Among the respondents, 4.8% said they used to visit their 
families in Burma while staying in a refugee camp in 
Thailand, while 95% had never returned at all. However, 11 
respondents or 2.9% from Sho Klo, Mae La and Huay Kaloke 
camps wanted to return to Burma now.

According to Col Chalor, the refugees gave varied responses 
when asked where they wanted to stay. Sixty-six percent said 
they still wanted to stay in Thai camps, 17.8% wanted to 
return home, 9.6% wanted to resettle in a third country and 6.6% 
said they wanted to be sheltered in Thailand but outside the camps.

On the question of Thailand's treatment of refugees, 71.2% 
viewed Thai officers as kind and felt deep gratitude, while 
5.9% claimed the officers tried to take advantage of them 
and also forced them to go home. Nearly 23% claimed Thai 
officials could not ensure their safety.

As for aid granted by non-government organisations, 42.6% 
deemed it adequate but 39.5% want more assistance. Fourteen 
percent wanted the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees to join hands with Thai authorities to take care of 
the Karens. Now the UNHCR only plays a coordinating role 
between the Government and NGOs.

On the refugees' earnings, the survey pointed out that more 
than half of the 9,000 refugees staying in Sho Klo camp did 
not work; the rest enjoyed trading in the camp. In Huay Kaloke, 
about half of the 6,436 refugees were construction and farm workers. 


WANES      February 8, 1996      by MICHELE COOPER
Agence France-Presse

RANGOON - Burma is getting good marks from international 
businessmen with the money, connections and patience to 
venture into a market that for decades had remained sealed 
off from the outside world.

All is not smooth sailing - inadequate infrastructure is a 
major handicap - but the ruling junta has committed itself 
to actively encouraging and supporting investment in order 
to bring economic progress.

Businessmen say that the government's determination, a solid 
legal framework inherited from British colonial times, 
widespread command of the English language and a relatively 
low level of corruption are definite pluses.

Negatives include an antiquated transport network affecting 
road, rail and air travel as well as the backward port 
facilities, and a dual exchange rate that makes a nonsense 
of account sheets.

"Another block to business is that there are no reliable 
statistics for any sector at all in this country," said 
Singapore-based consultant, Dominique Doussot.

"The best you can do is to stick your finger in the air and test 
which way the winds is blowing," said Doussot, a former banker.

Business executives of several nationalities agreed there 
was still an element of risk, or at least some uncertainty, 
to investing in Burma where the investment laws and legal 
system have not been tested under military rule.

This perhaps explains why much of the country's success so 
far has been in the trade and services sectors rather than 
in "riskier" areas such as manufacturing.

In Burma, manufacturing represents less than 10 per cent of 
GDP, compared to 20-30 per cent in its immediate neighbours 
in Southeast Asia.

Philip Paris, whose Singapore-based company is building a 
luxury hotel in Pagan, said that for business success, "you 
have to find the right person, one who really wants to do 
business and who has the contacts to get things done".

"You also need experience of doing business in Asia, and you 
need enough money to see you through until the project is 
sufficiently advanced before you can secure a loan from even 
a Southeast Asia bank," he added.

Regional banks put together most of the investment packages 
in Burma, while Western institutions have preferred to wait 
to see how the situation evolves.

"But that is bound to change because the Europeans in 
particular are afraid of missing out on opportunities," a 
Hong Kong-based European visitor said.

Japanese companies have only recently begun to show real 
interest in investing in Burma, although not enough to shake 
off the "Nato" tag given them by Burmese officials - 
standing for "No Action, Talk Only".

A key block has been the dual exchange rate - the US dollar 
is traded at around six kyats at the official rate, or at 
100-125 kyats at the market rate - and Burmese authorities 
know they have to take action.

The dual rate has its advantages, as imported essentials can 
be sold domestically at a favourable rate. Devaluation would 
immediately drive prices up drastically, with unpredictable, 
results among the populace.

The last sector operating at the official rate is the big 
public sector, representing at least 25 per cent of the 
economy, and already civil servants have to moonlight in 
order to meet the basic needs of their families.

A sign of exchange is the number of Foreign Exchange 
Certificates (FECs) now in circulation: from a value of 
US$500,000 when they were first issued in May 1993, they now 
represent 10 times that amount.

"The more FECs there are in circulation, the more the economy is 
operating at the prevailing rate," an economic analyst said. (TN)


February 8, 1996   Associated Press   (abridged)

THE government has endorsed a plan that will boost 
commercial airline flights between Thailand and Burma by as 
much as 22 per cent, an aviation official said yesterday.

Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa and the Cabinet approved 
raising the limit on the number of air passengers to strengthen 
both the Thai and Burmese tourist industries, said the Aviation 
Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.


February 7, 1996
>From tmyint@xxxxxxxxxxx

If you are in Bloomington, Indiana on February 26, please come and join us
at the Burma Benefit Concert & International Feast. You are cordially invited!

                *********BURMA BENEFIT CONCERT*********

At the Wild Beet (corner of 4th & Walnut) - 8 until 11 - Monday February
26 -  *Suggested Donation: $4
        *Also, We Ask that All members bring a Main Dish or Desert, able
         to serve as many people as possible, 20 if possible!
        *You Must Arrive Prior to 8p.m. at the Wild Beet

This is a very important opportunity for the Free Burma Campaign to reach 
the community, please help by bringing food to share with the community!

        If you are planning on coming and bringing a dish, which hopefully
many of you are, please Email SSIVAPRA, by doing this you will be making
a commitment to helping The Free Burma Campaign on Feb. 26.
        Also, if you have any questions please Email: