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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: June 22, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

June 22, 2000

Issue # 1561

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

*Inside Burma

















__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________


 By Patricia Reaney 

 LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - France, Italy, Singapore and Oman 
provide the best overall healthcare in the world, the WHO said on 
Wednesday in a report assessing health systems around the globe. 

 The United States spends $3,700 per person on healthcare, more than 
any other country, but only ranks 37th in the World Health 
Organisation evaluation of health systems in 191 countries. 

 ``It is the first time anybody, not just WHO, has tried to quantify 
and measure what health systems achieve and produce,'' Dr Christopher 
Murray, the director of WHO's Global Programme on Evidence for Health 
Policy, told Reuters. 

 ``It's not more money for health, it's more health for the money,'' 
he added in a telephone interview. 

 Among the biggest surprises the WHO found were the variations among 
countries and how well some nations in the developing world use their 
resources to get better healthcare. 

 San Marino, Andorra, Malta, Spain, Austria and Japan round out the 
top 10 performers is the WHO assessment which based its findings on 
healthy life expectancy, efficiency and equality of the health system 
and whether it responds to the social and financial needs of the 
people it is designed to serve. 

 Sierra Leone, Myanmar, the Central African Republic and the 
Democratic Republic of the Congo are at the bottom of the WHO scale. 

According to the WHO $60 per capita spending on healthcare is the 
threshold for an effective health system. Below that amount there is 
not enough money to make the health system work. 

2000-06-21 Wed 10:47 


Data extracted from the WHO report, available on the web at 


Annex Table 1 Health system attainment and performance in all Member 
States, ranked by eight measures, estimates for 1997

[Level measures a country's quality ranking compared to all the other 
countries in the world.  Distribution measures fairness.  A country 
can have a relatively high Level rating but if many do not have 
access to healthcare, it would still score poorly on Distribution.]

Level (DALE)
139 (i.e. 139th place amongst all countries in the world)



151-153 (tied)


Fairness in Financial contribution

Overall goal attainment

Health expenditure per capita in  international dollars

On level of health

Overall health system performance
190   [This is the bottom line.]



National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 86(6/00) (translation)

1. U Soe Han, Advocate of the Chief Court, Member of the NLD Rangoon 
Division Organising Committee and Chairman of the NLD Legal Advisory 
Body is the victim of a trumped up case by the authorities.

2. On the 26 May, 2000, he went to spend the night at his mother's 
house in Insein and reported this "over-night" visit to the ward PDC 
as required. But at 2300 hours that night, on the pretext of checking 
the visitor's list, a group of about 25 persons headed by the 
military intelligence and members of the ward PDC entered the house 
and arrested him and three  others.

3. On the 27 May 2000 at 12:30 they were charged under the Town 
Administration Law, Section 3 for failing to report the overnight 
visit. His wife Daw Khin Aye Myint, his lawyer U Myint Thoung went to 
the Insein District court where they were informed that the case 
would be heard by the Special Court which sits within the precincts 
of Insein Jail. Though family members and lawyers are entitled to 
visit and defend an accused person under the law made by SLORC/SPDC, 
this was denied to them. The offence is bailable, but this was also 
refused. The Special Court found them guilty and they were sentenced 
to pay a penalty of Kyats fifty each. 

4. However, U Soe Han was not released. Fully aware of the fact that 
he is an advocate of the chief court and to deliberately disgrace him 
he was falsely charged under Section 180/54 of the Penal Code 
(suspected theft). He is also facing a charge under Section 186 
(impeding a public servant in the course of his duties) for defending 
himself and asserting that he had reported the overnight visit. The 
trial was held in camera in the special court in the Jail where right 
of counsel and right of defense is totally denied. The verdict and 
sentence is passed under instructions of the military intelligence.

5. He has now been sentenced to three months imprisonment. This is a 
blatant abuse of power to suppress and annihilate the National League 
for Democracy and all its members who are actively working in it. 
Every means, every method, no matter how base, how false, how cruel, 
how detestable is being employed by the authorities to punish their 
political opponents. 

