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Burma Net News May 23, 1996

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Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 05:38:19 -0700 (PDT)

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

The BurmaNet News: May 23, 1996=20
Issue # 415

Noted in Passing:



by Seth Mydans, NY Times 5/22/96 p. A5

Bangkok, Wednesday, May 22.  At least 80 supporters of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi=
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, have been detained by authorities in advanc=
of  a major meeting of her opposition party planned for this weekend, on of
her assistants said today.

The assistant, who insisted on not being identified, said by telephone from
Yangon, the capital of the former Burma, that new reports of arrests were
continuing to arrive and that "our information may not be complete."

In a telephone interview from her home in Yangon late Tuesday, Mrs. Aung Sa=
Suu Kyi said that as of that time 44 members of her party, the National
League for Democracy, had been arrested but that she planned to proceed wit=
the three-day party meeting.

She said the arrests of the party members as well as the wives of two of th=
had happened in the last two days.  The reports of arrests could not be
independently confirmed.

"It is an indication of the extreme nervousness of the authorities," she
said.  "If they were as confident of their own position as they say they ar=
there would be no need for them to stop a conference of 300 people from
taking place."

The gathering at her home was to have been the largest meeting of here part=
since she was released from six years of house arrest last July.  Since the=
she has held meetings and made weekly speeches at her home, but ht
authorities have hampered her movements and those of some of her supporters=
 " They have been putting pressure on us all along, so this is nothing new,=
she said.

The arrests appeared to be the most severe crackdown on the opposition by t=
ruling junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, since her releas=
 In recent months she and her supporters have reported intensified harassme=
and arrests of party members. =20

The meeting is timed to coincide with the sixth anniversary of parliamentar=
elections, in which the National League for Democracy won an overwhelming
popular victory, taking 392 of 485 contested seats.

Having lost the election, the military rulers never allowed the parliament =
convene and has kept its grip on power.  Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobe=
Peace Price in 1991 while under house arrest.

An atmosphere of confrontation has grown since Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi withdr=
her party last November from a constitutional convention that the military
government says is a prerequisite for the seating of the parliament.

Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi said most of the party members whose arrests she
mentioned had been taken from their homes, although some were apparently
being held under house arrest.  In addition, she said, the wives of two par=
members had been detained, "apparently as hostages," when their husbands
could not be found.

"It seems there will be more arrests," she said.  "It seems the authorities
are trying to prevent representatives from coming to the conference."

She said that the party's chairman, U Aung Shwe, wrote today to the leader =
the junta, Gen. Than Shwe, the Prime Minister, to protest the arrests and t=
ask that the party representatives be set free, but that no answer had yet
been received.

Before the planned party meeting, the controlled press had sharpened its
attacks on the opposition, warning of what it calls "lackeys of colonialist=
who seek to disrupt the country.  In an article on Monday, Gen. Maung Aye,
army commander and deputy chairman of the military Government, was quoted a=
saying the military would "resolutely annihilate" anyone who threatened

Another article carried in all newspapers called for an end to the weekly
meetings at which Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowds of as many as 2,00=
people at her house.

In London today, Amnesty International issued a statement in which it
expressed concern that the detained delegates could face torture "any may
have been arrested solely for exercising their rights to freedom of
expression and association."



The Associated Press
RANGOON, Burma (May 21, 1996 09:11 a.m. EDT) -- The military junta arrested
44 key supporters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to try to block
the most important opposition meeting since her release from house arrest
last year, Suu Kyi said today.

The wives of two other opposition activists also were arrested, apparently
because authorities did not find their husbands at home, she said. The
three-day meeting of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy will go ahead
Sunday at her home in Rangoon despite increasing government pressure to
derail it, Suu Kyi told The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, by

"This won't affect plans to hold the conference," said Suu Kyi, who won
the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent efforts to bring democracy
to her homeland. "Everyone is calm. .... I expect the people of Rangoon
will behave very sensibly. They know how we will want them to act. Every
person knows how to do their duty."

The meeting is being held on the sixth anniversary of democratic
parliamentary elections that Suu Kyi's movement won by a landslide. The
junta never allowed parliament to convene, and Sunday's gathering is seen
as a challenge to the regime's legitimacy.

