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BurmaNet News: October 3, 1997

"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: October 3, 1996
Issue #530

Noted in Passing: 

		ASEAN Governments should caution  SLORC that its membership 
		of ASEAN cannot be taken for granted and must be contingent on 
		its avoidance of repressive actions against Aung San Suu Kyi and 
		NLD - Opposition Leader of the DAP Malaysia, Lim Kit Siang


Sept 30, 1996

Axworthy calls for release of Burmese detainees

Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy today called on Burma's
ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to release
immediately all detained members of the National League for
Democracy (NLD), and to allow the NLD party congress to be held
without further interference or intimidation.

"This latest crackdown is further evidence that the international
community needs to work harder and co-operatively to encourage
Burma's military regime to commit itself to a genuine dialogue with
Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement," said Minister
Axworthy.  "This dialogue is an essential step toward national
reconciliation and democratic reform in Burma".

Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) Raymond Chan called on the
military regime "to stop its repressive tactics that prevent the
people of Burma from exercising their basic political rights".

Canada has repeatedly expressed its concern over the actions taken
by Burma's military rulers against Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi
and the pro-democracy movement.  At the Jakarta ASEAN meetings last
July, Mr. Axworthy proposed the establishment of a contact group
under United Nations or other auspices, to open the lines of
communication with the SLORC and make it more accountable to the
international community.


September 28, 1996

Press Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General
and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya 

ASEAN Governments should caution  SLORC that its membership of ASEAN 
cannot be taken for granted and must be contingent on its avoidance of
actions against Aung San Suu Kyi and NLD

The latest repressive actions by the Myanmese military junta, SLORC,
detaining 109 pro-democracy activists and blocking all roads leading to
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house to stop a three-day  congress of
the National League for Democracy on the occasion of its eighth anniversary
must be a cause of  international concern.

 The latest repression, following intimations from SLORC that Aung San Suu
Kyi would be charged with "political crimes" in the immediate future, seem
to indicate  that SLORC had been encouraged by the complicity and compliance
of ASEAN governments to previous SLORC crackdowns against pro-democracy
workers, and that its membership of ASEAN is a foregone conclusion.

           SLORC's latest repression against pro-democracy forces, and its
refusal to embark on a policy of national reconciliation, should be
highlighted in the United Nations General Assembly so that international
pressure could be mobilised against SLORC for Burma to move towards
democratisation and national reconciliation.


October 2, 1996 (abridged)

FORMER Philippine president Corazon Aquino said yesterday that
Burma's pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi should
be fully supported because of her sacrifices on behalf of the
Burmese people in attempting to bring about democracy and respect
for human rights.

Aquino, in Thailand for a five-day visit, also called for a
dialogue between the Burmese government and the opposition to
address common problems through peaceful means.

Aquino was the Philippine president from 1986 to 1992. She is a
strong supporter of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Burma
where the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc)
has so far refused to initiate any dialogue with the opposition
National League for Democracy party led by Suu Kyi, who has
repeatedly expressed her readiness to do so.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation yesterday, Aquino said
that after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)
summit in Singapore in 1992, she wrote a letter to the Slorc
leaders urging them on humanitarian grounds to allow Suu Kyi's
family and husband, Dr Michael Aris, to visit her in Rangoon.
Although she never received an answer from the Slorc, Aris was
eventually allowed to visit her.

Aquino also yesterday revealed that at the second meeting of the
Forum of Democratic Leaders in Manila next month, Aris, a
professor at England's prestigious Oxford University, will
deliver Suu Kyi's speech in her place.

Two years ago at the forum's first meeting in Seoul, Aquino read
Suu Kyi's speech on her behalf. The forum, which  promotes
democratic values and respect for human rights, was founded by
Aquino, Kim Dae-Jung of South Korea, former Costa Rican 
president Oscar Arias, and Sonia Gandhi, widow, of former Indian
prime minister Rajiv  Gandhi. She said the plight of Suu Kyi 
will once again be taken up by the forum.

As the next millenium approaches, Aquino is confident that more
and more countries and peoples will turn to democracy. "Global
communication lets you know what is happening in other parts of
the world and you can see things differently. We will be able to
learn from each other and it will be easier to communicate."

Tomorrow she is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the fifth annual
Academics' Conference on "The Quality of Life and Human Rights:
In Commemoration of October 6, 1976" at the Dusit Thani Hotel.

