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BurmaNet News January 24, 1997
- Subject: BurmaNet News January 24, 1997
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 06:00:00
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: January 24, 1997
ABSDF (WB): INSIDE REPORT-FARMER'S PROTEST
KNU: SITUATION REPORT, PA-AN DISTRICT, KAREN STATE
AP: 4 HURT IN SHOOTING IN BURMA
BKK POST: WA REBELS FINGERED FOR RAID ON TRUCKS
THAILAND TIMES: KNU BLOCKS DKBA LOGGING DEALS WITH THAIS
THAILAND TIMES: ARMY CHIEF BLAMES KNU AND RANGOON
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST: JUNTA DEFIES U.S.
DAP (MALAYSIA): STATEMENT BY LIM KIT SIANG PARLIAMENTARY
NATION: JUNTA'S RULE NOT SEEN AS OBSTACLE TO BURMA TRADE
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: CONGRESSIONAL JUNKET TO BURMA
BKK POST: RANGOON BUSINESS BAN CALLED UNFAIR
AFP: RADIO FREE ASIA SET TO BROADCAST TO BURMA, VIETNAM
NEW LIGHT OF MYANMAR: CLIMBING UP THE PANDAL POLE
ANNOUNCEMENT: RE: JANUARY 19 BURMESE PROGRAM
ANNOUNCEMENT: TRANSLATORS NEEDED TO VOLUNTEER
ANNOUNCEMENT: FORCED LABOR PICTURES ON THE WEB
VOA: BURMA MEDIA TIGHTLY CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT
January 22, 1997
by Gary Thomas in Bangkok
intro: The military government of Burma keeps tight control of
the domestic media and of information flowing into and out of the
country. But foreign reporters have noted some changes recently
as the Burmese government attempts to improve its international
image. VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports from our Southeast
Asia bureau in Bangkok.
text: Many journalists who has covered Burma in recent years
speak of frustrations encountered in the job. Although Aung San
Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy have
always been willing to talk to the media, their has been little
openness from the government.
However, something has changed in the last few months. Reporters
are finding covering Burma a bit easier.
Stephen Brookes -- correspondent for the "Asia Times" newspaper
and one of the few resident foreign correspondents in Rangoon --
says Burmese government information policy has undergone what he
says is an "absolute sea change" in the past year.
Mr. Brookes says the change apparently came about because of
government complaints about international media coverage -- and
the foreign media's complaint about the lack of information.
// brookes act //
The complaint was that all the coverage surrounded Aung San Suu
Kyi and the NLD, but there wasn't any coverage of the positive
things the government here -- the State Law and Order Restoration
Council -- was doing. So we said, "well, listen, if you want to
get a more balanced picture in the international press, then you
have to have to start actually talking to the international press."
// end act //
Since September, there have been monthly government news
conferences. Although there is no official spokesman, some
officials have now apparently been assigned to respond to
reporters' questions -- but usually on a background basis, with
the official speaking anonymously.
There are now official statements or comments, sent by fax to
reporters or even sent via electronic mail. Some statements are
even posted on the internet.
Mr. Brookes says the SLORC has made a start with a small glimmer
// brookes act //
They've taken the first step, which is just to try to do it.
Before they didn't even try at all. And it's still, you have to
say, not as sophisticated as you would find in countries that
have much more experience with the international press. They
tend to talk at the press conferences about things that happened
a month before, or two months before, which are old news. But
they have shown themselves increasingly adept at fielding
questions -- and very tough questions -- from journalists who
come in. And they seem to be quite open to inviting journalists
in, even those who have written in quite a negative way about
// end act //
For all these changes, Burma remains a country where information
is tightly controlled. The unauthorized possession of a fax
machine or a phone line by a Burmese citizen is punishable by a
jail term. Access to electronic mail and the internet is only in
government hands. The state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper
-- which, Mr. brookes describes as "written like a soviet tank
manual and has the all the flair and vitality of a grocery list"
-- still routinely publishes harsh criticisms of the coverage of
Burma by the international media, especially the BBC and VOA.
BUSINESS TIMES: GOING REGIONAL FATTENS COMPANIES' PROFITS: EDB (excerpt)
January 22, 1997
By Chuang Peck Ming
No hollowing out of economy as domestic operations
continue to grow, survey shows
[SINGAPORE] Regionalisation has fattened the bottomline of Singapore
companies and has not led to a hollowing-out of the economy, the Economic
Development Board said yesterday.
Singapore companies invested at least US$8.06 billion (S$11.3 billion) in
Asian countries last year, up 28 per cent from 1995.