There was no way to immediately verify Suu Kyi's report of 46 arrests,
which come amid increasing tensions between pro-democracy forces and the
government as the meeting approaches.

Gen. Maung Aye, army commander and deputy chairman of the military junta,
warned in remarks published today in state-run newspapers that the
government would "annihilate" anyone who disturbs Burma's peace and

The press has sharpened attacks on Suu Kyi and her party, comparing her in
an article Monday to a poisonous snake and calling for a halt to regular
weekend meetings outside her home. "Internal subversive elements under
external influences" are trying to undermine the country's stability,
Maung Aye said. He called on the military to be vigilant against the
"dangers of destructionists."



Aung San Suu Kyi
The Nation/21.5.96
The energy of the young is wonderful. The National League for
Democracy (NLD) Thingyan festival had begun at 8 am and ended at
5 pm according to plan.

After the visitors had left, the young helpers who had been on
the go all day but who were still overflowing with vigour
insisted that we oldies engage in a bout of water throwing with

So we took our places on the young women's side of the water
boats and together with girls and children tried to splash the
young men into submission. Scooping up water in bowls at top
speed and throwing it at stoically laughing young men is
strenuous work. We participated in three rounds, one at each
boat, and ended up drenched to the skin, invigorated and
exhausted. In spite of our best efforts only one young man could
have been said to have clearly "surrendered" as he held his cap
up in front of his face to ward off our liquid barrage. It gave
me a sense of deep contentment to work quietly by myself inside
the house while faint sounds of music inside the house while
faint sounds of music and laughter and the shrill shouts of
children drifted in from the road. To be able to blear my desk of
accumulated work and to know that our young people were having a
happy time afforded double satisfaction. The water throwers
occasionally wandered into the house faces glowing from their
exertions, leaving a trail of wet footprints, getting themselves
something to eat. During the hottest part of the day they took a
rest to recharge their batteries for the final onslaught, then
went back to join the watery fray with new vigour.

In the late afternoon, our water throwers asked me to join them.
On the understanding that I would not participate in the action
as I was feeling none too robust after the activities of the
previous day, I went out to observe the proceedings. Two young
men with whistles signalled to cars filled with soaking wet
people to indicate that those who wanted to have a go at trying
to get even wetter should stop. The cars usually stopped and with
good humour, the passengers allowed our water throwers to get to
work with their bowls and other dousing equipment. Some of our
young people had begun to slow down but the hardiest ones,
including of course our seven-year old, gave an impressive
demonstration of their capacity for sustained endeavour.

It was obvious that many of those cruising around in cars for the
joy of exposing themselves to as much Thingyan water as possible
had imbibed freely. Inebriated merrymakers often make provocative
remarks or rude gestures and get involved in brawls quite out of
keeping with the traditional spirit of the New Year season. But
such unseemly behaviour was not at all evident in those who
stopped for our water throwers. Everybody was cheerful and
friendly and even those who were evidently tipsy did not fail in
courtesy. The single exception was a man who jumped down
unsteadily from a car with a bottle of liquor in one hand and in
the other an aerosol can from which he sent out sprays of scent.
He became aggressive when he was asked to contain his
overwhelming enthusiasm. Of course it was not all sweetness and
light everywhere throughout the festival. Apart from the
inevitable brawls that break out when spirits are running too
high, a number of traffic accidents resulting in loss of life and
limb take place every year. This year was not free from the usual
quota of casualties. There were also a few unnecessary incidents
involving NLD caps which had been sold at our ceremony on the
fourteenth. Young men, some of whom were not even members of the
NLD, wearing such caps were harassed by the authorities. One
young man was beaten, then dragged off under arrest while his
assailant was left untouched.

Inspite of this, or perhaps because, of the repression and
injustices to which they are subjected, the Burmese have a
remarkable capacity for extracting the opportunities offered to
them during our traditional festivals.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Letters from Burma is a series of weekly articles containing Aung
San Suu Kyi's reflections on the social, cultural and political
sense in Burma today.