6. We vehemently denounce those authorities who are responsible and 
demand that justice be restored.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

8 June 2000



National League for Democracy
No: (97/B), West Shwegonedine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

Statement 87(6/00) (translation)

Contents of letter No 036/si/chan dated 12 June 2000 from the 
Chairman of the National League for Democracy to the Chairman of SPDC 
and the Chairman of the Multi-party Democratic Elections Commission 
are reproduced below for information.

Start " Subject - Violations of the Political Parties Registration 
Law and the Pyithu
Hluttaw Elections Law

1. The National League for Democracy and other political parties were 
permitted to contest the elections under Section 4 of the Political 
Parties Registration Law passed on the 27 September 1988 only after 
they had been duly registered under the said law.

2. Candidates from the National League for Democracy and some other 
political parties then participated in the general elections held on 
the 27 May 1990 as per the Pyithu Hluttaw Elections Law passed on 31 
May 89. 

3, The above two laws viz The Political Parties Registration Law and 
the Pyithu Hluttaw Elections Law were promulgated by the then State 
Law and Order Restoration Council now known as the State Peace and 
Development  Council.

4. In accordance with the democratic principle that sovereign power 
lies with the people, and in conformity with multi-party democratic 
elections procedure, the people elected their representatives freely 
and fairly. The military authorities published the results of the 
elections naming the electorates and the political parties of the 
successful candidates. 

5. Albeit, the military dictators are now illegally and unjustifiably 
instigating and orchestrating non-confidence demonstrations against 
the NLD elected representatives. The people today are in dire 
straits, socially and educationally. Fear has been steeped into their 
minds by the military authorities and they have been compelled to 
assemble in violation of the laws that are in force.

6. The National League for Democracy desires to know which section of 
the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law provides for these assemblies and 
demonstrations through intimidation and coercion. There is no mention 
of "loss of confidence " in the said law.

7. The National League for Democracy is a validly constituted 
political party and remains as such to this day. Besides, the people 
demonstrated their overwhelming support and trust in them as seen 
from the results of the 1990 multi-party democratic elections.

8. The military authorities have instilled so much fear in the minds 
of the people and in the midst of their present problems trying to 
eke out a living, the people are compelled to assemble and proclaim 
loss of confidence in the NLD and even describe this political party 
which they overwhelmingly supported as "evil" and demand its demise. 
The NLD is not subscribing to an ideology that is evil, but is 
working for democracy and human rights for the people and the country.

9. The NLD wants to know which section of the Political Parties 
Registration Law authorizes the military authorities to willfully and 
illegally force the people to do their bidding. There is no such 

10. The Multi-party Democratic Elections Commission in its first 
notification declared that its members were old and had no political 
axe to grind and that its only concern was for the successful holding 
of free and fair elections.

11. It is now ten years since those elections but no final report of 
the commission has been given. It is now engaged in administrative 
tasks such as removing elected representatives, dissolving branches 
and party offices etc. The law does not give them the power or the 
jurisdiction for the performance of these tasks.

12. The National League for Democracy will under no circumstances 
relinquish the fruit of the 1990 multi-party democratic general 
elections which was gained by the sweat, tears and blood of thousands 
of monks, laymen, students and citizens.

13. Without any legal authority to do so, the Multi-Party Democratic 
General Elections Commission declared that with effect from 26 April 
1991 any political party whose membership was less than five would be 

14. The Elections Commission Notification Number 245 categorically 
states that the internal affairs of political parties such as duties 
and qualifications of executive committees, policies, rules regarding 
numbers and procedures etc. was outside the realm of the commission 
and/or any other authority. The Commission is now acting in direct 
contravention of its declaration. There is no provision in the 
Political Parties Registration Law that gives the Elections 
Commission the power to declare that political parties whose 
organizing committee members have dwindled to less than five must be 
deemed to be dissolved.

