Save Burma

ျပည္သူေတြဆီမွာ လြတ္လပ္မႈနဲ႔ တန္းတူညီမွ်မႈ အရင္ဆံုး ရွိေနမွ ဒီမိုိကေရစီ စံႏႈန္းရွိတာ ျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

Posts Tagged ‘Democracy

DEMOCRACY FOR CHINA: WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

with one comment

DEMOCRACY FOR CHINA: WHAT WILL IT TAKE?

By Roland Watson
June 4, 2010

Introduction

The most populous nation in the world, China, is a dictatorship. It has been ruled for the last sixty-one years by the Communist Party (CCP). Under Mao Zedong, the CCP was a typical communist regime. The population was kept equal – equally poor. Since Deng Xiaoping, it has become more properly a “capitalist dictatorship.” China today has great, and still growing, inequality. It is a merger of the worst in authoritarian political and economic rule.

The CCP provides material and/or diplomatic support to many other dictatorial regimes around the world. These include: North Korea, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), Russia, Belarus, Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, and Venezuela. In addition, Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia are so dominated by the CCP – for the moment at least – that they have been annexed into China itself.

We should also not forget all of the problems that emanate from China and which affect the entire planet. These include support for the rogue nuclear states North Korea and Iran (and now Burma); the host of deadly consumer products that have been exported from China (and which the CCP refuses to regulate); as well as wide-ranging environmental abuses. The last extends from an uncontrolled demand for timber, mineral resources and endangered species, which is driving environmental destruction and extinction throughout the earth; to air-borne industrial pollution which circulates it; as well as the CCP’s maneuvering last year in Copenhagen to sabotage international efforts to address climate change.

China’s more than one billion people are being denied freedom and human rights. The CCP’s client states have a total population that approaches another billion, and which similarly are denied their rights. Approximately one-third of the world’s population is repressed, either directly or indirectly, due to the CCP.

All of these countries, starting with China, have human rights movements and associated advocacy groups, which protest against the manifold ways in which the regimes abuse the peoples’ rights. Many of these groups, though, while laudable, in particular because of the dangers – of arrest and torture, even murder – that their leaders and members regularly face, are nonetheless based on an incorrect premise. They believe, or at least they act on, the assumption that human rights can be improved without change to the regime itself, in other words, that human rights can coexist with dictatorship.

This is a fallacy. There can be no human rights without democracy. A dictatorship may pay lip service to human rights, even allow the people some specific rights from time to time, but our full spectrum of rights can never be established and preserved within a dictatorial system. Indeed, democracy is a system designed to protect human rights. Dictatorship is predicated on their rejection and abuse.

The people of China, and also Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia, will continue to be denied their rights until the CCP loses power and China becomes a democracy. Other dictatorial regimes will continue to receive CCP support. The rest of the world will continue to suffer the problems that arise out of mainland China.

The question, then, is how can the Chinese people achieve democracy? What will this profound transformation require?

Current environment

The CCP is strong, and its strength is increasing every day. Notwithstanding factionalism within the Party, the leaders are united around the goal to preserve their rule. A key element underlying this unity is the CCP’s wealth. Chinese businesses have profited enormously from the sale of consumer and industrial products, which the world has been happy to buy. The Party takes a substantial percentage of this trade, hence its accumulated reserves of $2.4 trillion. In addition, with its wealth the Party has been rapidly upgrading its military capability. The People’s Liberation Army is now equipped with advanced weapons systems that have been internally developed, secured through espionage, or purchased from authoritarian allies such as Russia.

The International Community has been dithering about the rise of the new China. The hunger for cheap goods has convinced the rest of the world to ignore the totalitarian nature of the CCP and its many, many abuses. The Party further has conducted a full-scale charm offensive, buying loyalty from different nations around the globe, particularly in lesser-developed regions and whose own leaders are also authoritarian. China is actually creating a dictatorial block that constitutes a modern form of imperialism. Whereas Rome conquered other nations and peoples by force, China, the new Rome, is doing it quietly and with money.

The people of China

The natural source for resistance to CCP rule and a demand for democracy is the Chinese public. Within the country’s large population, though, there are many different groups. A great number of people actually belong to the Party, or work for or otherwise benefit from it. The CCP further has created the largest propaganda machine in history, which has the dual goals to promote communist rule and to silence all dissent. This propaganda machine is coupled with the similarly largest censorship exercise in history, notably through the Great Firewall that restricts access by the Chinese people to the Internet.

The basic argument that the CCP makes is that “The Party Knows Best.” The leaders are arguing that they are “benevolent dictators,” and that for China this is the only type of political system that will work. (The irony here is that benevolent dictatorship has roots in Confucianism, and the CCP was formed in part to destroy China’s ancient traditions. Now, at least in this case, it is embracing them.)