21 May 1996, The Asian Age (New Delhi)
Rangoon May 20: Burmese democracy leader and Nobel peace=20
laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, must be controlled in order to prevent an=20
uprising against the government, a commentary in official Burmese=20
newspapers said on Monday.
The article, entitled when <Italic> will the act of the snakes end?=20
<Italic>, attacked Ms Suu Kyi and members of her National League=20
for Democracy Party for trying to cause unrest.
The Commentary was published in the countrys two Burmese-
language dailies, widely regarded as the mouthpiece of the ruling=20
military council.
The State Law and Order Restoration Council has been a waging a=20
revolution in Burma, The commentary said, adding the Slorc has=20
emerged victorious over anarchists that appeared and the=20
demonstrations that occurred in 1988 and 1989.
"Similarly, the Slorc needs to carry on with perseverance, care and=20
wisdom in order to win a final victory over Suu Kyi, who is embracing=20
a mistaken belief," it said.
The Slorc assumed power in 1988 after the army crushed a democracy=20
uprising that left thousands dead or imprisoned. Ms Suu Kyi was put=20
under house arrest in 1989 for her outspoken attacks on the Slorc=20
during that period.
In a apparent reference to Ms Suu Kyi and two of her top NLD=20
colleagues, Kyi Maung and Tin Oo, both of whom were released by=20
the Slorc last year after nearly six years imprisonment, the=20
commentary called the "three poisonous snakes" to stop their "act of=20
the snakes" every Saturday and Sunday.
At the weekend, Ms Suu Kyi and other senior members of the party=20
like Kyi Maung and Tin Oo regularly speak to thousand of supporters=20
at the gates of Ms Suu Kyis home.
"If the act of the snakes is not controlled, the snake charmer may get=20
bitten by the snakes. If the snake charmers show is not perform=20
properly, the snakes will escape." (Reuter)

VOL4, NO.8-9, MAY 15, 1996

Like everyone else on the earth, Burmese like to express their=20
feelings and sufferings. But there is no forum. You can complain=20
about garbage, water and electricity shortage in state-run=20
newspapers but not other sensitive issues such as corruption,=20
politics, Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, and Slorc. Since there=20
is no other way around some in cities and villages send letters=20
to their relatives, friends who are abroad. But they make sure=20
not to use post offices in Burma as letters are opened=20
beforehand. Recently, BIG received a letter from a resident in=20
Mandalay. Here is a translated version.

The new Zegyo market in Mandalay

The Slorc tore down the buildings comprising the old Zegyo Market=20
in Mandalay and replaced them with a new market. The 8 rows of=20
buildings that make up the new Zegyo each have four floors and=20
each floor houses 100 shops. =20

Construction was done without the financial or material=20
assistance of Slorc but the ruling junta collected money from the=20
store owners. First floor merchants were forced to pay 500,000=20
kyats, second and third floor shops were charged 300,000 kyats,=20
while a top floor shop was charged 150,000 kyats.

After construction was completed, a quarter of all the shops were=20
taken over by military officials who subsequently sold them at=20
much higher prices thus, disengaging common Burman businessmen=20
and benefiting the typically wealthier Chinese businessmen.

Some of the merchants reportedly were forced into selling=20
ancestral land to finance the construction of the new market.

The new privileged class

The physical progress in Mandalay =97new buildings, houses,=20
restaurants, stores, etc =97 has been predominantly fueled by the=20
Chinese. Allegedly, many of these ethnic businessmen have close=20
connections with the heroin industry. Typical Burmese businessmen=20
could not afford the new 5-8 storey buildings that are steadily=20
emerging in the nation's second largest city however, many=20
believe that they are merely covers for a more profitable drug=20

High military officials are usually honored guests at ceremonies=20
inaugurating new hotels, shops, and  restaurants and are lavished=20
with expensive jewelry and other gifts. With the MIS (Military=20
Intelligence Service) reluctant to take action against the ethnic=20
business community and because of its close relations to high=20
ranking military officials the Chinese heroin trade within Burma=20
seems certain to remain influential.

Exploitation of people in Mandalay

Residents of the suburban quarters of Mandalay have been forced=20
to collect litter within their quarter without pay or other forms=20
of compensation.  In addition, each household was required to=20
provide one person to clean up the litter along the Mandalay-
Maymyo road in preparation for the visit of a high ranking=20
military official to Maymyo.  The villagers had to supply their own food=20
and had to pay fines of up to 300 kyats to the officials.=20

Petrol at the Blackmarket

The official price for a gallon of petrol is 25 kyats whereas the=20
blackmarket price is nearly 10 times that at more than 200 kyats.=20
According to the system enforced by the Slorc, a private-owned=20
car with a petrol ration book is allotted 2 gallons of petrol per=20
month at the government price. Private buses that run in the city=20
also get their petrol rations.