15. The illegitimate, as acknowledged by themselves, military 
dictators have really and truly besmirched their own reputation and 
tarnished the country's name in blatantly breaking laws they made 
(example Political Parties Registration Law and Elections Commission 
Law) and reneging on promises and statements they have made publicly. 
In addition to that they are now deliberately launching out on unjust 
and immoral deeds thus setting a wrong precedent and amassing an 
insurmountable debt of misdeeds. 

16. There is truly no need for the military dictators to entertain 
any fears from the National League for Democracy because we are 
genuinely working to achieve democracy and human rights for the 
country for the betterment of the people in all aspects (social 
justice, education, health, wealth etc.) and acting and adopting 
democratic systems. (End)" 

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy

12 June 2000

___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________


Thursday, June 22, 2000


THAILAND and Burma have agreed to construct a 130-kilometre highway 
that will link Kanchanaburi province with the western Burmese coastal 
town of Tavoy, the chairman of the province's chapter of the 
Federation of Thai Industries said yesterday. 

Construction would begin as soon as the Thai government approved the 
opening of the border checkpoint at Bongti Pass, Singh 
Tangcharoenchaichana said. 

Kanchanaburi governor Jadet Insawang has already approved a request 
for the pass to be opened and has forwarded the matter to senior 
authorities in Bangkok, he said. 

The Btl.12-billion cost of the highway, which will take three years 
to complete, will be shared. Burma will pay 30 per cent and 
Kanchanaburi's private sector will pay the rest, Singh said. 

The agreement was reached during a visit to Burma by a delegation of 
the federation's Kanchanaburi chapter, led by former Thai Army chief 
Gen Chettha Thanajaro, on June 14 and 15. 
Chettha said the success of the Burma trip was the result of his 
personal connections with top Burmese leaders. Although he held no 
official position, the Burmese leaders still treated him with 
respect, he said. 

To ensure mutual benefits, Thailand should strengthen relations with 
Burma, which is blessed with abundant natural resources, he said. 

The Thai delegates held talks with a top Burmese junta leader Lt Gen 
Khin Nyunt and relevant cabinet members from 17 ministries, Singh 
said. The Burmese leaders backed the highway project during the 
meeting and both sides signed the minutes after the talks were 

The Burmese Construction Ministry will forward the joint project to 
the Burmese investment board for final approval. Singh said he 
expects Rangoon to approve the project within a month. 

"This project will greatly benefit both countries. For Burma, it [the 
area the road will pass through] is a new frontier rich in natural 
resources, minerals, fish and fishery products, and agricultural 
produce," Singh said. 

"For Thailand, this is a good route for barter commodities, as well 
as opening up several sectors, especially for the agricultural, 
industrial and tourism industries," he said. 

The planned deep-sea port project at Tavoy would serve as an import-
export base for both Thailand and Burma, as well as being a gateway 
for Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Europe, Singh said. 

The federation's Kanchanaburi chapter has studied and been pushing 
for the highway project for the past six years. It has also studied 
turning a 2,000-rai estate into a western-style industrial zone. 
About 40 per cent of the land has been bought by several major 
industrial companies, Singh said. 



BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand's deputy foreign minister said 
Wednesday that members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations 
will have to move away from their tradition of noninterference in 
each other's affairs if they hope to achieve regional integration. 

 ASEAN comprises all ten countries in Southeast Asia, ranging from 
fairly freewheeling democracies such as Thailand and the Philippines, 
to repressive single-party countries like Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, 
also known as Burma. 

 Paying heed to an Asian tradition favoring consensus over conflict, 
ASEAN nations have refrained from criticizing each other's policies 
even where the rest of the world finds the situation intolerable, 
such as with the repression of human rights by Myanmar's military 

 ``ASEAN won't be able to hold on to the notion that the 
noninterference policy will always be sacred,'' Deputy Foreign 
Minister Sukhumbhand Paribatra Sukhumbhand said at a seminar 
organized by Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Strategic and 
International Studies and the foreign ministry. The seminar discussed 
the issue of `ASEAN in the New Millennium.' 