Benevolent dictatorship is the theoretical alternative to democracy. It claims, among other things, that people are unable to govern themselves: that like sheep we must be led. This is certainly arguable, but the position also has numerous obvious flaws. How do we choose who gets to lead, and how do we prevent them from abusing their power? As China saw under Mao, absolute power often has horrific consequences. And, even if under a particular ruler, or emperor, life is good, there is no guarantee that the next will also be benevolent. Indeed, the odds are, as Rome itself experienced, that tyrants will follow just leaders. Finally, as the people in such a society experience abuse, they become resentful and ultimately attempt to rebel. It is an inevitable cycle with this type of system.

In China, CCP members and cronies, and some portion of the general population, accept dictatorship. Most people, though, cannot be bothered with political concerns. They are too absorbed with their daily struggle to worry about such matters.

Contrasting the pro-regime factions, and on the other side of the silent majority, is an active and growing movement for change. This movement, though, is fractured. The largest elements are human rights groups, which are seeking relief for a wide variety of problems, including corruption, inequitable land distribution, sweatshop working conditions, religious persecution, political prisoners, and environmental crimes. A key participant here is the Falun Gong, which is seeking freedom to practice its spiritual exercises. This is a human rights motivation, and it is notable that the Falun Gong fully supports Confucian ideals.

The largest independent “internal” movements, for Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia, also focus on improving human rights, for the Tibetan, Uyghur and Mongolian peoples, not an outright demand for freedom and independence (although such groups have made it clear that they support democracy in China as well). The few internal groups that actually focus on democracy are small (although they are highly motivated), and include the Charter 08 movement and the China Democracy Party.

Finally, there is a large population of Chinese people who reside outside the mainland yet have an active concern for its problems. Many of these people advocate through groups that focus, once again, on human rights issues. A few, though, such as the international branches of the China Democracy Party, and also the Overseas Chinese Democracy Coalition, concentrate their efforts on opposition to the CCP and the need for a transition to democracy.

How to change China to a democracy

The world for the most part backs the CCP. Multinational corporations have lobbied countless governments to ignore the regime’s abuses and to accept the idea that trade with China is acceptable. Also, while the U.S. has consistently held this position as well, it did periodically speak up for democracy and human rights. Under President Obama, though, these gestures have been suspended. The American government is openly “pragmatic.” (One would have thought that the Obama Administration would choose progressive values over corporate lobby positions.)

This means that the burden for change falls to the Chinese people. Of course, one can argue that this is as it should be. People are responsible for themselves, and if they are the subjects of tyrannical rule, they must lead the way to overthrow it.

The problem with China then is how can Chinese people who are already pro-democracy activists encourage more people, ultimately a critical mass of the population, to support this change. There are two factors here. First, the Chinese need to be taught about democracy. They need to understand the ideas on which democracy is based; why it is preferable to benevolent dictatorship; and also the different aspects and variations of the democratic system that are in use around the world. This way they will become politicized, and develop a strong desire for democracy, and through this a willingness to act, and sacrifice, to fulfill this desire.

Secondly, they need to learn that human rights are predicated on democracy. If they want human rights for China, and if their own rights have been abused, in addition to making such a demand, and protesting such abuses, they should join the movement for democratic change. The Charter 08 document and the China Democracy Party should have millions of signatures and members.

The challenge of course is disseminating this education in the face of the CCP’s propaganda and Internet blockade. It is here that the International Community can be of assistance. The Great Chinese Firewall is not impregnable. Initiatives such as the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, through which Chinese people can bypass the Firewall, are already having a large impact. (The Falun Gong is the primary organizer of the GIFC.) The democratic nations of the world, notably the U.S. (which has budgeted large sums to support the GIFC, but dispensed only a small amount), should do everything possible to create a free information flow. And, all democratic nations and groupings, e.g., the E.U., should again make democracy and human rights the foundation of their foreign policy for China.

Will China require a revolution? Must there be a pro-democracy revolution to erase the results of the 1949 communist revolution? One would hope not: that democratic change can be accomplished in China non-violently. Unfortunately, however, having hopes and dreams does not guarantee that they will come true. In the real world change to democracy has invariably been accompanied by either a popular uprising or a military coup, or both.

As a result of the global financial crisis, business activity in China began to slow down and popular unrest to escalate. I have argued for years that there should be a global boycott of consumer products from China. Call it tough love, or whatever you like, but the Chinese people do have the power to overthrow the CCP. A little push wouldn’t hurt. Then, when China is free, trade can be resumed and the proceeds used to build schools and hospitals, not guns and missiles.