This situation is generating a thriving blackmarket demand for=20
petroleum products in Burma. Even the military officials, who=20
after getting permits to buy petrol at the official rate for=20
their so-called special duties and forays into the countryside,=20
eventually sell their permits to the blackmarketeers fetching=20
about 10 times the original price.

It is not surprising why prices are soaring and inflation is the=20
order of the day in Burma.

Requisition of Buses and Trucks

Not only press-ganging, but also requisition of buses and trucks=20
by the army and police is rampant in Mandalay. A bus or truck can=20
be requisited for myriad reasons; transfer bicycle owners failing=20
to comply with traffic regulations, move students to places to=20
welcome foreign guests, or to transport materials and goods for=20
military purposes.

Some vehicles have been requisitioned between 3 and 7 days. Those=20
whose services were not so lengthy were forced to pay 3000-5000=20
kyats under the table to officials as 'favours.' =20

This practice is so widespread that any vehicle happening to pass=20
a military camp or police station inevitably falls prey to these=20
intimidating forces, suffering silently with no outlet for=20

Help Burmese and Burma From Tyranny

In addition to their main duties and commitments to the defence=20
of the country, the Slorc intentionally control other fields=20
including health, education, judiciary, trade, industry, and even=20
local administration. Either military officials or ex-military=20
officials are in charge lacking the proper knowledge or expertise=20
to ensure competence in these fields.

Corruption is commonplace and as a result, Burma's economy is in=20
bad shape, despite claims to the contrary by government=20
officials. More importantly, the people are greatly dissatisfied=20
and in fact horrified at the injustices taking place within their=20

It is time that the U.N. took a concrete step towards the people=20
of Burma to guarantee the establishment of the porpularly elected=20
government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other legally-elected=20
representatives form the 1990 general elections. Otherwise, the=20
majority of Burmese people will still be under the yoke of=20
oppression, exploitation and destruction by the Slorc.=09


VOL4, NO.8-9, MAY 15, 1996

27/4/1996: Supporter of democracy movement have lashed out at=20
Pepsi's claim to have exited Burma, calling it a cynical public=20
relation exercise that internationally misrepresents the facts."=20

"We refuse to swallow Pepsi's lies about its Burma operations and=20
its ties to the military junta," says Free Burma Coalition=20
organiser Zar Ni. The FBC has announced an international hunger=20
strike aimed at Pepsi and the small number of multinational=20
companies, including Unocal, Texaco, Arco and Heineken, that prop=20
up the regime.=20


The Village Voice, May 28, 1996, p. 26
Jill Priluck

Last summer's Beyond Rangoon may have been a bomb at the box office, but it
has proved to be an unwitting catalyst for the Free Burma Coalition (FBC),
the world's first cyber human-rights campaign.

The FBC was founded by Zarni, a 32-year-old Ph.D. student at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison, who left Burma--renamed Myanmar by its ruling
junta--as the government cracked down on student dissent in the late '80s.

Zarni's disappointment with Beyond Rangoon--a "typical Hollywood chase
film, Zarni says, though he worked on the script--prompted him to raise
awareness about Burma's brutal regime.  Working with designers, artists,
and activists. Zarni created the FBC, an online clearinghouse for some
hundred campus organizations from 18 countries.

"I'm like an air-traffic controller, hooking up concerned individuals and
similar groups who are isolated from one another," says Zarni.  "You can
see the community emerging from the internet."

Along with FBC, another on-line project is building support for Burma's
dissidents.  In January 1994, Doug Steele, a law student at Georgetown who
spent two years reporting from the Thai-Burmese border established
BurmaNet, a Thailand-based listserve with updated news, reports from human
rights groups, and Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

This new activism is already having an effect.  Last month, Harvard turned
down a million-dollar contract with Pepsico as a result of student protest
galvanized by an FBC campaign.  Though the company recently sold its 40 per
cent stake in Pepsi-Cola Products Myanmar, it still provides local
businessess with its syryp and trademark.  Other colleges, notably Stanford
and Colgate, have also turned down contracts with the company.