 ``All (ASEAN) members must understand that the world has changed 
dramatically and that problems are no longer confined to specific 
borders. Problems in one country can affect another, be they 
economic, environmental like forest fires, transnational crime, drug 
trafficking or public health,'' he said. 

 Thailand recently has become very concerned that its neighbor, 
Myanmar, seems to be unable or unwilling to stop massive production 
of the illegal stimulant drug methamphetamine, which is smuggled into 
Thailand millions of tablets at a time. Trafficking and abuse of the 
drug is considered on of Thailand's top social problems. 

 Thailand, with the support of the Philippines, previously called for 
a policy of ``flexible engagement'' to permit ASEAN countries to 
openly discuss domestic issues of a member country if the issue was 
deemed to have regional ramifications. But with most other countries 
feeling vulnerable to criticism, the idea faded. 

 Sukhumbhand said Wednesday that being a member of ASEAN is not just 
a privilege or a right but comes with responsibility. 

 ``It is essential that members do their utmost to make themselves 
acceptable in the eyes of the international community. No one can 
live in isolation. Otherwise, regional integration will not be able 
to move forward,'' he said. 

 The antipathy on the part of Western nations toward Myanmar has 
impacted on ASEAN, with the European Union declining to carry out 
some projects with the regional group because they don't wish to have 
any dealings with Myanmar. 

2000-06-21 Wed 15:07 



Thursday, June 22, 2000

Thailand is facing a costly lesson from the contract to purchase gas 
from Burma's Yadana gas field, Thai Farmers Research Centre says.  

The ongoing dispute between the Electricity Generating Authority of 
Thailand (Egat) and the Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) over 
payment for the purchase of Burmese gas has grown more complicated as 
Thailand's gas reserves continue to dwindle and the country's 
dependence on foreign petroleum sources becomes increasingly 

Last Friday, the heat cooled off somewhat when the National Energy 
Policy Office stepped in to settle the dispute between the two state 
enterprises that began in the middle of 1998. 

The problem began when the Egat's Ratchaburi power plant delayed the 
receipt of gas from the Yadana gas field in Burma because the plant's 
construction went past schedule. Even now, construction shows no sign 
of completion. 

Earlier, the PTT had signed a take-or-pay contract with the Yadana 
consortium, scheduling the gas receipt for the middle of 1998. The 
PTT is subject to a fine for the delay in gas receipt since mid-1998 
and the interest burden arising from the take-or-pay payment delay, 
according to the contract. 

The conflict arose when the PTT demanded that Egat share the above 
burdens, but both have been unable to come to terms until now. Thai 
Farmers Research Centre (TFRC) believes the problem stems from the 
PTT's decision to sign the take-or-pay gas purchase agreement. 

Basically, the 'take-or-pay' or 'minimum take-or-pay' agreement 
protects and guarantees the mutual benefits of both buyer and seller. 

Ten years from now, in the event that no domestic sources of natural 
gas are found, TFRC 
anticipates that there will be greater reliance on natural gas from 
neighbouring countries to compensate gas depletion in the Gulf of 

These oil fields include the Yadana and Yatakun fields of Burma, as- 
well as those on the Thai-Vietnamese border and the Thai-Malaysian 

The plummeting demand for natural gas following the 1997 economic 
crisis slowed down the development of gas fields in Thailand. Thus, 
it will take between 3 and 5 years to bring exploration and 
development to the production stage. 

In the long run, gas production from PTT platforms in the Gulf of 
Thailand will be unable to serve the increasing demand of Ratchaburi 
and Wang Noi thermal plants and other industries. Even the daily 
outputs from Burma's Yadana and Yatakun fields, at 725 million cubic 
feet per day, are expected to fall short of demand at the Ratchaburi 
Power plant, estimated at 700 to 800 million cubic feet. 

As stated in the take-or-pay contract, the PTT began purchasing 
natural gas from Burma on Aug 1, 1998. Tnitiallv it was to buy 65 
million cubic feet per day and later increase the amount to 525 
million cubic feet per day. 

The construction of Ratchaburi power plant was to be completed by the 
end of last year, at which point it was to begin purchasing gas at 
full production capacity. 