...(D)estinations of Singaporean investments were China with US$987
million, Vietnam with US$952.5 million, Myanmar with US$554.74 million,
THE NATION: CHINA SEALS AGREEMENTS WITH BURMA AND TAIWAN (abridged)
January 23, 1997
China yesterday agreed to boost military cooperation with Burma while
Beijing negotiators said they and their Taiwanese counterparts were reaching
and understanding that could end a decades-old ban on direct shipping across
the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile, the military agreement between China and Burma would boost
military cooperation, including training and exchange of intelligence, the
Far Eastern Economic Review said yesterday.
The agreement was reached when the the vice chairman of Burma's military
junta, Gen Maung Aye, "paid an unpublicised visit to China from Oct 22 to
29," the Review said in a press release.
Gen Than Shwe, the chairman of the junta, finalised the accord with Chinese
Prime Minister Li Peng a few weeks ago, it said.
"Under the deal, China will train 300 Burmese air force and navy officers in
flying skills, naval duties and the gathering of intelligence in coastal
areas, while the People's Liberation Army (PLA) will provide additional
places in staff colleges for senior Burmese officers," it said.
The two countries would exchange military intelligence. (TN)
BKK POST: WHERE IS KHUN SA?
A few weeks ago, a rumour was spread that Khun Sa may no longer be in a
military camp in Rangoon, but somewhere in the Shan State.
His eldest son and a number of his closest aides, who were living with him
in the Burmese capital since his surrender last January, were spotted in
Tachilek, just across Mae Sai, Chiang Rai.
"I believe Khun Sa is back in the Shan State because he never stays on his
own, all his closest aides are here," said a long time Khun Sa watcher.
This rumour was further fuelled when some foreign narcotics agents in
Bangkok claimed they and the US Drug Enforcement Administration had lost
track of the former opium warlord and self-styled Shan independence fighter.
But a seasoned Thai narcotics officer said: "What does the DEA know? Their
movement in Burma is closely controlled by the military government there."
"You wouldn't believe it, if I told you why his eldest son and closest aides
were in Tachilek," he said.
The group was spotted crossing the border into Mae Sai from where they were
driven to the Chiang Rai airport to board a plane to Bangkok.
All had valid identification documents, the eldest son whose mother is a
Thai national, has a Thai ID card, while the aides carried Burmese
passports. None are wanted by Thai authorities.
"They came to attend the wedding reception of a daughter of a wealthy (Thai)
businessman who is a friend and former business associate of Khun Sa. Even
Lo Hsing-han's son was there," he claimed.
The wedding party was held at a five-star hotel on Rajdamri Road, in the
second week of this month, and was attended by over a 1,000 guests including
leading businessmen and members of the diplomatic corps.
Lo Hsing-han, before Khun Sa came along, was the most powerful opium warlord
of the Golden Triangle since the 1960s. He was arrested in 1973 after
crossing into Thailand with members of the Shan State Army (SSA), which was
fighting for the Shan State's independence from Burma.
They were trying to contact the US embassy in Bangkok to work out a deal to
end opium production in the Shan State, in exchange for development aid and
support for the Shan independence cause.
Thai authorities extradited Lo and a junior SSA officer who was arrested
with him, one month after their arrest, even though Thailand and Burma did
not have an extradition treaty.
Lo was sentenced to death for "insurrection against state" rather than drug
trafficking because of his links with the Shan independence movement.
His sentence was later commuted to life and he was released seven years
later during a general amnesty.
Since then he has worked closely with the Burmese government, providing
advice in business development and even drug suppression.
Gradually, he recovered to become one of Burma's wealthiest businessman. His
son, who attended the wedding, has entered into the well-publicised
five-star hotel investment deal with Singapore's Shangri-la Group.
Some anti-Rangoon groups claim that drug money may have been involved. In
deciding to surrender to the Burmese government, Khun Sa may have believed
that he would be treated the same was as his predecessor, opium warlord Lo
CHARLATAN NEWSPAPER: CARLETON UNIVERSITY STUDENT'S PLEA FOR DEMOCRATIC BURMA
by Mike Leon
Photo by Rian Nakashima
There is a wide range of international students at Carleton
University, but four students in particular have seen the effects of
military dictatorship ruled Burma firsthand.
Daniel Hlaing Bwa, Honors Program in Political Science, Sai Kya
Aye, Honors Program in Political Economy, May, Master Program in Public
Administration Third World Development Stream, Chit Moe Swe, Economics,
came to Canada and Carleton last three years after a military crackdown
on democracy movements in Burma eight years ago.
"As young students with lack of political experiences, the main
reason of we left from Burma to Burmese-Thai border was to fight for
democracy with an armed struggle," say Hlaing Bwa, former General
Secretary of No.102 student regiment in Burmese-Thai border, "after three
fruitless years, we knew that democracy can't be maintained with armed
revolution, because it is not communist revolution,"..."let me say that
it is an only mental revolution, as you know what happened in human history
that every armed struggles and violent revolutions carried out the new
tyrants and tyranny regime,"..."no one can prove that who ever seen the
succeeded democratic armed revolution in the world history- past, present,
Even the former socialist elites and current SLORC elites in
Burma, now changed to Myanmar, are uneducated, and many haven't completed
high school although Burma has a lot of educated people compared with other
Third World countries.