In the last month, municipalities in San Francisco and Oakland passed
selective purchasing laws, joining Berkeley, Madison, Santa Monica. and Ann
Arbor in restricting business with companies invested in Burma.  Similar
legislation is pending in New York City and the state of Massachusetts.

These days Zarni's asking fellow FBC students to lobby the Senate Banking
Committee, where hearings are being held this week on a bipartisan bill
aimed at banning U.S. investment in Burma



    WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuter) - Burma has told the United States that opp=
osition politicians seized in a crackdown are being held at government gues=
t houses, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
     Spokesman Nicholas Burns said Burmese authorities were responding to p=
rotests from U.S. diplomats over the arrest of some 91 activists, apparentl=
y designed to scuttle a meeting sponsored by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung =
San Suu Kyi.



S E N A T E   B A N K I N G   C O M M I T T E E
News Release

CONTACT: Richard Mills (202)224-0894

   Prepared Statement of U.S. Senator Alfonse M. D'Amato (R - NY)
         Chairman, Senate Banking Committee
                Hearing on S.1511,
    "Burma Freedom and Democracy Act of 1995"
         Wednesday, May 22, 1996

This morning the Committee will conduct a hearing on S. 1511, the "BurmaFre=
edom and Democracy Act of 1995." I want to commend Senator McConnell for hi=
s leadership and his initiative on this important human-rights legislation.
I am pleased to be a co-sponsor of this important legislation along with Se=
nators Moynihan and Leahy.

This legislation uses sanctions to send a clear message to the ruling
military junta in Burma -- the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLO=
RC) -- that its record on human rights, in counter-narcotics, and its refus=
al to let the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) as=
sume office is immoral and una
cceptable to the United States.

Burma's human rights record is horrendous. For example, in 1988, the SLORC =
killed an estimated 3,000 pro-democracy demonstrators. Thousands more have =
been jailed since then. And just yesterday, roughly forty-five members of t=
he NLD were arrested for attem
pting to peacefully assemble.

The junta's record in counter-narcotics is also unacceptable. In 1994, Burm=
a was responsible for 94% of the opium produced worldwide and is the suppli=
er of 60% of the heroin found in the U.S. A State Department concluded that=
 Burma was not taking adequate
 steps to control the narcotics produced there. The drug trafficking groups=
 involved in the heroin trade seemingly have complete autonomy to produce a=
nd distribute center in the U.S. for Southeast Asian heroin.

It is obvious that current U.S. policy toward Burma is NOT working and incr=
eased pressure on the SLORC is needed. We must recognize that sanctions wil=
l force the SLORC to clean up. I fully agree with Nobel Peace Prize winner =
Desmond Tutu when he stated th
at, "Five years of constructive engagement has only given the SLORC the con=
fidence to maintain its repressive rule."

This legislation will help send a clear message that the United States will=
 not tolerate such outrageous behavior. U.S. companies such as PepsiCo, Lev=
i Strauss, and Macy's, among others, have put moral responsibility ahead of=
 their bottom line by starting
 to serve their ties with Burma. The U.S.
Government should also assume a more aggressive and activist policy. The Ad=
ministration has not exercised such leadership; Congress must provide it an=
d that is the purpose of Senator MCConnell's bill.

It is important fot the United States to send a strong signal that we will =
not accept the current situation in Burma. Today's hearing is only the firs=
t step in sending this loud and clear message.


 By Robert Green    =20
WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuter) - A Burmese opposition
leader urged the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to impose economic sanctions on=
 Rangoon's military government, now engaged in a crackdown on pro-democracy=

    The recommendation was opposed by the State Department and the head of =
a U.S. company engaged in a project in the region.

    "I can assure you that the passage of this legislation will further
advance the cause of democracy in Burma," Sein Win said of a bill intended =
to curb U.S. investment as a lever to force the military rulers to step asi=

    Win, who is prime minister of the exile National Coalition Government o=
f the Union of Burma and is a cousin of Burma's main internal opposition le=
ader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was speaking at a hearing of the Senate Banking Com=

    The bill would ban private investment in Burma and require U.S. firms t=
o disinvest until the president assures Congress that an elected government=
 has been allowed to take power.