However, construction at present is only 60 per cent complete. 
Furthermore, the power plant can take only 10 to 30 per cent of gas 
transmitted from the Yadana field for machine testing only. TFRG 
expects that the volume of gas consumed will rise to 525 million 
cubic feet per by the end of next year or early 2002. The current 
level is still lower than the set minimum delivery of 65 million 
cubic feet. 

TFRC is of the view that the take-or-pay problem that has been 
dragging on for nearly two years is the urgent responsibility of all 
parties, including the government, the PTT and Egat. 
This is an inter-governmental conflict, and the Nepo's intervention 
to settle the take-or-pay burdens is worth applauding. Only the 
concerted effort of all parties concerned will help resolve the 

The rigid obligation as stated in the contract will make it more 
difficult to avoid responsibilities. In the short run, the PTT's move 
to a take-or-pay burden will show its responsibility to solve the 
conflicts with the Burmese government and the Yadana consortium. 

In our opinion, a more compromising and practical solution would be 
to consider details of the contract that open up the possibility for 
Thailand to renegotiate with the Burmese government and the Yadana 

Issues which could be raised for consideration include: the 
possibility of postponing the fine payment period for project delay; 
reducing the interest payment; and reducing the minimum prices or 
volume of natural gas, as agreed in the previous contract. 

Besides, the PTT should hasten the delivery of natural gas from Burma 
as soon as possible, and transfer it to -the nearby power plants, 
such as Trienergy Power Plant, which uses natural gas to generate 700 
megawatts of power, or IPT Power Plant, also generating 700 
megawatts. The latter could start transmitting power to Egat's 
national grid in July and August of this year. 

At present, Egat urges all power generating units under the 
Ratchaburi Thermal Plant to shift from oil to natural gas for power 
generation, which will utilise natural gas from Burma and reduce the 
accumulating take-or-pay burdens. 

The PTT hopes to finish constructing the Ratchaburi-Wang Noi gas 
pipeline, to connect with the east-west gas pipeline, in September, 
which will markedly facilitate gas transportation from Burma's gas 
fields to power and industrial plants in Thailand. The upcoming 
Bangkok Gas Ring, in addition, will lead to greater use of gas among 
several industrial estates in the metropolitan area. The construction 
will take place next year and the year after. 

Once the Ratchaburi Thermal Plant begins operations by the middle of 
this year, and dispatches electricity to the Egat's national grid, 
TFRC sees a possibility for higher generating costs, due to higher 
prices of gas from the Yadana gas field, when compared with those in 
the Gulf of Thailand. 
The power plant in Ratchaburi must utilise all gas from the Yadana 
field as stated in the contract, so the higher generating costs will 
inevitably be passed onto consumers. Retail electricity prices may go 
up next year or the year after. 

__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________


National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma

The following is our update on the MP campaign as of Wednesday, June 
21, 2000.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest 
gratitude and highest appreciation to all of you for your continued 
efforts and dedication to Burma's struggle for democracy and freedom.

1.	201    MPs at IPU conference in Jordan already signed up for 
their              Solidarity with the MPs of Burma (representing 82 
countries) 2.	132    MPs of Ireland
3.	 73    MPs of Belgium
4.	 72    MPs of Denmark
5.	 68    MPs of Estonia
6.	 61    MPs of Norway
7.	 53    MPs of European Parliament
8.	 52*   Members of the United States Congress (18 Senators and 
34 House              of Representatives)
9.	 44    MPs of Finland
10.    32    MPs and Senators from Canada
11.	 30    MPs of Nepal
12.	 28    MPs of San Marino
13.	 26    MPs of the Netherlands
14.	 19    MPs of Mauritius
15.	 17    MPs of Australia
16.	  3    MPs of Cambodia (including Sam Rainsy, Chair of the 
Council of              Asian Liberals and Democrats)
17.	  2    MPs of Italy
18.	  1    MP of France