She will address the issues of human rights, democracy and the
quality of life.


October 1, 1996

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 1 (Reuter) - The European Union called on Tuesday for the
immediate release of more than 500 people detained by Burmese military
rulers in a crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

EU foreign ministers released a statement saying they were very concerned at
the situation in Burma and calling on its ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Committee (SLORC) to lift a blockade on the home of opposition
leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma's military government said on Tuesday it had released 88 of the 559
supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party held since
Thursday but roadblocks around Suu Kyi's remained in place.
Senior Burmese officials said detained activists were being held temporarily
to prevent unrest and would be released soon.

The EU foreign ministers said: "The European Union wishes to emphasise the
need for a genuine dialogue to commence without delay between SLORC and the
NDL as being the only possible credible way forward for national


October 2, 1996
By Deborah Charles

RANGOON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, defying
Burmese government attempts to gag her, slipped by police barricades barring
access to her home on Wednesday and told reporters up to 800 democracy
activists had been arrested.

Her estimate was sharply higher than that of the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC), which said 559 of her National League for
Democracy (NLD) party members and supporters had been arrested since last

"We think it is nearer 800," the 1991 Nobel Peace laureate said when told of
the number of detentions declared by the military government on Tuesday.
The Burmese embassy in Bangkok said late on Tuesday that 88 of the 559
detained ahead of an NLD congress planned for September 27-29 had already
been released.

Suu Kyi, who joined in on an elaborate plan to meet about a dozen reporters
at a house just outside the police barricades blocking access to her
University Avenue home, said she was not downhearted by the latest action
taken by the SLORC.

"The level of response is always a reflection of the extent of their fear,
their nervousness," she said when asked what she thought of the SLORC's
efforts to block the party meeting.

The SLORC ordered arrests and barred people from travelling on University
Avenue since early on Friday to prevent the party meeting from taking place.
It said the detentions were only temporary and claimed the NLD was trying to
create instability and incite riots with its gathering.
Suu Kyi said the latest crackdown was not a surprise to the party and said
it would help boost the NLD's legitimacy.

"What has happened over the last week has been a great help to us," a
relaxed-looking Suu Kyi said. "People are fed up with this kind of stupid
behaviour and the international community agrees now the SLORC is getting
worse not better."

The United States, the European Union and international human rights groups
have condemned the latest Burmese detentions and called for immediate
release of the detainees.

A defiant Suu Kyi, who said she was housing 31 people in her compound
including eight NLD representatives who came to Rangoon to attend the
congress, vowed to hold another party congress without seeking permission
from the SLORC.

SLORC officials have said the NLD congress was illegal in part because the
party did not have permission to hold the meeting. Suu Kyi says meetings are
a regular and necessary part of the work of a legitimate organisation like
the NLD.

"We will continue our plans for our party. We will eventually convene
another congress, but that won't be right away," she said. "We certainly are
not going to ask for anybody's permission."  She said she and party chairman
Aung Shwe asked the SLORC on Friday to sit down and negotiate with the
party.  "None of this would have happened over the past few days if we had
dialogue," she said. "Dialogue would be much more pleasant than all of this
nonsense."  SLORC says the forum for dialogue is a national convention,
which has been meeting since 1993. Suu Kyi angered the SLORC last year by
pulling the NLD out of the talks where hand-picked SLORC delegates are
drafting guidelines for a new charter.  


October 2, 1996

MANILA, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Philippine President Fidel Ramos said on Wednesday
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) might review its policy
of "constructive engagement" towards Burma at the ASEAN summit in November.
Ramos said the consensus among ASEAN foreign ministers remained that the
group may eventually admit Burma as a member provided it made progress on
trade and political reforms.

But ASEAN may review its policy of refraining from directly challenging
Burma on its human rights record, Ramos told his weekly news conference.
"The ASEAN leaders will have their summit in late November 1996 and maybe
the matter can be reviewed at that stage," Ramos said in response to a
question on the ASEAN response to Rangoon's latest crackdown on democracy

The seven-member regional grouping has previously resisted pressure for
international sanctions to be imposed against Burma's military rulers.
It has instead preferred a policy of what it calls "constructive
engagement", hoping to bring about democratic reforms in Burma through quiet
persuasion rather than confrontation.  


