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BurmaNet News January 9, 1997

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

The BurmaNet News: January 9, 1997
Issue #608

Noted in Passing:

		?If-it's-on-CNN-it's-not-in-the-New Light of Myanmar?  


January 8, 1997

SLORC Pressures KIO to Relocate Villagers

Locals in Moemauk town, Banmaw District, near the Sino-Burma border,
informed the ABSDF that the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)
has pressured the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) to relocate
villagers in the area to designated areas under military control.

One of these designated areas is Nalone village. The primary school the
SLORC has set up there has had to be closed because the village has only
about ten households.

The locals also told the ABSDF that the military is pressuring the KIO to
allow an army outpost and police, customs and immigration to be stationed at
Loizar village on the border. However, they say due to the small size of the
village, this is not practical.

The locals believe these demands by the military are just the beginning of
what the military does to armed ethnic groups after it agrees to a ceasefire
with them.


January 9, 1997
Associated Press

RANGOON - A member of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's political party
was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly having links to an ethnic
rebel group and publishing illegal documents, a state-run newspaper said

Saw U Rei was accused of involvement with the Karenni National Progressive
Party, and writing and publishing literature detrimental to national unity,
the New Light of Myanmar said.

Saw U Rei, a native of Karenni state who was voted into a parliament in a
1990 election the military govenrment refused to honour, was arrested on
Nov. 15  last year.

He was given three years in prison on Nov. 29 for contact with the KNPP and
seven years on Dec. 18 for illegal publishing.

Court proceedings in Burma have been sharply criticised by international
human rights groups and lawyers associations for not being open to public

Defendant are frequently denied the right to an attorney or contact with her
families, the rights groups say.

Saw U Rei was one of at least 30 elected representatives from Suu Kyi's
party that have resigned as lawmakers since September.

Suu Kyi has said that the govenrment is forcing her party members to resign
under threats of prison terms or loss of jobs and housing, and then giving
them prison terms anyway.

Suu Kyi's party won 82 per cent of the seats in parliament during the 1990
election. But the regime refused to recognise the result of the election,
jailing dozens of representatives and harassing hundreds of others. Some
have fled the country. (TN)


January 8,  1997
by Greg Torode in Rangoon 

THREATS to stability are now being used as a reason by authorities for the
continued delays to the drafting of a constitution paving the way for a
parliament and elections.

The State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, say a convention to
draft "guidelines" to the long-delayed document could resume soon, but warn
domestic stability was a vital pre-condition.

"There should be an atmosphere of peace," said junta Foreign Minister U Ohn
Gyaw, referring to recent student protests and the Christmas Day bombing of
a Rangoon pagoda.

The Foreign Minister said the guidelines were now about halfway finalised
but needed to be completed before drafting of the document proper could begin.

Western and Asian diplomats constantly lobby SLORC to finish the document
which - in theory - will end the military's rule by decree.

But the SLORC chairman, Prime Minister General Than Shwe, has stated
recently that the junta will remain in power as long as there are problems
with the document.

The drafting was hampered a year ago when delegates from Aung San Suu Kyi's
National League for Democracy pulled out of the convention, slamming it as a
SLORC "sham".

SLORC dominated the sessions, the League claimed, to the point where free
debate was not allowed.

The pullout nevertheless blocked the key avenue for dialogue between the
SLORC and the League, which won by a landslide in the last elections in 1990
but has never been allowed to govern.

But one veteran Asian diplomat said yesterday: "Her party was the only real
hope that the document could be pushed along.

"Now look what we are getting . . . delays."


January 8, 1997
Bhanravee Tansubhapol  in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia confirmed yesterday it Malaysia confirmed yesterday it
would like Burma to be integrated into the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations this year.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Badawi said Asean's membership
expansion plan to include Burma, Cambodia and Laos in a community
of 10 Southeast Asian nations "hopefully" would materialise this year.

Mr Abdullah declined to be more specific, but said Asean would
continue to monitor the situation in Burma.

The Malaysian foreign minister was speaking after talks with
Foreign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasarn who winds up a three-day
visit today.

Asean heads of government agreed during a meeting in Jakarta in
November that the three prospective members should be admitted
"simultaneously", but stopped short of giving a time-frame.