* 52 members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States signed up for the co-sponsorship of the concurrent resolution 
on Burma (S.CON.RES. 113 IS and H.CON.RES. 328 IH respectively, 
expressing the sense of the Congress in recognition of the 10th 
anniversary of the free and fair elections in Burma and the urgent 
need to improve the democratic and human rights of the people of 

In total, 914 MPs all over the world have been officially with the 
legitimate MPs of the Union of Burma.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

[*Editor's Note: Articles on drugs are in the Economy and Business 
section because narcotics are Burma's largest export product and hard 
currency earner]


BANGKOK, June 22 (AFP) - Thailand and Myanmar are both planning 
displays of anti-drugs fervour on Friday, coinciding with the visit 
to Bangkok of the high-profile chief of the US drugs control office, 
Barry McCaffrey. 

 McCaffrey, a former Gulf War general who was appointed by the US 
Senate to head the drug control bureau four years ago, is to spend 
two days in Thailand as part of an historic Asian tour. 

 The US "drug czar" earlier this week visited China, where he signed 
a landmark anti-drugs pact. In Hong Kong on Wednesday he recommended 
the territory be taken off a list of major drug transit regions. 

 On Thursday, McCaffrey visited Vietnam in his first return to the 
country since he served two tours of duty there as a soldier in 1971. 

 Missing from his tour itinerary is Myanmar, the former Burma, which 
the US has nominated as one of the world's top opium producers. 

 Keen to highlight their anti-drugs efforts, the ruling generals in 
Myanmar have scheduled a drug destruction ceremony for Friday. 

 Diplomats, foreign residents, government officials and the media 
have been invited to attend the ceremony, the 14th such one to be 
staged by the military junta. 

 Myanmar also invited journalists from outside the country to witness 
the torching of thousands of tonnes of opium, heroin, marijuana, and 
the chemicals used to manufacture heroin and amphetamines. 

 In the last drugs bonfire held in February, the authorities 
destroyed 4,023 kilos of opium, 431 kilos of heroin, 163 kilos of 
marijuana and more than 15 million amphetamine tablets. 

 The government, which says it is determined to shed its pariah 
status as a narcotics producer, has introduced a drug eradication 
program which it says will wipe out domestic production within 15 

 But it estimates the program will cost about 5.6 billion US dollars, 
and has appealed for money to fund it, saying the international 
community must help Myanmar combat the trade, and not just offer 

 The United States was among the countries that last year boycotted 
an Interpol drug conference in Yangon at which senior government 
officials called for cooperation and foreign funding for anti-
narcotics efforts. 

 The US said that in the 1998-99 season, 1,750 metric tonnes of opium 
was produced in Myanmar. The ruling junta puts the figure at 680 
metric tonnes. 

 Meanwhile, neighbouring Thailand has basked in praise for its anti-
drugs drive, which McCaffrey earlier this month described as 
a "remarkable" effort which had virtually stamped out heroin 
production in just two decades. 

 "The Thais have made tremendous accomplishments. They're worth 
studying," he said. 

 "The eradication program in Thailand has essentially taken opium 
production in that country and just about eliminated it in 20 years," 
he said before embarking on the Asia tour.  McCaffrey said Thai 
forces had intercepted huge amounts of heroin flowing out of military-
ruled Myanmar. 

 "The Thais have done really a first-rate piece of work with both 
their border police and the armed forces." 

 He warned however that Thailand was facing a "dynamic" new threat 
from amphetamines, which are increasingly being produced along the 
Myanmar border, often by syndicates which have given up farming 

 During McCaffrey's visit to Thailand, the military is taking a press 
contingent up to the army bases along the border to brief them on the 
status of their efforts to stamp out the drugs trade. 
 In previous years, they have also been flown by helicopter over drug-
growing areas to witness the torching of opium poppy fields. 

 "Drugs control and security along the border is a major priority for 
the army," said army spokesman Colonel Somkhun Saengpatranet. 



BEIJING, June 22 (Reuters) - China has reduced domestic pirate CD 
production and most bootleg discs are smuggled in from neighbouring 
areas, senior Chinese copyright officials said on Thursday. 