    Burma's rulers detained another 10 opposition politicians on Wednesday,=
 swelling the total of those picked up in a crackdown designed to scuttle a=
 meeting of Suu Kyi's party.

    At the State Department, spokesman Nicholas Burns said: "This is yet an=
other in a long series of outrageous and oppressive measures against democr=
ats ... nothing can justify the detention of 91 people who simply wanted to=
 meet to talk about the activi
ties of their group."

    The United States has often condemned Burmese repression of the Nobel P=
eace Prize winner and her supporters, but its policy has been complicated b=
y what some officials feel is a need to work with Rangoon on anti-drug traf=
ficking efforts.

    In addition, most of the countries in the Association of Southeast Asia=
n Nations have advocated a policy of engagement with Burma, rather than tou=
gh sanctions.

    "We understand the concern of some who fear that sanctions will hurt th=
e common people. They are wrong," Win said.

    "The common people of Burma have survived for three decades under the B=
urmese military by operating outside the official economy and they will con=
tinue to do so. The ones who will be affected by sanctions are the members =
of the ruling junta and those=20
who support them," he added.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kent Wiedemann said the
administration supported the goals of restoring democracy in Burma, but opp=
osed the mandatory imposition of sanctions.

    "We intend to maintain the U.S. measures already in place in Burma," Wi=
edemann said in remarks prepared for the hearing.

"We need to maintain our flexibility to respond to events in Burma and to c=
onsult with Congress on appropriate responses to ongoing and future develop=

    "We thus oppose measures, such as the mandatory provisions of (the bill=
) that restrict, rather than maintain or enhance, the administration's free=
dom of action."

    And the president of Los Angeles-based Unocal Corp <UCL.N>., which is t=
rying to develop the Yadana natural gas field off the coast of Burma, said =
the sanctions would only hurt the Burmese people rather than the military r=

    "Rather than isolating Myanmar (Burma), the expanding use of unilateral=
 steps will further isolate the United States from many of its allies in As=
ia and Europe -- all of whom are aggressively developing closer relationshi=
ps with Myanmar,"

Unocal's John Imle said in a written statement to the panel.

    Imle said the project would directly benefit 20,000 Burmese who live in=
 the vicinity of the 39-mile (65 km) pipeline route, not government officia=

 Senator. Mitch McConnell, chief sponsor of the bill, said this week's arre=
st of 90 opposition politicians, most members of the National League for De=
mocracy in Burma, unscored the need for stronger action against the militar=
y government.

    "Swift action on my bill will assure Suu Kyi and the NLD that the U.S. =
Congress stands with them in democracy's hour of need," said McConnell, a K=
entucky Republican.

    He compared the situation to South Africa, where use of U.S. and intern=
ational sanctions helped end apartheid.

    Committee chairman Alfonse D'Amato, a New York Republican, also support=
s the bill but it is uncertain when the committee might act on the legislat=



REPORT #1 =20
 Associated Press Writer

   RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said
Wednesday it was "quite possible" that she could be arrested again, as the =
military regime she has been fighting for years jailed scores of her suppor=
   "You know how it is with these dictatorial governments," said Suu Kyi, a=
 Nobel Peace Prize laureate freed last July after six years of house arrest=
 . "If you're part of the movement for democracy in Burma, imprisonment is s=
imply an occupational hazard."