Conclusion

Two things are certain with China. For the first, democracy is preferable to the rule of the CCP, but defeating the Party and establishing it will be difficult. All human rights groups, including the Falun Gong, Tibetans, East Turkestanis and Southern Mongolians, should actively organize – both underground operations and international diplomacy – for democratic change. Indeed, if they maintain their primary focus on human rights concerns, such concerns will never be resolved.

Secondly, we, the people of the world, can work to make a difference. If our own political leaders, because of corporate lobbying, choose to back the CCP, we can act on our own to help the Chinese people.

Other than activism within China, the biggest impetus for change will be if either of the neighboring regimes in North Korea and Burma collapse. We can help bring this about as well.

The CCP’s goal is to create a one thousand year empire, that dominates a globe filled with authoritarian allies. This is identical to Adolf Hitler’s dream. Everyone who enjoys or aspires to freedom must work to prevent this from happening.

…………………………

http://www.dictatorwatch.org/articles/chinademoc.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

U.N. council delays statement on Suu Kyi sentence

leave a comment »

U.N. council delays statement on Suu Kyi sentence

Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:57pm EDT

By Patrick Worsnip

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Western nations pressed the U.N. Security Council to adopt a statement condemning a detention sentence passed on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, but other countries stalled for time.

A council meeting called by France to discuss the verdict ended without result and was adjourned until Wednesday, the president of the 15-nation body, British Ambassador John Sawers, said.

“There was considerable support for the principle of a statement, but a number of delegations wanted to refer it back to their capitals overnight for advice and instructions,” Sawers told reporters.

Diplomats said the countries concerned were China, Vietnam, Russia and Libya. China, which has a veto in the council, has consistently opposed tough action such as sanctions against its neighbor and trade partner Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, was sentenced to 18 months of house detention for violating an internal security law after an uninvited American visited her house where she was already under detention.

The verdict will keep her off the political stage through elections the military government has set for next year.

Tuesday’s council meeting considered a U.S.-drafted statement that “condemns the conviction and sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and expresses grave concern about the political impact this action has on the situation in Myanmar.”

The 16-line draft, seen by Reuters, called for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners and demanded that the junta “establish the conditions and create an atmosphere conducive to an inclusive and credible political and electoral process with full participation of all political actors.”

“We think there has to be a reaction by the Security Council,” French envoy Jean-Pierre Lacroix told journalists. “The verdict is in clear violation and breach of the request made by the Security Council.”

Earlier, a statement issued by the office of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is currently visiting his native South Korea, said he “strongly deplores” Suu Kyi’s sentence and called for her release.

It said Ban, who visited Myanmar last month in a fruitless bid to win Suu Kyi’s release, urged the junta to “engage with her without delay as an essential partner in the process of national dialogue and reconciliation.”

Fourteen Nobel peace laureates sent an open letter to the Council on Tuesday urging it to set up a commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity they said the junta had committed in Myanmar.

(Editing by Anthony Boadle)

For an illustrated profile and timeline, click here

MYANMAR-SUUKYI/ – Illustrated profile and timeline about Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. RNGS. (SIN08)

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

August 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Philippines mourns Corazon Aquino, dead at 76

leave a comment »


Philippines mourns Corazon Aquino, dead at 76

By OLIVER TEVES
The Associated Press
Saturday, August 1, 2009 5:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos mourned former President Corazon Aquino by displaying yellow ribbons and holding Masses as the nation prepared to bid farewell to the beloved democracy icon who swept away a dictator and fought off seven coup attempts.

Aquino, 76, died early Saturday after a yearlong battle with colon cancer, which had spread to other organs and left her bedridden since late June, her son, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, said.

Each of Aquino’s five children went to their mother’s bedside where they “were told to say everything we wanted to say” before she was given morphine, which made her unresponsive, her only son said.

Aquino rose to power after the 1983 assassination of her husband, opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. The uprising she led in 1986 ended the repressive 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos and inspired nonviolent protests across the globe, including those that ended communist rule in eastern Europe.

“She was headstrong and single-minded in one goal, and that was to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship,” Raul C. Pangalangan, former dean of the College of Law at the University of the Philippines, said earlier this month. “We all owe her in a big way.”

But Aquino struggled in office to meet high public expectations. Her land redistribution program fell short of ending economic domination by the landed elite, including her own family. Her leadership, especially in social and economic reform, was often indecisive, leaving many of her closest allies disillusioned by the end of her term.

Still, the bespectacled, smiling woman in her trademark yellow dress remained beloved in the Philippines, where she was affectionately referred to as “Tita (Auntie) Cory.”