 The shift of pirate CD production to Myanmar, Hong Kong and Macau 
forced China to direct anti-piracy efforts at criminal smuggling 
groups, Yu Youxian, director of the National Copyright 
Administration, told reporters. 

 ``Since 1997, pirated CDs in China have been mostly smuggled in from 
overseas, Yu said. 
 A second official, Press and Publication Administration deputy 
director Gui Xiaofeng, estimated that 70 percent of the pirated CDs 
in China were smuggled into the country. 

 ``China is no longer the source of pirated CDs,'' Gui said. 

 Yu said smugglers plying southwestern China's border with Myanmar 
were using the same routes and methods of traffickers who moved drugs 
into China. Hong Kong-produced pirate CDs often made their way into 
China through Macau. 

 Bootleg music and video CDs are widely available in every city in 
China. Peddlars were selling discs as cheap as $1.0 just 500 metres 
(1,640 ft) from the Beijing hotel in which Yu and Gui spoke to 

 China had shut down 90 illegal CD production lines with total annual 
capacity of 630 million discs since 1996 and confiscated 140 million 
counterfeit audio-visual items between 1995 and last year, Gui said. 

 He said the headway in China's battle against rampant piracy was due 
to tougher penalties, including jail terms for counterfeiters, 
accompanying the incorporation of piracy in China's modified Criminal 
Code in 1997. 

 The record industry's watchdog, IFPI, said last week that pirate CD 
sales top 500 million a year and account for one in every five sold 
around the world. 

 The group said that while Eastern Europe and Latin America showed 
the highest domestic piracy rates, Asia had the highest production 
capacity for feeding world pirate markets. In ``China there was 
little improvement in 1999,'' it said. 

 Yu conceded that ``huge profits'' made pirates willing to flout jail 
terms in China of 10 years to life and fines as high as one million 
yuan ($120,800). 

 ``As a result, the smuggling of pirate CDs is still rampant and some 
illegal compact disc presses are still to be uncovered on the 



June 22, 2000

Burmese traders in heavy loss, selling mangoes to Bangladesh 
Dhaka, June 22, 2000
Mizzima News Group

As mango season enters in Burma in May-June, Burmese traders who are 
doing legal border trade between Burma and Bangladesh have tried to 
export mangoes to Bangladesh but met with heavy loss as the price 
offered by the Bangladesh side is much less than what they expected. 
Traders from Arakan State and other parts of Burma carry 50,000 to 
100,000 mangoes each person via water route and sell them to the 
wholesale dealers at Taknaf, border town in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh traders at Taknaf are offering one Taka (about seven 
Kyats) per mango.

The Burmese traders had to buy the mangoes with ten Kyats per mango 
in Burma but the total cost reached to 15 Kyat (about two Taka) per 
mango after all "hafta" or protection money imposed by police, custom 
and army personnel was added.

"If we don't sell the mangoes with the price given by the Bangladesh 
side as soon as we could, our mangoes will get bad," said a Burmese 

As the result, a Burmese trader loses one Taka per mango and the 
average total lost for a trader is from Kyat 50, 000 to one lakh in 
this month. Twenty- three Burmese mango-traders have so far reached 
to Taknaf border town (in Bangladesh) during this month and everybody 
faced the same fate.

A mango is sold with 4 to 5 Taka in Bangladesh markets.

Last summer too, Burmese traders were in loss when they did onion 
business as the wholesale dealers from Bangladesh offered price for 
onion four to five times less than the fixed price.



New tactics for Burma
June 21, 2000

The US Supreme Court's unanimous decision voiding the Massachusetts  
selective purchasing law for companies doing business with the 
military  junta in Burma was tightly drawn. The justices rejected the 
law because  they found that federal sanctions against Burma, passed 
by Congress three  months after adoption of the Massachusetts law, 
preempted the earlier state  law. The differences between the two 
laws, the court said, ''compromise the  very capacity of the 
president to speak for the nation with one voice in  dealing with 
other governments.''