October 2, 1996
By Ian MacKenzie

JAKARTA, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Western hostility towards Rangoon's military
rulers poses Southeast Asian nations with a dilemma over how quickly to
admit Burma to full ASEAN membership, diplomatic analysts said on Wednesday.
Burma's membership was discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations in New York last week, ASEAN
Secretary-General Ajit Singh said.

"But because there is no government in Thailand at the moment, the ministers
decided to postpone that decision until a new government in Thailand is
formed," he told Reuters in Kuala Lumpur.
Diplomatic analysts said clear differences had emerged within the
seven-nation group over Burma, highlighted by comments by Philippines
President Fidel Ramos to reporters in Manila on Wednesday.
He said ASEAN might review its policy of "constructive engagement" towards
Burma which has been aimed at influencing rather than forcing policy changes
by the country's military rulers.

"That view was also put cross by the Philippines foreign minister in New
York. There were others who stated their positions," Singh said.
ASEAN comprises Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand,
Vietnam and Brunei. So far, they have endeavoured to show a united front
over a variety of issues, including Burma.

Diplomats said Western concern over Burma had heightened over the past week
with a further crackdown on opponents of the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC).

Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday the government
had arrested up to 800 members and supporters of her National League for
Democracy (NLD) since Thursday last week.

Washington has threatened sanctions against Burma over its record on human
rights and democracy. The United States, the European Union and other
Western powers have made no secret of their distaste for Burma's current rulers.
"What concerns us is how you could sensibly cooperate between the European
Union and ASEAN with someone like the SLORC actually across the table," one
diplomat commented.

Analysts said the Philippines and Thailand before the collapse of its last
government wanted ASEAN to take a cautious approach to Burma's membership to
take account of "Western sensibilities".  Singapore and Malaysia had
advocated admitting Burma quickly, possibly at the annual foreign ministers'
conference in Kuala Lumpur in July next year -- the 30th anniversary of the
organisation.  Burma said on Tuesday it had submitted its application to
join ASEAN, in which it gained observer status at a meeting in Jakarta in
July -- a move which prompted Western criticism and an angry reaction in
turn from ASEAN states.

The other two Southeast Asian countries, Cambodia and Laos, are due to
become full members next year.  Officials and diplomats in the region said
there was unlikely to be a decision on Burma's application until heads of
government of the seven ASEAN nations hold an informal summit in Jakarta at
the end of November.  


October 2, 1996 (South China Morning Post)

The Burmese opposition may have lost its voice in the most severe repression
by the military authorities since opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's
release after six years' house arrest in July 1995.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) leader has been under virtual house
arrest for the past four days.  The State Law and Order Restoration Council,
as the junta styles itself, said yesterday 559 NLD supporters had also been
brought in for questioning, of which 88 had been released by last night.
Political activists and the press have been prevented from seeing or talking
to the Nobel Peace laureate whose house has been a democratic oasis for 14

The junta said yesterday it was prepared to renew its crackdown if the NLD
tried holding another party congress, a military intelligence official said.
Colonel Kyaw Win, deputy chief of military intelligence, said such
pre-emptive action against the NLD would be less damaging to the country
than the negative publicity it attracted abroad.

"Letting them go ahead with meetings like that would have serious
ramifications, making it more difficult for the authorities," he said.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from leaving her home at the weekend and
her telephone was cut off, but it is not clear how isolated she will be in
the future.

Junta spokesmen claimed yesterday that only close colleagues would be
allowed to visit her at the moment, although she was free to move around.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters are paying the price for attempting
to plan a political future from her home on the eighth anniversary of the
NLD - which won an election in 1990 by a landslide, only to be ignored by
the military.

The weekend crackdown was harsher than that in May when 260 elected NLD
representatives were detained after announcing a party congress.
But Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's house was not closed off then and her weekend
public speeches from her gate were allowed to continue.

The NLD's announcement on Thursday that its supporters would meet to discuss
such provocative subjects as a rival constitution unleashed the latest
reaction. The SLORC does not appear to care much if its repression helps
provoke a ban on new investment from the US and restrictions on textile
exports to Europe.

Friday's move by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to cool
expectations that Burma would obtain full membership in time for the
organisation's 30th anniversary next summer may also not mean much.
Deputy Foreign Minister U Nyunt said the question of when Burma would join
ASEAN was up to its Southeast Asian neighbours.

