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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. (r)

                                 Aung San Suu Kyi 
                            Burmese Opposition Leader

Born: 1945; Rangoon, Burma

Education: Degree, St. Hugh's College, Oxford, England 

Family: Husband, Michael Aris; 2 sons

Religion: Buddhist

Early Years: Daughter of Aung San, military general who led Burma to 
	independence from Britain in 1940s; Spent much of 
	her adult life outside Burma; Returned only to be with her
      	ill mother, 1988.

Political Career: Chosen leader of Burmese opposition movement, 1988; 
		Placed under house arrest by military regime, 1989; Nobel
             	Peace Prize, 1991; Released from custody,
          	1995; Has headed BurmaÄs democratic
           	reform movement since the late 1980s; Spent
             	six years under house arrest; Because of her
          	political activities the ruling military junta has
              	continuously confined her or restrained her
        	activities, but because the junta conducted a
          	campaign to lure foreign investment and
            	international aid it has had to release her
              	because attacks by the international
           	community on their human rights record
            	jeopardized their plans for economic	development.

                   Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the world's most famous 
		   political prisoners,
                   was born in 1945 in Rangoon, Burma. Her father was the 
                   general and political leader Aung San, who is regarded 
		   as the founder
                   of modern Burma.. With the outbreak of World War II, 
		   he allied
                   Burma with the Japanese to gain his country's 
		   independence from
                   Britain. Later, when the tide of the war changed, he 
		   switched sides and
                   allied himself with the British. General Aung San was 
		   assassinated in
                   1947. Aung San Suu Kyi's mother was a diplomat who was 
                   ambassador to India in 1961. 

                   Suu Kyi received her primary schooling in Burma and 
		   continued her
                   education in New Delhi. Upon graduation she was 
		   accepted at Oxford,
                   where she received her degree in the early 1960s. 
		   After graduation she
                   worked for the United Nations in New York. Suu Kyi 
	     	   married British
                   scholar Michael Aris, a professor of Tibetan studies, 
		   in 1972 despite
                   strong Burmese objections to interracial marriages. 
		   She stayed at
                   Oxford for several years pursuing an advanced degree 
		   and had two
                   children. Suu Kyi studied Japanese so she could 
		   conduct research for a
                   biography of her father. In 1985 she won a fellowship 
		   to the University
                   of Kyoto to study her father's wartime ties to Japan. 

                   Suu Kyi had spent most of her adult life
                   outside of Burma, only making short trips
                   to her homeland to visit her mother. The
                   turning point in her life came in 1988. The
                   assassination of her father had left a
                   political vacuum filled by General Ne
                   Win, a military dictator who used
                   terrorism to rule the country for 26 years.
                   He closed Burma off from the world and,
                   through his bizarre brand of socialism, drove the once 
                   country into poverty. Popular discontent and agitation 
		   for democracy
                   brought further political repression. 

                   The dictator Ne Win turned over his power to a 
		   military junta known
                   as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or 
		   SLORC. At that
                   time, Suu Kyi's mother fell ill and Suu Kyi returned 
		   to Burma. to care
                   for her. She also planned to open libraries in her 
		   father's name. Instead,
                   she was thrust into a political role by the tumultuous 
		   current of modern
                   Burmese politics. The opposition movement drafted Suu 
		   Kyi, and her
                   dramatic 10-minute speech calling for reform carried 
		   her on a surge of
                   popularity to become the de facto leader of Burma's 
                   movement and head of the National League for Democracy 
                   Thereafter, between 1988 and mid-1989, she incited 
		   crowds with her
                   call for nonviolent revolution against what she termed 
		   the "fascist
                   government" in power. 

                   To ensure her silence, the junta confined Suu Kyi 
		   under military guard
                   to her Rangoon home. She remained under house arrest 
		   for six years,
                   cut off from her family and so poor that she became 
		   weak from hunger.
                   Burma held elections in 1990 and Suu Kyi and her NLD 
		   party won by
                   a landslide. Still, SLORC refused to relinquish power. 
		   In 1991 Suu Kyi
                   was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, bringing her 
                   attention and support from human-rights groups. 

                                        To improve the country's economy, the
                                        junta launched a campaign to lure
                                        international investment and aid. 
					But the
                                        international community withheld
                                        investment and criticized the 
					junta for
                                        human-rights violations. The 
                                        between Suu Kyi and the junta 
					lasted until
                                        1995, when SLORC denied she was
                                        under house arrest and stated 
					that she
                                        could leave Burma any time she 
                   That summer, Aung San Suu Kyi stepped out of her home. 
		   But she
                   refused to leave. 

                   Since then, she has continued her role as opposition 
		   leader, holding
                   meetings and making public appearances and speeches. 
		   SLORC has
                   continued to suppress the democracy movement, 
		   restricting freedom of
                   speech of NLD party members and activists. In December 
                   Burma (called Myanmar by the junta) was condemned by 
		   the U.N.
                   General Assembly for human rights violations. 

		   [CNN Plus, 27 May 1997].


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