"You know rattle brains have been ruling Burma's infrastructure for
more than three decades, and what the result is today Burma," say Hlaing Bwa.
"Former so-called president Sein Lwin is an only forth-grade educated, and
Generals' General (laughing) Saw Maung, retired chief and founder of SLORC,
is an only seven-grade educated." "And what about SLORC's superstars Than
Shwe, Khin Nyint, Myo Nyint who ran the country today, they are not
educated too." "Do you believe that such idiots can ran the country to
reach the world level of status?"
The coordinator Christine Armstram from Canadian Friend of Burma
says that the goals CFB are "to raise awareness and educate people on the
issue of facing Burmese citizens." She says the group is strongly dedicated
to preserving human rights by putting pressure on the Canadian Government
to implement stronger policies on items such as arms embargo which began
"We feel that Canadian (government) should become a strong
international actor against the military regime in Burma." says Armstram.
"We have to adopt a strong voice." The Canadian friends strongly believe
that there is a lot that Canadian can do. "We may not be a superpower, but
we are still highly respected in international affairs," Armstram adds.
This is done to make sure that Canadian investors are not using the
situation in Burma into benefit themselves financially. If the friends of
Burma saw multinational companies come into Burma and exploit people
living there, even to the point of staging a major boycott.
Hlaing Bwa says many international companies in Burma use Burmeses
for their self-interest. "Today's Third World is the worker barracks of
the First World; in fact, hunger Third World people like Burmeses are
change to cheap laborers for the First World, and the benefits from
foreign investments are changed to buy the arms and ammunition to fulfil
the SLORC's arsenal to kill the Burmese peoples. This is not only the real
circulation of the relationship between First World and the Third World,
but also the really primary curriculum of the world today." "This is the
time to get the privileges that the First World's investors and Burmese
dictators have destined to rape the Burma and Burmeses."
"We know that the differences between First World policy makers
and their economic sectors," says Hlaing Bwa. "Rich persons never obeyed
to the politicians, but in many times politicians obeyed the tycoons, isn't
it?" "You can see that what Bill Clinton mentioned and what his American
companies did, what Jean Christian said and what Canadian investors did,
and what Japanese government talked in Diet and what Japanese companies
did in Burma." "Let say them, they should 'talk the talk ... and walk the
"Who want the Khun Sa right now? They promulgated $2 mil award for
whom caught drug-war load. Why don't they announce to catch the real drug
traffickers and murders, SLORC elites, ridiculous?" "We know such First
World's rhetoricians also did their self-interest alone. let me prove that
what about the Rwanda tragedy with UN and U.S. In real, First World, if they
have no benefit, they won't intervene there. Just like Khun Sa case: Khun
Sa kills the thousands of American youths each year, but SLORC doesn't - SLORC
kills Burmese people only." "So what do you think, Khun Sa is more important
than the SLORC for U.S., they may be right."
"Thinks for some NGOs, and damn for some NGOs" say Hlaing Bwa.
"Some NGOs have rules and regulations that how to act and intervene in
Burma affairs, but some NGOs have no rule that they are proud of
themselves as the real helpers. They believed that every anti-SLORC
person or group must be help by them. They don't know really such the ways
they did are worse than before for our people and more powerful than to
the SLORC." "In many times, all SLORC's enemies are not our peoples'
"This is easy to criticize and analyze that the answers of what
happened here in the Third World's emancipate countries like Burma or else
other for years or crnturies, and what is the world need to prepare for its
human beings in the long term are fundamental results that what should
the First World try to act the Third World affairs today." "Don't you
believe that the future of our planet is depending on today's relationship
between First World and the Third World in which democracy and related
human rights, environmental issue, peace and arms control, population
control, and feminism, are essential and fundamental?"
One way to encourage Burmese students to study at Carleton is the
offer of undergraduate and graduate bursaries. There is one $500 for
undregraduate student and $250 bursaries for graduate students. The
decision on who gets the bursary is based on two factors: financial need
and area of focus while at the university.
ANNOUNCEMENT: FREE BURMA WEBSITE REDESIGNED
January 23, 1997
The Free Burma Website at http://sunsite.unc.edu/freeburma/ has been
redesigned throughout the last month.
The purpose was to make it easier to read and easier to find what you
need. Also much of the information has been updated.
Throughout february we will update the remainder of the info and
continue to improve the various presentations.
Although this work is never done, we would like to notify everyone
because we believe the site has reached a new level of usefulness for
the activist community, and a new level of effectiveness for educating
those unfamiliar with Burma.
FreeBurma.org received a bit of a facelift as well.
Please drop by if you haven't visited since 1/22/97. Attached is the
new table of contents. As always, we value and request your ideas and