U Nyunt said the Government might "take action" against a US diplomat for
meeting Ms Aung San Suu Kyi.  He said the actions of US Embassy Charge
d'Affaires Marilyn Meyers in the lead-up to the planned weekend congress had
strained the tolerance of the Burmese Government.  Ms Meyers and another
Rangoon-based American diplomat, Mark B. Taylor, were accused of active
participation in planning the NLD's congress. 


October 2, 1996

RANGOON, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Leaders of two ethnic rebel organisations that
have signed ceasefire agreements with Burma's military regime urged on
Wednesday all groups to cooperate with the government to help the country
achieve democracy.

"We want to establish peace in our country. It is not a time to confront
each other because we need national reconciliation," said Nai Shwe Kyin,
leader of the Mon New State Party. "We have reached ceasefire agreements and
the next step is political dialogue."

"We must establish trust. After bloodbaths lasting nearly one half a century
we must establish trust with the view that one day reconciliation will come
about," said the Mon leader who at 83-years is the oldest rebel leader in Burma.
The Mon, one of Burma's 16 armed rebel groups, signed a ceasefire agreement
in May 1995. All the rebel groups except the Karen National Union have
signed ceasefires with the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council

Kyi Myint, general secretary of the National Democracy Alliance Army from
eastern Shan state bordering China and Laos, said his organisation was
participating in a government-sponsored National Convention which is
drafting guidelines for a new constitution.
"There is a national convention where we can discuss and argue. Not all
things we propose are accepted but some of our proposals were accepted,
especially regarding self administrative areas and economic development
matters," he said.

Kyi Myint said the constitutional talks were the best forum for discussion
between various ethnic groups, the opposition and the government.
Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi angered the SLORC last November when she
pulled her National League for Democracy (NLD) party out of the
constitutional talks, claiming the talks were a sham and did not represent
the will of the people.

The SLORC launched a new crackdown on the democracy movement late last 
week, arresting hundreds of activists and setting up police-manned barricades 
to bar access to Suu Kyi's house and prevent a three-day NLD congress from
taking place.  


October 1, 1996

- The Chief of the Police Anti Narcotic Dept: Col. Ngwe Soe Tun explained that 
there are 3 main strategies being undertaken at present:

1. Reduction of opium production
Eradication of opium production and development of the border areas is being 
emphasised. It was stated that opium growing has occured in Myanmar for
many years and will take time to stop. There are 18 special opium eradication 
teams formed.  

Khun Sa's surrender has made the implementation of opium eradication programs
much easier as the army is now able to patrol areas that were previously
by his troops. Therefore there will be a greater reduction in opium growing
in the
coming opium season.

2. Reduction in Drug Usage
There are 56847 drug addicts registered in Myanmar, 62% of which are
addicted to 
opium, 29% to heroin and 9% to other drugs. The registered participants in the 
governments drug abuse reduction plan are entitled  to free rehabilitation,
cured at 
6 special hospitals for addicts and are then sent to training sites.
Preventive measures in relation to drug abuse occurs through:
- Education Dept including education materials in the school syllabus 
-The Information and Army Public Relation Departments are undergoing education 
programs in TV broadcasting and other information networks.

3. The SLORC is also working with the regional and international agreement 
committees on the prevention of drugs and is also working hand in
hand with regional and neighbouring countries in this aspect.

In current situation, on 27-28 September, 259 NLD members were taken to 
state guest houses; 236 in Rangoon and 23 in other areas, for questioning.

The NLD arranged the meeting in an attempt to break the existing
laws and are trying to agitate the people who will attend  the regular
weekend talks. To prevent this disturbance from becoming uncontrollable, the 
meeting has been prevented  

After her release from arrest, ASSK has had 13 press conferences and almost
interviews. In general, all of the information released was aimed to the
community, causing them to misunderstand the state and also to hamper the aims 
and objectives of the state. 

ASSK has also written letters to the leaders of neighbouring countries in which
she urged them to isolate Myanmar and boycott investment. 

She has written 42 articles in the Japanese newspaper Mainichi up to date and 
generally these can cause the readers to look down on the people of Myanmar and 
the state. She has recieved $17000 for the articles, a Japanese Company has
paid her 
$4054 for the translation of her articles, and a British Book company has
also paid
her $3700 for publishing her articles. 