Now that the court has spoken, upholding the Constitution's 
Supremacy  Clause in conflicts between Congress and the states, 
defenders of human  rights in Burma would be wise to pursue their 
struggle with other tactics  and by other means.

After all, the ultimate aim of that struggle is not to punish 
callous  corporations doing business with the junta's narco-thugs but 
to restore  democracy and human and civil rights to the Burmese and 
to the brutalized  ethnic minorities in Burma.

The original idea for the Massachusetts selective purchasing law was  
suggested to Democratic state Representative Byron Rushing of Boston 
by  Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and was modeled on 
antiapartheid  laws. Yesterday, on the occasion of a birthday 
celebration for Aung Sun Suu  Kyi, the nonviolent leader of Burma's 
democracy movement, Tutu called on  people in the world who 
had ''supported our cause for sanctions ... For  goodness sake you 
can do something, you can impose stringent economic  sanctions on the 
military regime of Burma, and they too can, as the  apartheid rulers, 
bite the dust.''

Last week the International Labor Organization, by a vote of 257 to 
41,  gave the Burmese junta five months to end the horrors of forced 
labor or  face sanctions. Similar multilateral actions against the 
junta may be  pursued at the upcoming G-8 meeting in Okinawa and at 
the meeting of the  Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 
Thailand, late in July. More than  ever, American citizens and their 
government should heed Bishop Tutu's  call. That call has certainly 
not been heard by the corporations doing  business with the uniformed 
killers and drug dealers in Rangoon. 
This story ran on page A20 of the Boston Globe on 6/21/2000. 



Maung Maung explained in his section the choice of democracy in 
Burma's 1948 democratic constitution, how it was Minister U Hpo 
Hlaing (1829û83) who first introduced Burma to the idea of democratic 
reform. As Maung Maung put it, Hpo Hlaing had ætried to press upon 
him [King Thibaw] a democratic constitution.  

'U Po Hlaing at the height of his power on the ascension of Thibaw to 
the throne had submitted a constitution, or a treatise of rules for 
the King, by which the King would draw a salary and reign as a 
constitutional monarch, while the affairs of state would be conducted 
by a bicameral parliament of the people and the aristocracy, and a 
cabinet of ministers. The ideas were drastic then, and the absolute 
King and his weaker ministers rejected them, and U Po Hlaing was 
stripped of power and turned out of office.' (Maung Maung, U. 1959. 
Burma's Constitution. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, p 91)  

In 1878, aiming for the reform of the Burmese monarchy, Hpo Hlaing 
wrote Companion of Dhamma for Royalty (Raja-Dhamma-Singaha-Kyan), 
with which he hoped to convince Thibaw to reform the monarchy into a 
democratic government. However, instead of initiating reform, King 
Thibaw and his cabinet dismissed him in that same year. Less than a 
decade afterwards, the British annexed Upper Burma, thus bringing the 
whole of Burma under foreign control.  
*** National independence was thus lost in 1886 not because democracy 
reforms had been implemented, but /because/ Thibaw and and his 
ministers did not see the necessity for democratic reform. Today, we 
are still in this situation....*** 
In 2000, more than a century after Minister Hpo Hlaing was dismissed 
for his advocacy of 'traditional democracy', enduring democratic 
reforms have yet to take place. This may yet again cost Burma its 
independence - worse, this time to one of its close Asian neighbours 
and not some distant power. If it is not actually gobbled up, it is 
now well on its way to become a buffer state dancing to the tune of 
its infinitely more powerful, populous and intellectually cunning 
neighbouring governments.  

Ne Win, Khin Nyunt, Thant Shwe and Maung Aye still act like Thibaw 
and his ministers. They would be wise to hurry reforms along, for the 
clock is ticking..... the wa-lon are multiplying.  

Gustaaf Houtman 
Analytica Birmanie
June 2000 

To find out more about traditional democracy put the line below in 
your search engine:  http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-
alternatively, http://homepages.tesco.net/~ghoutman/chapter_09.htm 


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