Aquino’s supporters had been holding daily prayers for her in churches for the past month.

As the news of Aquino’s death spread through a rainy and gloomy Manila, radio and TV stations broadcast documentaries and stories of her life, with music dating back to the “people power” revolt and a love song based on a poem written by her husband.

Catholic priests held requiem Masses, and ordinary people tied yellow ribbons on trees around their neighborhoods, on cars, lamp posts and house gates.

Others laid flowers and lit candles outside the Aquino family residence in Quezon city, while some gathered to pray at a shrine on Manila’s EDSA highway, where hundreds of thousands of her supporters blocked Marcos’ tanks in 1986.

“The nation lost its moral guiding light but she will forever remain as the inspiration of this impoverished nation,” said Al Roy, one of Aquino’s godsons.

The Aquino family opted for a private instead of a state funeral.

“She has for all intents and purposes been a private citizen after stepping down, and to a degree we also want to spend as much time as possible as a family with her,” her son said.

Aquino’s body will lie in state at the De La Salle Catholic school in Manila from Saturday evening to Monday morning. It will be moved to Manila Cathedral before she will be buried beside her husband at the Manila Memorial Park on Wednesday, he said.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is on an official visit to the United States, remembered Aquino as a “national treasure” who helped lead “a revolution to restore democracy and the rule of law to our nation at a time of great peril.

The Philippines will observe 10 days of national mourning, she said. The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would accord full military honors during the mourning period, including gun salutes and lowering flags to half-staff.

With teary eyes, former aides and friends recalled their moments with “Tita Cory” in radio and TV interviews. A former speechwriter, Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr., broke down saying that her “purity, nobility never failed.”

Former top Cabinet aide Franklin Drilon said “President Cory was the most sincere person I have known in my life. … Part of me died this morning.”

Deposed President Joseph Estrada, who was toppled in the country’s second “people power” revolt – backed by Aquino – in 2001, said the Philippines had “lost the true mother of democracy.”

Aquino’s successor, Fidel Ramos, who was the military’s vice chief of staff when he broke with Marcos and embraced Aquino, said the former leader “represented the best of the Filipino of the past and the future.”

President Barack Obama was deeply saddened by Aquino’s death, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

“Ms. Aquino played a crucial role in Philippines history, moving the country to democratic rule through her nonviolent ‘people power’ movement over 20 years ago,” Gibbs said. “Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation.”

Aquino’s unlikely rise began in 1983 after her husband was gunned down at Manila’s international airport moments after soldiers escorted him from a plane on his arrival from exile in the United States to challenge Marcos, his longtime adversary.

The killing enraged many Filipinos and unleashed a broad-based opposition movement that thrust Aquino into the role of national leader.

“I don’t know anything about the presidency,” she declared in 1985, a year before she agreed to run against Marcos, uniting the fractious opposition, the business community, and later the armed forces to drive the dictator out.

Maria Corazon Cojuangco was born on Jan. 25, 1933, into a wealthy, politically powerful family in Paniqui, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Manila.

She attended private school in Manila and earned a degree in French from the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. In 1954 she married Ninoy Aquino, the fiercely ambitious scion of another political family. He rose from provincial governor to senator and finally opposition leader.

Marcos, elected president in 1965, declared martial law in 1972 to avoid term limits. He abolished the Congress and jailed Aquino’s husband and thousands of opponents, journalists and activists without charges. Aquino became her husband’s political stand-in, confidant, message carrier and spokeswoman.

A military tribunal sentenced her husband to death for alleged links to communist rebels but, under pressure from U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Marcos allowed him to leave in May 1980 for heart surgery in the U.S., where the family stayed for the next three years.

Her husband decided to return to regroup the opposition but was shot as he descended the stairs from the plane.

The government blamed a suspected communist rebel, but subsequent investigations pointed to a soldier who was escorting him from the plane on Aug. 21, 1983.

Aquino heard of the assassination in a phone call from a Japanese journalist. She recalled gathering the children and, as a deeply religious woman, praying for strength.

“During Ninoy’s incarceration and before my presidency, I used to ask why it had always to be us to make the sacrifice,” she said in a 2007 interview with The Philippine Star newspaper. “And then, when Ninoy died, I would say, ‘Why does it have to be me now?’ It seemed like we were always the sacrificial lamb.”

She returned to the Philippines and on Aug. 31, 1983, led the largest funeral procession Manila had seen. Crowd estimates ranged as high as 2 million.