A diplomatic source noted that the move could come at the annual
Asean foreign ministers' meeting scheduled for July or an
informal summit set for December.

As the standing committee chairman, Malaysia will host both meetings.

Mr Prachuab said he made clear that Thailand would like to work
closely with Malaysia to help the three countries' prepare for
full membership.

Ambassador to Malaysia Vikrom Khumpairoj said Malaysia had
significantly softened its stance for Burma's integration into
the grouping this year.

Malaysia has also urged Rangoon to speed up its constitution
drafting, he  added.

Mr Abdullah, who visited Rangoon in October, quoted Burmese
leaders as expressing concern about minority groups, the envoy said.

The Burmese leaders were worried - that giving freedom to the
minorities "might lead to a South Korea-like situation where
minorities have ordered the killing of former leaders," the
ambassador said.

Mr Abdullah and Mr Prachuab also discussed the situation in
Cambodia with some concern, and expressed the hope that Cambodian
leaders could sort out the problem among themselves.
On bilateral issues, Mr Prachuab agreed to help stem the influx
of illegal foreign workers, especially Bangladeshis, into
Malaysia through southern Thailand.
"We are more than willing to give our cooperation in dealing with
this  problem once and for all," the Bernama news agency quoted
Mr Prachuab as saying.

But the minister pointed out to reporters that not all illegal
workers entered Malaysia through the border with Thailand.

The difficulty, he said, is that most of the Bangladeshi workers
enter Thailand on tourist visas and later cross into Malaysia
illegally without the proper documents.

The two foreign ministers also discussed border demarcation, and
á fisheries joint venture mooted during the visit here in March
of former Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa.

Mr Prachuab said the fisheries venture was currently held up by a
land problem for a new fishing port to be set up in Malaysia.

To get the project off the ground, Thailand has proposed that it
provide a temporary site that will be worked out by senior
officials, the minister added. 


January 8, 1997

Tak: Unrest in  Myanmar contributed to 10 percent drop in trade
through the Mae Sod Myawadi checkpoint in December, the Maesod
Customs' official Pichai Harntalom of Tak province said yesterday.
The Maesod Border Cross total trade volume, down to 187 million,
affected the predominantly Thai produce passing through the
border town. New Year festival s were also blamed for the slump.

Ninety percent of passing trade is Thai exports while Myanmar's
exports to Thailand, comprising mainly of wooden furniture, were
worth 900, 000 baht in December.

Top echelon job shuffles within the government and military
services in Myanmar has meant a breakdown of order, has also held
up goods movement.

The Mae Sot-Myawadi checkpoint however remains the biggest
conduit for goods exports between the two countries.


January 6, 1997 

More Japanese Firms Make Inroads into Myanmar

Yangon, Jan. 6 (Jiji Press)--A growing number of Japanese companies are 
making inroads into Myanmar despite political uncertainties in the 
military-controlled country.

The number of Japanese firms that have footholds in Myanmar increased to 
76 at the end of 1996 from 48 at the end of last June, according to the 
Japanese embassy in Yangon.

Some Japanese firms had been reluctant to do business here due in part to 
the standoff between the military junta and the prodemocracy opposition 
forces, led by National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who 
won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

In a departure from such cautiousness, Japanese business circles here are 
now taking a further step to enhance their presence in Myanmar by 
founding a chamber of commerce pretty soon.

On top of major trading houses and banks, Matsushita Electric Industrial 
Co., Hitachi Ltd. and other Japanese consumer electronics makers have 
already set up sales bases in Myanmar in a bid to catch business chances 
in the growing Myanmarese economy.

The scope of Japanese business activities in Myanmar is much broader than 
the number of companies operating here indicate because the embassy does 
not have accurate information on operations of many small 
Japanese-affiliated businesses or individual businessmen doing business 
in the country, embassy sources said.

They also pointed out that not a few municipal governments in Japan sent 
fact-finding missions to Myanmar in response to local companies' requests.

Myanmar is likely to continue to attract Japanese companies this year, 
despite the continuing tense confrontation between the military rulers 
and the opposition forces, the sources said.


January 9, 1997  Reuter

RANGOON - Burmese police arrested 65 prostitutes and five pimps in downtown
Rangoon in November and December in a crackdown on prostitution, official
media said yesterday. 