ASSK has an account at Myanmar Foreign Exchange Bank. She has recieved
financial gains with awards, but none of the money or awards have been
into her account. So it is evident that she has recieved support  from
from other countries who would like to interefer in the internal affairs
internal of 
Myanamr for their varying interests.

In the manual for the political defiance courses run by the NLD, there is
noted many
ways in which to disrupt the army, adminstration and stability of the
country. They
are the same tactics that were used by the Burma Communist Party in the past. 

To hold these personal development training courses, Soros Foundation, IRI, 
Albert Einstein Foundation and The Burmese Border Consortium are supporting
the NLD. The exiles have even hired lobby firms to lobby for them. 

Therefore ASSK and the exiles are working closely. She is hostile towards 
the SLORC who is trying to pass the transition period smoothly on it's way to
democracy. In Myanmar, democracy exists in all periods of the past. In the
AFPFL era, there was Parlimentary Democracy and in the BSPP era, 
Socialist Democracy. 

A different Democracy has occured, according to the political ideology of
the time. 
Now SLORC is leading the country in a transition process towards a multiparty 
democracy. So all should move within the frame laid out by SLORC. 
If people do not move within this  framework and attack or damage the programs 
and projects, necessary action will be taken.

October 2, 1996

Among the 159 NLD members withheld, 88 have been released. In Rangoon,414
people of notority have been arrested. Among them 75 have been released already.

Nai Shwe Kyin, Chairman of NMSP and Kyi Myint, Secretary of UWSP donated
50000kyats each to the Myanmar anti-narcotic organisation.

Nai Shwe Kyin and U Kyi Myint gave a joint press conference today. 

U Kyi Myint:	"SLORC has assisted us. We decided upon a ceasefire, due to 
the fact that we do not want to continue war."

We have already decided not to grow opium but READER's DIGEST have 
portrayed the Wa falsely. 

Concerning the constitution, it would be more beneficial and will produce a 
stronger constitution if more ethnic groups can participate.

We do not accept or agree with some people requesting foreigners not  to 
invest ,trade or travel in Myanmar. The country needs to be prosperous. 
People need to eat.

Nai Shwe Kyin:	ASEAN is helping  SLORC, China is providing loans and 
grants. So the international and regional situation cannot allow an armed 
struggle. There will be no possibility of us taking up arms again. Today, 
confrontation is not the thing to do, but instead reconciliation and
are needed.

This transition period is needed. We have to look forward positively not
SLORC has liberalized the economy and there are a lot of department stores. 
If you go restaurants, the waiters are busy all the time. These are the
signs that 
the country is starting to prosper. 

In religion also SLORC is doing a lot of renovations to pagodas and antiques. 
In the past there was no water in the dry zone. Now a lot of dams and double
crops of paddy are growing. Planting summer paddy has been introduced there.
We must look at these developments in positive view, not in negative view.

The NMSP has not participated in the national convention, but has been
studying the documents  produced by that NC.


October 1, 1996 (abridged)

Harry Wu, a well-known Chinese dissident has agreed to be part of the Free
Burma Fast press conference to be held in the Bay Area on October 8.

Quotes from Harry Wu:

On the leadership of Burma's democracy movement

"I think Aung San Suu Kyi is  not only a freedom fighter for Burma, but
also for the whole world.  She is enlightening the Chinese as well.  I
applaud the people of Burma who, under the leadership of AUng San Suu Kyi,
are fighting for their freedom and democracy."

On China's backing of Burma's thugs:

As a Chinese, I fell very sorry that Chinese government is backing Burma's
military dictatorship that is killing its own people. We have to let the
whole world, particularly the Chinese, know about it and stop the evil
things that are happening in Burma.

We are expecting support statements from several prominent US lawmakers
including Senator Mitch McConnell.

Here is the list of colleges, high schools, and community groups in various
countries that will be participating in the fast.