With public opposition mounting against Marcos, he stunned the nation in November 1985 by calling a snap election in a bid to shore up his mandate. The opposition, including then Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime L. Sin, urged Aquino to run on Feb. 7, 1986.

With Marcos claiming victory and journalists, foreign observers and church leaders crying fraud, a group of military officers mutinied against Marcos on Feb. 22 and holed up with a small force in a military camp in Manila.

Over the following three days, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos responded to a call by Archbishop Sin to support the mutineers at the camp on EDSA highway.

On the third day, against the advice of her security detail, Aquino appeared at the rally. From a makeshift platform, she declared: “For the first time in the history of the world, a civilian population has been called to defend the military.”

The military chiefs pledged their loyalty to Aquino and charged that Marcos had won the election by fraud.

On Feb. 25, Aquino was sworn in as the Philippines’ first female leader and Marcos flew to exile in Hawaii, where he died three years later.

Over time, the euphoria fizzled as the public became impatient and Aquino more defensive as she struggled to navigate treacherous political waters and build alliances to push her agenda.

“People used to compare me to the ideal president, but he doesn’t exist and never existed. He has never lived,” she said in the 2007 Philippine Star interview.

Aquino signed an agrarian reform bill that virtually exempted large plantations like her family’s sugar estate from being distributed to landless farmers.

When farmers protested outside the Malacanang Presidential Palace on Jan. 22, 1987, troops opened fire, killing 13 and wounding 100.

The bloodshed scuttled talks with communist rebels, who had galvanized opposition to Marcos but weren’t satisfied with Aquino either.

As recently as 2004, at least seven workers were killed in clashes with police and soldiers at the family’s plantation, Hacienda Luisita, over its refusal to distribute its land.

Aquino also attempted to negotiate with Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, but made little progress.

Behind the public image of the frail, vulnerable widow, Aquino was an iron-willed woman who dismissed criticism as the carping of jealous rivals. She knew she had to act tough to earn respect in the Philippines’ macho culture.

“When I am just with a few close friends, I tell them, ‘OK, you don’t like me? Look at the alternatives,’ and that shuts them up,” she told America’s NBC television in a 1987 interview.

Her term was punctuated by repeated coup attempts – most staged by the same clique of officers who had risen up against Marcos and felt they had been denied their fair share of power. The most serious attempt came in December 1989 when only a flyover by U.S. jets prevented mutinous troops from toppling her.

Leery of damaging relations with the United States, Aquino tried in vain to block a historic Senate vote to force the U.S. out of its two major bases in the Philippines.

In the end, the U.S. Air Force pulled out of Clark Air Base in 1991 after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo forced its evacuation and left it heavily damaged. The last American vessel left Subic Bay Naval Base in November 1992.

After stepping down in 1992, Aquino remained active in social and political causes.

Until diagnosed with colon cancer in March 2008, she joined rallies calling for the resignation of Arroyo over allegations of vote-rigging and corruption.

She kept her distance from another famous widow, flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos, who was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991.

Marcos has called Aquino a usurper and dictator, though she later led prayers for Aquino in July 2009 when the latter was hospitalized. The two never made peace.

Associated Press writers Hrvoje Hranjski and Jim Gomez contributed to this report.

© 2009 The Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/01/AR2009080100473_2.html
..

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

August 1, 2009 at 11:22 am

Advocate Democracy in Myanmar

leave a comment »


Advocate Democracy in Myanmar

By John Smith Thang

Members of the Chin Democracy and Human Rights Network staged a rally against the Myanmar government in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Korea on July 5.

The protest was in memorial of a pro-democracy leader ― an ethnic Chin student, Salai Tin Mg Oo, who was killed by Myanmar’s military government on June 24, 1976.

Salai Tin Maung Oo was popular among university students in 1974-75 for his dedicated fight against the brutal military regime in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.

He and his colleagues organized a “U Thant Uprising” there in honor of U Thant, a former U.N. secretary general. After the military government prohibited the public from holding an honorable funeral for U Thant, Salai Tin Maung Oo and students led demonstrations to protest the dictatorial military rule.

Apart from the uprising, Salai Tin Maung Oo organized a “labor strike anniversary day” and “Mai-yar-pih events.” The military arrested him for his role in the uprising and pro-democracy movement.

Before Salai Tin Maung Oo was executed, military intelligence officers tried to persuade him to pledge to follow their authority in exchange for freedom. But he refused to do so and shouted, “I shall never kneel down under your soldiers’ boots.”

And he continued to shout in jail, “Comrades, they are killing me secretly.” Finally he was secretly hanged at Insein Jail on June 24, 1976.

His death brought great shock and anger to the whole country and particularly to ethnic minorities who were yearning for freedom and democracy. Salai Tin Maung Oo belonged to one of these groups.