"Acting on information that pimps and prostitutes were active in the
vicinity of Theingyi Market and on either side of Shwedagon Pagoda Road,
where there are many night club and restaurants, police.. have seized them,"
state-run newspapers reported. They said action had been taken against those
arrested, but did not give details.

Prostitution has been on the rise in some of Burma's major cities, where the
world's oldest profession used to be virtually non-existent.

The rise in prostitution is often attributed to the hotel an tourism
business, which has been growing steadily since the military govenrment
opened up the economy in 1988.

Some of the women involved in prostitution in downtown Rangoon said they
were forced into it because of the high cost of living and scarcity of
good-paying jobs. (TN)


January 9, 1997
Woranuj Maneerungsee in Rangoon

Thailand's largest conglomerate, CP Group, has expanded into
Burma by establishing Myanamr CP Livestock Co.

The new company will use its investment funds of 237.5 million
baht to build an animal-feed factory with a monthly capacity of
6,000 tons. It also plans to raise cattle for breeding and
establish hatcheries producing about 300,000 chicks a week.

Prasert Poongkuman, CP's agricultural industry chairman, received
approval this week from U Maung Nyunt, managing director of
Burma's Livestock, Feedstuffs and Milk Products Enterprise.

The group has 15 farms operating on 25 year supply contracts
around Rangoon at a combined cost of US $9.5 million.

Without assistance Burmese farmers were unable to afford the
50,000 baht minimum required to establish a standard farm, Mr
Prasert said, adding CP paid for the feed, chicks and other essentials.

Pichet Laokasem, CP's agricultural industry vice-president, said CP 
supported the Asean policy of constructive engagement with Burma. 
Isolation of Burma over human rights was a move promoted by the West.

CP saw opportunities for developing an intergrated poultry
industry in Burma, where chicken was was expensive at 56 baht per
kilogramme compared with 33 baht for pork.


January 8, 1997
original: Pressemitteilung (press release) Deutsche Welle English Service

contact at Deutsche Welle:  Hugh Williamson, 
tel (+49)221 389 45 90/1/4   fax (+49)221 389 45 55


Suu Kyi in an interview with DW-radio calls for Deutsche Telekom, ADB, 
Dresdner Bank to cancel investments

Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has attacked a plan by several 
leading German companies to open an investment office in the Burmese capital 
Rangoon. "We're not in favour of investments in Burma at this particular 
moment because money that gets into the country does not get to the people 
that need it most" Suu Kyi told Deutsche Welle English service in a 
telephone inteview on Wednesday, 8th January (1997) from Rangoon. New 
investments "would only enrich an already very rich elite" the Nobel peace 
prize winner said.

Eight German companies are jointly funding the office, which will be 
officially opened when a delegation of 15 German business people visit Burma 
later in January. Telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, engineering firm ABB 
Mannheim, Dresdner bank and Berliner Bank are among those involved.

News of the German initiative comes despite tension in Burma after recent 
student protest, and contrasts sharply with grwoing  calls for business to 
boycott the country due to human rights concerns. The European Commission in 
December 1996 urged European Finance ministers to suspend Burma's trade 
priviliges on the grounds that the military regime sanctions the use of 
forced labour. The EU has also banned European visits by Burmese officials.

Suu Kyi said "if I could persuade them to cancel their plans, I would do 
so", referring to the GErman companies. "Perhaps the German public should 
persuade them not ot go ahead."

The plan to open the representative office, on January 30th, is being 
co-ordinated by the Hamburg-based German Asia-Pacific Business Association. 
Regional manager Wolfgang Niedermark told Deutsche Welle the office will 
provide "information of ervey kind" to bring German companies "into contact 
with potential Burmese partners". Niedermark said he was aware of political 
tension in Burma and international concern over Human Rights, but said "we 
are really business oriented and we don not have any political ambitions."

Suu Kyi condemned this attitude, especially because it came from Germans. 
"With Germany's history and experience I think it's shocking that any German 
should say that we're only interested in economics,we have nothing to do 
with politics. The fact that Germany was involved in the second world war 
was due to political errors not economic errors."