   She made the comments in an interview with Voice of America radio.
   At least 90 people have been detained since the nationwide roundup start=
ed Monday and more arrests were expected, her opposition group said. The ju=
nta's crackdown came ahead of the largest meeting of pro-democracy activist=
s in years, scheduled to begin
 Sunday at Suu Kyi's house.
   The three-day gathering was to bring together for the first time
surviving candidates from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, who won =
392 of 485 seats in democratic elections in 1990 that the junta refused to =
honor. Many of the candidates have been killed, jailed or driven into exile=
   The meeting, which coincides with the sixth anniversary of the election,=
 is seen as a symbolic challenge to the junta's legitimacy.
   The junta, formally known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council=
, or SLORC, has hobbled Suu Kyi's efforts to rally support since freeing he=
   Winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her non-violent promotion of de=
mocracy, the charismatic Suu Kyi has said her supporters will not provoke a=
 repeat of 1988, when troops killed hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators=
   Still, Suu Kyi said the meeting would go ahead despite the arrests.
   "For the long term, we think everything is working in our favor because =
all this is tantamount to the SLORC admitting that they cannot cope with th=
e situation," Suu Kyi told VOA.
   "They keep on saying, `Oh, these people don't matter, the elections were=
 six years ago, and yet it seems as though these people matter very much in=
deed," she said.
   Her spokesman, Aye Win, said except for the party's top 10 leaders, all =
of its representatives in Rangoon who were to attend the meeting had been t=
aken into custody by Wednesday. Among them was Suu Kyi's personal assistant=
, Win Htein.
   Asked if authorities appeared intent on rounding up the 200 to 300 peopl=
e originally expected, Aye Win said: "We think so."
   Meanwhile, on a trip to Japan, Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw gave th=
e junta's first public reaction, telling a Japanese official Wednesday that=
 reports of the arrests were "fabricated."
   Ohn Gyaw also said the reporters have not praised the regime for
allowing Suu Kyi to stage weekly rallies in front of her home, but "react r=
ight away when someone was reported to have been arrested."
   The rallies, which attract about 2,000 people, are the only contact with=
 ordinary Burmese the junta allows Suu Kyi. Burma's state-controlled news m=
edia does not report her remarks, but tapes of her speeches circulate surre=
ptitiously around the country.

   Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962. Suu Kyi, daughter of in=
dependence hero Aung San, emerged as the country's top pro-democracy leader=
 during the 1988 demonstrations.
   The current regime has opened Burma's economy to foreign investment, lon=
g shunned by previous regimes, but has stifled political dissent.


 Associated Press Writer
   RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Ignoring international protests, Burma's military=
 regime arrested more supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi toda=
y in its push to block a pro-democracy meeting.
   The junta has detained at least 90 people since Monday, including Suu Ky=
i's personal assistant, Win Htein. Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace =
Prize, remains free, but she told Voice of America radio today that it was =
"quite possible" she might be=20
arrested as well.
   "You know how it is with these dictatorial governments," said Suu Kyi, w=
ho spent six years under house arrest.
   Despite the arrests of Suu Kyi's supporters, the three-day meeting of op=
position leaders will begin as planned Sunday at her home in Rangoon, anoth=
er opposition spokesman, Aye Win, said.
   The meeting is to be the most important gathering of the military
regime's opponents since Suu Kyi was released from house arrest in July.
   It is meant as a symbolic attack on the legitimacy of the junta, which r=
efused to honor democratic elections in 1990. Suu Kyi's National League for=
 Democracy won the vote by a landslide, but the military regime -- known as=
 the State Law and Order Resto
ration Council, or SLORC -- never allowed Parliament to convene.
   "In the short term, of course, there will be fewer people at the
conference than there otherwise might have been," Suu Kyi told VOA. "As for=
 the long term, we think everything is working in our favor because this is=
 tantamount to the SLORC admitting that they cannot cope with the situation=
   In the interview with VOA, Suu Kyi refused to speculate how long her sup=
porters might remain in custody.
   "If you're part of the movement for democracy in Burma, imprisonment is =
simply an occupational hazard," she said.
   None of the 10 top leaders in Suu Kyi's party has been detained, but Aye=
 Win said he expects more arrests.
   The government gave no reason for the arrests, and it was unclear where =
the detainees were being held.
   State-controlled news media carried no word of the arrests, although man=
y Burmese heard about the detentions on foreign radio. Rangoon's streets we=
re quiet today.
   The meeting, on the sixth anniversary of the election, brings together e=
lected league members who have not been killed, arrested or driven into exi=
   On Tuesday, Washington urged countries in the region to use their
influence on the junta to help democracy supporters in Burma, also known as=
   The arrests were "yet another in a series of oppressive actions by the m=
ilitary regime" to block democracy, State Department spokesman Nicholas Bur=
ns said in Washington.
   London-based Amnesty International said it fears the detainees may face =
   The arrests and the junta's harsh rhetoric against Suu Kyi and her
supporters suggest the regime "has decided to pull out all stops against th=
e opposition," said Sidney Jones, director of the New York-based Human Righ=
ts Watch/Asia.
   Attacks in Burma's press this week likened Suu Kyi to a viper.