III. The list of participating colleges and high schools:

a) U.S.A

1-Santa Monica College
2-University of Houston
3-University of Wisconsin-Madison
8-San Francisco State University
9-Boston College (to be confirmed)
10-Northwestern University
11-University of Chicago
12-Warren-Wilson College
13-Tufts University
14-University of Michigan
15-Penn State
16-University of Washington
17-New York University
18-Iowa State University
19. Texas A & M University
20. University of Minnesota
21. Georgetown University
22. Texas Southern University
23. University of Oklahoma
24. East Tennessee State University
25. Baylor College of Medicine
26. Stephen F. Austin University
27. University of Texas at Austin
28. Texas Women's University
29. Conneticut College
30. University of North Carolina-Greensboro
31. University of Georgia
32. Syracuse University
34. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
35. Wesleyan University
36. San Fransciscon State University
37. Hampshire College
38. Rice University
39. Portland State University
40. Reed College
41. Lewis & Clark College
42. Swarthmore College
43. Cornell University
44. Siena College
45. Collehe of the Atlantic (ME)
46. University of Arizona
47. New Jersey Medical School
48. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
49. American University
50. Raritan Valley Community Collge
51. University of New Mexico (to be confirmed)
52. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
53. Saint Rose College
54. UC Santa Barbara

High Schools:

1. Immaculate Heart Academy in Washington Twshp., New Jersey
2. Lab Schools, University of Chicago
3. Lamar High School, Texas
4. West High School, Madison, Wisconsin
5. East High School. Madison, Wisconsin
6. W.P. Clements High School, Sugar Land, Texas
7. Lexington High School (Oklahoma)
8. Lake Forest High School (Illinois)
9. High schools in the Bay Area (the exact number not received yet)
10. St. Louis Visual and Performing Art School (high school), MO

Community Group:

Westerville Social Action, Westerville, Ohio
Chicago Free Burma Coalition

b) Canada

Lakehead University at ThunderBay, Ontario
University of Western-Ontario
Canadian Friends of Burma
The Burma-Tibet Group of OPIRG-Carleton
Carleton University
McGill University (to be confirmed)

c) South Africa
The University of Durban-Westville

d) Japan
Burma Relief Center-Japan

e) Thailand
Aung Myo Min (All Burma Students Democratic Front)
Refugees (in the camps to be confirmed)

University of Houston-20
Stanford-20  (High schools near Stanford-25)
Warren-Wilson College - 30
Texas A&M Universtiy - 5
Texas Southern University - 1
Rice University - 5
Baylor College of Medicine - 1
Texas Women's University - 1
Penn State - 25+
U. Washington-8-9
College of the Atlantic-20
University of N. Carolina at Greensboro-30
U. of Arizona-9
U. of Chicago/Lab Schools-3
Northwestern U.-10
U. Wisconsin at Madison 15+
U. of North Carolina at North Carolina-8-9
New York University-10
American University-5-10


October 2, 1996

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, Oct 2 (Reuter) - Bangladeshi security forces have
asked their couterparts in Burma to help sweep hundreds of anti-personnel
mines dotting the no-man's land and other areas along their 250 km (155
miles) frontier, military sources said on Wednesday.

They said the request followed the death of six Bangladeshis, including a
border guard, and two elephants from landmines at Naikhayangchhari last month.

"Bangladesh security forces are awaiting clearance from Myanmar (Burma)
authorities to conduct the mine sweeping. The clearance is needed to avoid
misunderstanding between border forces of the two countries,"
Lieutenant-Colonel Shawkat Jamal said.

"Myanmar security forces have also been requested to cooperate with us in
this regard," he told Reuters.
"We hope that Myanmar will soon give go ahead to the sweeping as lives of
civilians and forces on both sides are threatened."

Police last week said the mines were believed to have been laid by Burmese
troops to prevent cross-border insurgents, but Bangladesh was not consulted
or aware of such a move.

But Jamal said the mines could have been planted by Burmese insurgents.
"The large number of mines have been planted crudely...but they can be
removed or defused by experts only," he said.

There was no word on the issue from Dhaka's foreign or defence ministry


Aug-Dec 96 Issue

published by Commonwealth Communications Ltd.London
Tel 44 171 937 8177
Fax 44 171 376 1420

To date, this magazine has done its best to promote trade between Western
companies and the nations in the Asia Pacific region which it reviews.
But when we came to look at Burma, the anti-democratic character of that
country's regime, and its human rights record, were just too much to
stomach.  The junta ignored a landslide election defeat in 1988 (sic),
they still refuse to talk to the leader of the party which won, they lock
up their opponents, and they extract forced labor from many ordinary
citizens - including children.  Almost the only argument that can be
advanced in favour of doing business with the junta is that they are very
firmly in power.  But the risks of doing so, given growing talk among
Western governments of applying sanctions, must weigh heavily in the minds
of even the most pragmatic.