But Niedermark argued that foreign investment could bring change in Burma. 
"We would liek to stay in contact with people in such countires where we 
think (the) human rights record is not as we wish". Economic contacts are 
better than isolation or investment boycotts, he said.

The office will cost "several hundred thousand Deutschmarks" to run its 
first year, with one german and svereal local staff, Niedermark said. The 
other companies involved are ENV, a Berlin-based environment management 
group; a transport company Müller & partner from Cologne; the Fulda-based 
textile company Ispert and a Hamburg trading company.  More companies may 
join the funding group later, Neidermark said.

German trade and invetsment ties with Burma lag behind those of other Asian 
and European countries. German-Burmese trade totalled around $50 million in 
1994. Siemens, clothing multinational Triumph and several tourist companies 
are aming the few German cpmnaies with offices or joint ventures in Burma

Cologne, 8th january 1997
(Amsterdam, 8th of january 1997) 


January 9, 1997

THE petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) expects to finalise a deal with
Burma over the Yetagun natural gas field by February, according to Piti
Yimyrasert, president of PTT's natural has operation.

He said PTT might be able to hold some 15% of equity in the Yetagun project,
located in the Andaman Sea.

The state oil company, he added, had secured a supply of 250 million cubic
feet per day at a price lower than for gas form Yadana, another large
Burmese field. He declined to elaborate on the gas pricing. (BP)


January 8, 1997
Stephen Brookes

I WAS sitting in a Yangon restaurant the other day waiting for a friend, and
was deeply immersed in the New Light of Myanmar - the official newspaper
here - when he arrived. "Sorry I'm late," he said, then noticed the paper.
"Do you actually read that thing?" he asked. 

"I have to, it's part of my job," I said, folding the paper quickly into my
briefcase. But the truth is that, though the state-run paper is written like
a Soviet tank manual and has all the flair and vitality of a grocery list, I
read it every day - and find it fascinating. 

For the New Light of Myanmar is the English-language voice of the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). It's the main vehicle SLORC uses to
explain itself to the outside world, and it's much like SLORC itself -
stolid, no-nonsense and deeply reluctant to divulge information. 

If you're looking for lively, in-depth news and analysis, the New Light is
not the place to look. Most real information flows on the rumor mill in
Myanmar, not in the papers. But for insight into how SLORC sees itself,
there's no better source. 

Of course, it's sometimes a tough slog - this is a government, remember,
that even has a censorship board for calendars. They don't have to worry
about boosting circulation, or getting more advertisers, or beating the
competition. There is no competition. So there aren't any features,
"lifestyle" stories, feisty editorial pages or comics. They don't even have

In fact, even its staffers admit that the paper is a tad formulaic. Each day
starts with a stern recitation of SLORC's 16 political, economic and social
objectives and then takes off from there. There are firm exhortations to the
citizenry to drive safely, not to smoke, and to uphold the emergence of a
constitution. If a new ambassador has been appointed from somewhere, there
will be a solemn announcement. If a top official makes a speech, the speech
will be reprinted down to the last syllable. If a government minister tours
a new dam, there will be a dam story. 

Yet, the paper can be oddly charming in spite of itself. On slow news days,
page two will sport an old-fashioned photo of a young woman posing in front
of a pagoda with a corny caption such as "Two samples of Myanmar beauty."
(This is in the "Come, Visit Myanmar" section.) The government is always
running competitions and festivals of one kind or another; last week, the
results of the Mayor's Cup Fruit and Flower Show were announced, including
the winners of the "foreign orchids event", the "garden croton event" and,
of course, the "fern event". 

But hard news in Myanmar is tougher to find. The notions of "useful
information" and "story line" are not well-developed, and most articles are
simply a statement that a certain event occurred, with a long list of the
people who attended. A typical front-page story will note that a top SLORC
official visited a construction site, name every member of his entourage,
then reveal that the official "issued necessary instructions to the
authorities concerned". End of story. 

But even such lists can provide useful glimpses into life in Yangon. Take
the January 4 article on the opening of a new furniture showroom. Pretty
boring, right? And the story just noted that a company called Sinma
Furnishings opened the shop with its business partner. Simple enough -
except that the partner is the Welfare Society of the Bureau of Special
Investigation, and the attendees included the minister for home affairs, the
director of public relations and psychological warfare, and the head of the
Myanmar police force. Fascinating business, furniture. 