Press Release


On May 16, 1996, 6 students from Rangoon University were arrested in Rangoo=
n for organizing people in support of NLD meeting which is scheduled to be =
held this Sunday.=20

They were arrested a few days before the military regime began its crackdow=
n on the NLD, detaining more than 90 NLD representatives and supporters up =
until yesterday.

Ye Kyaw Zwar, a second year Engineering student from RIT (Rangoon Institute=
 of Technology), Kyaw Kyaw Htay (a.k.a) Margue, a first year English major =
student along with  four other University students were arrested by the mil=
itary regime. Kyaw Kyaw Htay i
s a member of DAYS (Democratic Association of Youth and Students), an under=
ground youth and student organization based in Rangoon. According to the re=
liable sources from Rangoon, these students were detained for organizing pe=
ople to stage
demonstrations in support of the upcoming NLD meeting which is scheduled to=
 be held on May 26 in Rangoon.=20

Ye Kyaw Zwar was detained in 1990 for the same reason and sentenced to thre=
e years imprisonment. He was released in 1993.

We have also received information that students and political activists who=
 were and have been involved with the movement, are being questioned or rou=
nded up nation-wide, by the Burmese military.     =20

Information Department
88 Camp
All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)

Date: May 23, 1996=20


May 22, 1996
Compiled by Burma Net from information provided by Mbeer.

Yangon, May 19;=20
 A total of 459.74 kilos of narcotic drugs, including 4.9 kilos of heroin,
were seized by Myanmar authorities last month, the official newspaper the n=
light of myanmar reported today.  the seizure also included 147.31 liters o=
phensedyl.  According to the report, myanmar police have taken legal action=
against 435 people in 305 drug-related cases in April across the country.  =
total of 780.52 kilos of drugs were seized in the first four months of this
Copyright 1996 Times Business Publications  =20
                                 Business Times

Copyright 1996 Xinhua News Agency

Yangon, may 21;
Myanmar's ministry of finance and revenue today issued a notification on th=
exemption from commercial tax of some export items such as agricultural and
forestry products, the state-run radio myanmar reported today.  The exempti=
aims to boost the country's exports, the ministry said in the notification.=
export items that enjoy the exemption also include marine products and
handicrafts.  The exemption has been effective since may 15, the notificati=
Xinhua News Agency.

MAY 21, 1996, TUESDAY

   The Yunnan machinery equipment import and export corporation (ymec) of C=
today signed here a contract with the myanmar port authority to carry out t=
he Bo
Aung Gyaw wharf extension project in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar.  It is=
first time ever for a chinese company to solely undertake such a project.
According to the contract, the project will cost about 30 million us dollar=
s and
the ymec is to design and build a wharf that can handle container ships and=
project should be completed within 21 months.  Meanwhile, c and p holdings =
ltd of singapore also signed a contract with Myanmar early last june for
building two container terminals at thilawa port in Yangon that calls for
investment of 48.16 million us dollars initially.

                       Copyright 1996 Xinhua News Agency

Yangon, May 20.

   Myanmar and Bangladesh started their 20th high-level coordination meetin=
here today on the repatriation of Myanmar muslim refugees from Bangladesh, =
state-run tv Myanmar reported tonight.  a total of 197,376 Myanmar muslim
refugees, who fled to Bangladesh from the western Myanmar state of Rakhine,=
been repatriated to Myanmar since september 1992 under an agreement signed
between the immigration authorities of the two countries in april that year=
The report said director-general of the immigration and manpower department=
the Myanmar ministry of immigration and population U Maung Aung is heading =
Myanmar delegation to the meeting.  The visiting bangladeshi delegation, wh=
arrived here last sunday, is led by additional foreign secretary M. Aminul
islam.  The 19th myanmar-bangladesh meeting of high-ranking officials was h=
in Bangladesh last september during the visit by Myanmar minister for
immigration and population lt. gen. maung Hla.  Hla also met with the
Bangladeshi delegation today, the report said.

May, 1996 /  June, 1996



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