In Myanmar, oppressing activists is routine. Since, the Myanmarese military government massacred student activists on July 7, 1962. Subsequently there were several repressive acts against Salai Tin Maung Oo and students in 1974.

And then there was a nationwide mass uprising in 1988 when the government forces brutally fired on the crowd ― killing about 3,000 innocent people. The Depayin massacre took place in May 2003 when the military alleged killed hundreds of people.

Again in September 2007, the military attacked and killed innocent people and monks who peacefully protested ― and many more people have “disappeared.”

Allegations have it that the military regime still continues to arrest pro-democracy and human rights activists. In recent days, the military took into custody pro-democracy icon Daw Aung San Su Kyi after 13 years of house arrest, without honoring the Nobel Peace Prize she won.

There are around 2,100 political prisoners in Myanmar. And many ethnic minorities and Christians continue to be persecuted by the military regime.

At the moment, Myanmar’s military government is escalating its war in peripheral ethnic regions using weapons supplied by its closest allies, China and North Korea. Innocent people are suffering and tormented, and thousand of refugees have had to flee their homeland due to the military government’s policy,

The military regime is preparing for 2010 elections in order to tighten its grip on power, which is ostensibly supposed to be transferred to a democratic government.

A democratic government should have the following basic elements: a people’s constitution, judicial independence, free media, and free and fair elections. But the military government has failed to introduce any of these elements.

The government is reluctant to acknowledge the multiethnic fabric of Myanmarese society. There should be guaranteed ethnic-civil rights through mutual agreement, however, the military regime has adopted an ethnic cleansing policy.

The military government has neither guaranteed civil rights nor ethnic rights. It will never bring true democracy to Myanmar.

The military government should stop oppressing pro-democracy activists. The international community, particularly the United Nations, must make concerted efforts to ensure free and fair elections next year.

Also it is necessary for China to stop supporting Myanmar’s military regime. Additionally, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should do more to promote democracy in Myanmar, and not support the military government.

Finally we urge the international community to work to advocate democracy and freedom in Myanmar.

John Smith Thang is executive director of Chin Democracy and Human Rights Network based in Korea. He can be reached at cdhrn.kr@gmail.com.


http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2009/07/137_48171.html

..

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 9, 2009 at 9:03 am

World focus on Burma (2 June 2009)

leave a comment »

.

Burma ranks 126th in Global Peace Index

Mizzima.com

Additionally, following deadly Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, the worst recorded natural disaster in Burmese history, human rights violations reportedly …

KMT caucus blocks Tiananmen resolution

Taipei Times – 

The KMT also blocked a DPP proposal urging the Myanmar junta to release democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The proposal would also require that the government …

Abuses and investigations in Burma

UN Dispatch – ‎‎

I’m sympathetic to the argument that human rights lawyers Geoffrey Nice and Pedro Nikken make in this Washington Post op-ed: that interest in Burma should …

Travel Writing as a Political Act

World Hum – 

No place I’ve been is more tangled in politics and travel than Myanmar (Burma). In 2004, when Lonely Planet asked me to be the lead author of its …

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Lawyers Challenge Witness Ban

Voice of America – 

By VOA News Lawyers for Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi say they have asked a court to overturn an earlier decision to ban three defense …

Free Suu Kyi campaign with her portrait distribution

Mizzima.com – 

But in Burma civil war is still raging and the country is still backward and underdeveloped and wallowing in abject poverty. The regime should join hands …

Call for the release of NLD Vice-Chairman Tin Oo

Mizzima.com – 

Bo Kyi, co-founder and Joint-Secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based in Thailand, on Tuesday said that the continued …

Burmese Legal Experts Criticize Suu Kyi Trial

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – ‎‎

By ARKAR MOE The absolute control of Burma ‘s military regime on the country’s judicial system makes the ongoing trial of Aung San Suu Kyi unfree and unfair …

The Irrawaddy Delta, known as the rice bowl of Burma, was devastated last May by Cyclone Nargis, which claimed more than 130000 lives. …

DG of Meteorology and Hydrology Department resigns

Mizzima.com – ‎‎

Till Cyclone Nargis, he was known as a credible and reliable person relating to weather forecast. He was also known in media circles as a media-friendly …

Civil Servants Briefed on Suu Kyi ‘Scandal’

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

In May, at governmental monthly meetings in Burma’s remote capital, Naypyidaw, all ministry officials instructed department heads to tell their subordinates …

Hints of Burma-Thailand Tension Appear in State-run Media

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – ‎‎

He suggested that Indonesia was a good model for Burma’s democratization. “So the question to be posed on Myanmar is why can’t they also emerge from that to …