In fact, stories on international investment - actual or potential - tend to
dominate the news. Like it or not, trade delegations and visiting heads of
corporations usually get their pictures in the paper when they meet with
government officials, with a short article noting who was present and a
vague statement that "topics of mutual interest" were discussed. And in
Visit Myanmar Year, the arrival of a shipload of tourists will usually merit
a photo and short article noting the number of visitors, their nationality
and, for some reason, the exact time the boat actually docked. 

But often what's most interesting is the news that doesn't make it - in
other words, the political news. The events that propel Myanmar on to the
front page of the international press are usually ignored in the New Light
of Myanmar, and the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house
arrest in 1995, the detention of hundreds of National League for Democracy
members this past May, the student protests in December, the placement of
tanks around the city - all passed without a peep. 

Of course, the paper does discuss many of these events - but in the opinion
section, not the news. There seems to be a tacit admission that everyone has
heard the latest news on the grape vine, and the newspaper's job is to put
the right spin on it. Suu Kyi's activities are never reported straight, for
example, but rather discussed in long, pseudonymous and sometimes quite
vicious essays on the dangers of "evil destructionists" and "dastardly

Analysts say that's partly because SLORC is a large group and needs time to
discuss what response it will take to important events (which also explains
the formulaic approach to reporting). But the exception to the
"if-it's-on-CNN-it's-not-in-the-New Light of Myanmar" rule was a bombing
late on the night of December 25, in which five people were killed. 

To the interest of many in Yangon, the news was reported in the paper the
very next morning - an unusually rapid response that prompted the usual
tea-leaf-reading in this rumor-prone city. 

"Usually they keep any news on ice for a while, until everyone has agreed on
how to play it," said one diplomat in Yangon. 

"It's fascinating that they reported this so quickly - clearly there was no
need to forge a consensus. But what exactly does that mean?"  (AT)


January 6, 1997  (California paper)

Web clout: Online networking helps unite pro-democracy efforts.
BY T. T. Nhu
Mercury News Staff Writer

Alameda County supervisors voted last month to restrict county investment
in companies that do business with Burma, a land-locked country few
Americans have seen since World War II.

Burma (the country's formal name is Myanmar) was also the reason
Mitsubishi's lucrative $140 million contract with San Francisco
International Airport was nearly scuttled in the same week.

>From Apple Computer Inc. to the city of Berkeley to Jesse Helms, a growing
list of names spanning the American political spectrum have jumped aboard
the Boycott Burma campaign, one that has amassed surprising support in a
short time.

Organizers are patterning their quest after the successful 1979
anti-apartheid campaign against South Africa in order to pressure Burma's
military regime to make democratic reforms.

Like Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Burma's democracy advocates have a
compelling and charismatic leader who won the Nobel Peace Prize -- Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi. But they have something else: the Internet.

``It's hard to imagine how we organized 10 years ago without it,'' said
Leslie Kean of the Burma Project-U.S. ``People can monitor Burma on a
daily basis: what streets demonstrators were on, where they were arrested,
what the government did. The government knows we're keeping an eye on

While it took more than a decade for the South Africa boycott to expand,
the anti-Burma movement has grown rapidly in two years. Keane credits
Zarni, a Burmese teacher and tour guide-turned-college student in Madison,
Wis., with seeing the Internet's potential.

Now Burma activists in San Jose, Mill Valley, Seattle, Boston, Washington,
D.C., and Madison have dramatically expanded their reach through the ``Free
Burma'' Web site and others, which are linked via hypertext.

Since 1995, when Berkeley passed the resolution to prohibit doing business
with Burma, 10 other cities have followed, including San Francisco,
Madison, Santa Monica and Boulder, Colo. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
passed legislation forbidding state business with companies having
investments in Burma.

Supporters say their cause, when known, is compelling. Suu Kyi, the
daughter of the assassinated founder of modern Burma, Aung San, was elected
president in 1988, then detained under house arrest by the regime for six
years. Like Mandela, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in captivity,
earning the award in 1991.