The rest of this issue of the magazine is in our more usual optimistic
tone.  We applaud Western companies seeking to expand trade with Asia -
none more so than those of Australia, whose commitment to the region
continues to set a fine example.

Joe Adams

(This issue has 14 pages on Burma, and a 7 page interview with John Imle,
President of Unocal.)


September 27, 1996

Rangoon's modern-day dance halls make an interesting study on
freedom, lost youth and the power of money, BJ Lee writes.

Uncle Aung," the Saturday night disco king at the Yazana Garden
has a gold watch, a Mercedes Benz parked outside, and a sexy
girlfriend young enough to be his granddaughter. Though his
whiskey belly, golf shirt, 50plus years of age and stiff dance
moves aren't likely to get him on MTV, "Uncle Aung", rules the
dance floor along with other men of his age.

"I come here every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes week nights
too," says the inebriated Uncle Aung, ordering a whiskey at the
Yazana disco in central Rangoon.

Sitting bored at street-side tea shops on a recent Saturday
night, a group of young male students in Rangoon complain about
how rich elder businessmen, both foreign and local, are
dominating the  handful of discos that have opened in Rangoon in
the last few years. Though steeped in respect for elders, they
resent their uncles "stealing" the women of their generation.
"The older men have got the money, so they get to have the fun,"
said a Rangoon university student sipping on free tea. "I would
like to go dancing tonight also, but I can't afford the cover
charge." Cover charge at most discos is US$10 (Bt250) for
foreigners, and 100 Kyat (about $6) for locals.

"We would like to hear our own Burmese bands playing at the
clubs,' says another young unemployed male, referring to clubs
such as Escapade and The Cave. "But these places are owned by
foreigners and they only hire bands from the Philippines.

It's because most of the customers are businessmen from Singapore
and other Asian countries. They are used to hearing Philippine
bands playing the same old songs, and they don't want to hear
anything different."
Even fans of green, pagoda-studded Rangoon say the night scene
doesn't compare to Tokyo or Rio. Though the Yazana Garden Hotel
is usually more lively, for many  still seems like an evolved
brothel. One local resident jokes that if you have become a
millionaire in -a-month by making an arms deal and "you feel the
need to give a diamond to a lady", then the Yazana is the place to go.

Women dressed in everything from hipster fashion to Kachin
hilltribe dresses don't want to be seen dancing or chatting with 
the younger guys with hiphop clothes and their parents' cars
because it might cheapen their value and blow their chances at 
hooking a company president.
Young security guards in proper white-collared shirts stand
around the octagonal dance floor at the Yazana like gargoyles in
front of pagodas, strictly enforcing no-smoking rules on the
dance floor When a group of grungey young guys smelling of teen
spirit began slam dancing to a rare Nirvana song recently, the DJ
immediately cut the music and warned them over the speakers in
English, "If you dance like that I won't play rock anymore."
Though Kurt Cobain's kids behaved, Nirvana wasn't heard from again. 
Never mind say the "uncles" who see the emergence of clean,
spanking-new discos in Rangoon as a sign of a new era in Burma.
One local writer in his forties says the discos give his
generation the chance to make up for the juvenile delinquency
they missed during the strict anti-entertainment policies of the
military government. Many women in Burma, however, don't share
his enthusiasm. They say they still feel disco dancing is
improper Burmese behaviour, regardless of wealth. As in Thailand
before the economic boom of the last 10 years, a women in a club
is often branded as a prostitute by both men and women. Many
Burmese men agree that disco dancing is not part of their proud
Burmese tradition.

During his first visit to Yazana, a former student activist now
in his late twenties said: "Many of the people at Yazana are
Kukang Chinese from the north They have more money than us
Burmese and they don't respect our traditional culture as much.
They just want all the western fashion they can buy."

Later, with an iced beer in hand, looking at grooving teenagers
dressed in basketball shoes, knee-length shorts and baseball caps
turned backwards exactly like their heroes on a big MTV video
screen looming above the dance floor, he did admit, however, that
discos in Rangoon were a kind of freedom.

"I don't think the government likes this, but there's money
involved  so they have to permit  it".

He also noted that there's a generation gap not just between
himself and the old men on the dance floor, but also with his
juniors five to 10 years younger. "We never had something like
this when I was a student. May be this is why today's students
aren't out protesting. They 're just trying to make money so they
can come here and dance instead of waiting until they're old men."