‘We Won’t Have another Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

Khin Ohmar is a secretary of Forum for Democracy in Burma and a spokesperson for a campaign calling for the release of all political prisoners, …

Burmese junta raid news journal office

Index On Censorship

Burmese authorities have raided the office of the True News Weekly Journal (Thitsa) after an increase in sales amongst the supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi …

Police raid True News Weekly Journal office

Mizzima.com – 

by Phanida Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese military junta authorities raided the office of the True News (Thitsa) Weekly Journal after sales of the journal …

Suu Kyi Lawyers Challenge Witness Ban In Myanmar Trial

NASDAQ – 

YANGON (AFP)–Lawyers for Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday they had asked a court to overturn an earlier ban that prevented three …

‘One-use’ SIM Cards Set to Launch

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

Myanmar Post and Telecommunications remains the only mobile phone service provider in Burma. According to the statistics available, Burma was home to 375800 …

The Regime’s Hollow Talk of Justice and the Law

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – ‎‎

It is absurd to contemplate that, without committing any violation of any law, Burma’s detained Nobel Peace laureate will probably be found guilty of …

South Korea Urges Burma to Ensure Democracy

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – 

“President Lee expressed the hope that the Myanmar [Burma] government would address the concerns of the international community by making sure that national …

Suu Kyi’s lawyers make appeal for more witnesses

eTaiwan News – 

AP Lawyers for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday that they are asking a court to allow three defense witnesses, earlier rejected by …

May Tha Hla: Bringing aid to Burma.

BBC News

May Tha Hla is a Burmese expat who lives in the UK. After Cyclone Nargis struck in May 2008 she was frustrated at the failure of aid to get through to Burma …

Aung San Suu Kyi is key to reconciliation

United Press International, Asia

The UN Security Council has called for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma. The generals should seriously …

Chin: Statement on Mission to the USA

UNPO – 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not a threat to the security of Burma, but is an irreplaceable political icon for bringing about change in the country.

Costs of War: Fixing National Security

ISN – 

… he nominated Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and spoke out against the house arrest of Burmese Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, …

Three Ways Obama Must Choose Wisely in Cairo

North Star Writers Group – 

Though Obama criticized Burma’s military junta last week for arresting democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi, he said nothing after last week’s death of …

FACTBOX-A look at North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

Reuters – ‎‎

Intelligence experts say Kim ordered the 1983 bombing in the capital of Burma, now Myanmar, that killed 17 senior South Korean officials and the bombing of …

Malaysia denies Burmese human trafficking

Mizzima.com – 

The report was based on a year long review by committee staff who spoke to migrants from military-ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, and human rights …

Veteran politician laments Burmese independence

Democratic Voice of Burma – 

The speech was observed by politicians, including members of the opposition National League for Democracy party, whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi is currently …

Need for political change in Burma for regional stability: Thai FM

Narinjara News – ‎‎

Both the foreign ministers felt that the two countries should convince the Burmese military authorities that the Bangladesh-Myanmar Road is “a more viable” …

Malaysia denies claim of Myanmar human trafficking

Sin Chew Jit Poh – ‎‎

The report was based on a yearlong review by committee staff who spoke to migrants from military-ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, and human rights …

Thai Immigration crackdown on border runners

Phuket Gazette – 

Immigration checkpoints bordering Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia are expected to enforce the regulation shortly. Most visa runners in Phuket make the …

Crushing Democracy in Myanmar

Mainstream

From the event of the Four Eights Uprising (August 8, 1988) to the Crackdown on Monks in 2007 and dealing with last year’s Cyclone Nargis, the junta has …

Guardian Daily: Alistair Darling’s future in the balance

guardian.co.uk – ‎‎

Gordon Brown has signed an online petition supporting Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. Simon Tisdall says that while it will help keep her name …

Myanmar cyclone: WFP lifts veil on aid operation

Reuters AlertNet – ‎‎

Most reports on Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar’s biggest natural disaster in years, make pretty dry reading. But not so, the latest UN offering which looks more …

The pagoda’s collapse and the Burmese junta

Examiner.com – 

… Buddhist site in Rangoon, Myanmar. The pagoda had been damaged by the Cyclone Nargis last spring – which took the lives of at least 140000 Burmese – and …

What the UN Can’t Ignore in Burma

Washington Post

The leader of Burma’s struggle for human rights and democracy has been charged with violating the terms of her house arrest after an American citizen swam …

China leaps from pariah to power after Tiananmen

Emirates Business 24/7 – 

“They can talk strongly about human rights in Burma — or human rights domestically, like closing down Guantanamo — but when it comes to China, …

MediaWATCH: Stress, Fatigue in Phuket Disaster

Phuketwan

Australia leads the Asia-Pacific region with 400 cases. idahostatesman.com (ap) In Rangoon t spray-painted demands appear overnight: ”Free Aung San Suu Kyi …

CrisisWatch N°70, 1 June 2009

ReliefWeb (press release) – ‎‎

… and fears for the further escalation of regional tensions. The situations in Guatemala, Myanmar/Burma and Niger also saw significant deteriorations in May.