Burma, bending to international censure, released Suu Kyi in 1995, but she
has been under virtual house arrest and has been unable to speak publicly
for more than two months, according to Bay Area Burma activists. Her
activities have been severely restricted, although the country's military
leaders allowed her to meet with hundreds of supporters on the country's
49th anniversary of independence on Saturday.

``Burma is a very clear-cut case,'' said Dan Orzech of Bay Area Burma
Roundtable. ``There was a democratically elected government which was
canceled by what the Wall Street Journal calls `ruling thugs' and whose
people have reached out to the U.S. for help.''

The organization is one of a few that have formed under the umbrella of the
Free Burma Coalition partly because of the ease of networking through the

Zarni, who is spearheading the boycott campaign through the Free Burma Web
site, joined forces with the round-table group, the Burma Project-U.S. and
two other people, Don Erickson, a retired Chicago schoolteacher, and Larry
Dohrs, a Seattle coffee broker, the two original organizers of the Burma

``We focus on the huge corporations as the bad guys, but the real culprits
are the people who buy their products,'' said Alan Clements, who documented
in a book the massacres that took place in Burma following the
nullification of the 1988 election. Clements founded the Burma Project-U.S.
with Keane to inform the public about the situation in Burma.

Besides Apple, other large companies are paying attention.

Levi-Strauss, Starbucks, Oshkosh B'gosh, Liz Claiborne, Heineken, Eddie
Bauer and Wente Vineyards in Livermore have cut business ties with Burma
after democracy supporters lobbied them. In ending its ties with Burma in
1992, Levi Strauss stated:

``It is not possible to do business in Burma without directly supporting
the military government and its pervasive violation of human rights.''

The Free Burma Coalition can be found at http://freeburma.org . The Soros
Foundation Burma Project site is at http://www.soros.org./burma.html .


January 9, 1997
>From Burma Office <burma@xxxxxxxxxx>

1st Tha Lay, 2736 (09.01.1997)

On this auspicious day of the first of Thalay, the year of 2736, may the
choicest blessing be upon every one of you. In deep appreciation and
gratitude, we praise the democtatic governments and people around the
world for their humanitarian assistance and kindness rendered to the
Karen people who are suffering.  We know that on the occasion of the
year 2736, Karens in many places, near and far, are also holding new
year celebrations. We, Karen people in Sydney will join together in one
mind and celebrate the new year on 11 December 1997. We wish the entire
Karen people to have complete peace, happiness, health and prosperity,
and all the choicest blessings in this new year.

We, the Karen people, are not an insignificant nationality. Racially,
the Karens belong to the Sino-Thai family of language group, and come
under the Mongoloid stock. According to history, our forefathers started
to migrate in B.C. 2017 from Mongolia, passed through East Takistan and
Tibet and reached the Yunan Province of China in B.C. 1385. Again, our
forefathers started to migrate from Yunan in B.C. 1128 and the first
wave reached the country now known as Burma in B.C. 1125. The second
wave of migration left Yunan in B.C. 741 and reached Burma in B.C. 739.
In counting the years of the Karen Era, that time of arrival was taken
as the beginning. The early waves of migration coming into Burma finally
settled down in Playloklo Delta (Irrawaddy Delta), the Gawloklo River
Basin (Sittang River Basin) and the lower part of the Hkoloklo River
Basin(Salween River Basin). Some following the Hkoloklo River went past
the estuary and reached as far south as the southern part of Tenessarim
regions and the adjoining areas in Thailand. Some remained as far north
as the southern part of Shan State and the northern part of Thailand
close to the Thai-Burma border. The majority of the Karen people lives
in the country known nowadays as Burma and forms about 20% of the entire
population of the country.

Dear Karen nationals,

We, the Karen people, possess all the attributes of a nation. Our
population is more than eight million. We have our own culture, history,
tradition and literature. We have our own national anthem and national
flag. Our national flag bears the rising sun and a bronze drums. Among
them is the auspicious drum played on joyous occasions. The drum on our
national flag is such a drum. It signifies prosperity, unity and
cooperation. The rising sun signifies the rise of the Karen people for
progress and dignity. The red colour signifies courage, the white colour
signifies integrity and the blue colour signifies the honest and royal
character of the Karen people. In the past, not many countries knew
about us. Now more and more peoples have come to know us and have shown
their sympathy and understanding for us.

Dear Karen nationals,

We, must know that we are not a trivial people. There is a great future
for us. Let us not be wavering. Let us leave our bad habits, hesitation,
pettiness and etc.,., behind with the old year and march on with new
determination, new spirit, firm unity and enthusiasm in this new year
for the progress of our entire people.  (section cut)

All Karen people should think globally and act locally. Each of us must get
up and stand up for our rights. We must continue to fight unitedly for
restoration of
democracy , human rights, justice and peace in our motherland.

May this Karen New Year brings abundant blessing, unity and happiness to
every one of you!	

Thank You.



January 4, 1997

Burmese students and patriots staged a demonstration in front of the Burmese
ambassador's residence where an Indenpendence Day dinner hosted by the
Burmese embassador was held. The demonstration was organized by the
Committee for Restoration for Democracy in Burma (CRDB), Democratic Burmese
Students Organization (DBSO) and Chin Youth Organization (CYO). U Bo Hla
Tint, a minister of the Burmese exiled government, National Coalition
Government of Union of Burma (NCGUB) gave a speech at the demonstration on
behalf of NCGUB. Representatives from CRDB,DBSO, CYO, other Burmese patriots
and American activists also gave speeches:

-denouncing SLORC's continued oppression in Burma

-condemning SLORC's latest ploy, the bombing incident which ended five
innocent lives, which is used as a cover to arrest student leaders and
political activists

-demanding the release of student leaders and all political prisoners

-call for SLORC to initiate a genuine tripartite dialogue among democracy
forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic groups

-call upon the international community to step up pressure on SLORC

Most of the diplomats who came to the dinner were mainly from African and
Asian countries. Dipolmats from European Union, United States, Australia and
Japan were not observed at the reception. Moreover, fewer people attended the
dinner compared to last year's reception.

Another interesting event noticed was, agents from the Secret Service and FBI
along with bomb sniffing dogs were seen posted in front of the building.
SLORC might have been thinking to commit a ploy like the one they did at the
Burmese embassy in Tokyo, Japan, where a bomb planted by a SLORC agent was

[dbsousa@xxxxxxx is the official e-mail address of the Democratic Burmese
Students Organization (USA). Anybody who woulk like to contact DBSO (USA),
please send an e-mail to above address.]


January, 1997  (abridged)


On Sunday, January 26, 1997, a presentation will be held at 11:00 a.m. at
the First Parish Church at 328 Walnut Street, Brookline, MA 02146.  The
presentation will include Burmese culture, Buddhism and dance.  For
information, please contact Kolay at (617) 388-0038.  

Conference on Burma.  From February 1-4, 1997, over two hundred students,
labor organizers, community activists, concerned scholars and NGO
representatives will gather at American University in Washington, DC to
continue the struggle for democracy in Burma.  The Executive Director of
Human Rights Watch, U.S. lawmakers such as Senator Mitch McConnell
(R-Kentucky) (invited), Nigerian Nobel Prize Recipient Wole Soyenka
(invited) and other leading dissidents will attend.  The meeting seeks to
draw further attention
to systemic human rights abuses and conference's activities will include
congressional lobbying, letter writing and a public demonstration.  For more
information, please contact Jeremy Woodrum, Registration Coordinator at the
Kay Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20016, (202) 885-3333,


Next Roundtable meeting: 6:30 p.m.  on Tuesday, January 14th at Franklin,
Research & Development, 711 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02210 at (617)


On behalf of CPPAX and the Massachusetts Burma Roundtable, Simon Billenness,
Julia Carpenter and U Win Maung met with staff at the Boston offices of
Senator  Edward Kennedy and Senator John Kerry. In addition, during a recent
trip to  Washington DC, Simon Billenness met with the Washington DC staff of
both Senators as well as a staff member to Rep. Joe Kennedy.  In our
meetings, we expressed our thanks to both Senators for supporting the  tough
sanctions on Burma proposed by Senators McConnell and Moynihan. We asked
specifically that the Senators:  

1. Communicate their constituents' concerns over the treatment of refugees
from Burma to the ambassadors of Bangladesh, India and Thailand; 

2. Write President Clinton to call for the immediate imposition of a ban on
new US investment in Burma.