Dhaka, Bangkok to take up refugee issue with Rangoon

Radio Australia News – 

Thailand and Bangladesh will take up the issue of ethnic Rohingyas fleeing Burma into neighbouring countries with the military junta. …

‘Political change in Myanmar will benefit all’

Bangladesh News 24 hours

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC, groups together Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Nepal, …

Suu Kyi trial sparks helpless outrage in Myanmar

The Associated Press

For a nation still recovering from the devastation of Cyclone Nargis last year, which left at least 138000 dead, the ongoing economic hardship makes coping …

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

June 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

World focus on Burma (19 May 2009)

with 2 comments

.

BURMA: Nature Conspires Against Cyclone Victims, Denying Them …

Inter Press Service

The Burmese junta’s reputation as an oppressive and corrupt regime did not help in the relief efforts. Much needed foreign funds to help in the immediate …

Burma through the artist’s eye

guardian.co.uk

So, should we go to Burma? The wishes of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for democracy remain clear. As she told me 10 years ago when I met her in …

ASEAN ‘gravely concerned’ by Myanmar trial

Taipei Times

ASEAN expressed “grave concern” yesterday but ruled out sanctions in its first official reaction to the trial of Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu …

Paris mayor calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed

eTaiwan News

AP AP The mayor of Paris has called for the release in Myanmar of Nobel Laureate and pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who is on trial on charges she …

British Premier sends extra-ordinary letter to Suu Kyi

Mizzima.com

by Mungpi New Delhi (Mizzima) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday sent an open letter to Burma’s detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, …

The lady’s not for turning

Suu Kyi’s latest visitor came uninvited and, unwittingly, cast her from seclusion back into the center of Burma’s long drawn out political drama. …

Persecuted Often Find Prison in the United States

Huffington Post

One of our pro bono clients — a teacher who had fled Burma after the military regime had imprisoned him for his support of democracy and human rights …

MYANMAR: AUNG SAN SUU KYI FACES UN TO FIVE YEARS IN JAIL

Culturalnews.it

Protests go on to protect and to support Nobel Prize for Peace, Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her supporters will protest her innocence …

ASEAN leaders call for immediate release of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi

Philippine Star

… reaffirms ASEAN’s readiness to contribute constructively to the national reconciliation process and the peaceful transition of democracy in Myanmar,” …

EU leads charge for release of Aung San Suu Kyi

New Europe

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is ruled by military dictators who have nearly isolated their country from the world. The Foreign Ministry in Berlin said it …

Suu Kyi’s “ready to face anything”; trial enters 2nd day

Press Trust of India

Yangon, May 19 (PTI) Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi today said she was “ready to face anything” as her lawyer said the military junta …

Senators back call to free Suu Kyi

Business Mirror

… elections in Myanmar is next year,” she said as she denounced the criminal charges filed by Myanmar (as Burma is called by the junta) against Suu Kyi. …

Pakistan calls for release of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

DAWN.com

The military has ruled Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, since 1962 and has refused to recognise her party’s landslide victory in 1990.

opposition leader Suu Kyi on trial

Haber 27

The ailing Nobel Peace Prize winner has spend 13 years under house arrest, initiated in 1990 when her party achieved a landslide victory in Myanmar’s last …

Asian leaders call for Suu Kyi’s release

Sydney Morning Herald

State television and radio carried brief items late on Monday after the first day of proceedings, while the Government mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar …

Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial continues at brisk pace

Mizzima.com

On Tuesday the junta’s newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, broke its silence over the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi. The paper said Yettaw’s visit to the Burmese …

Burma: Sanctions

US Department of State

… have succeeded in bringing about change in Burma. The goal of our policy is to encourage progress toward democracy and the protection of human rights. …

Leptospirosis kills two Burmese in Malaysian detention camp

Mizzima.com

“So far, only two among illegal migrants from Myanmar [Burma] and Bangladesh who were admitted in Bukit Mertajam hospital have died,” said Phee. …

Canada Marks One-Year Anniversary of Burma Cyclone Relief Fund

PR-USA.net (press release)

“Thanks to the generous response of Canadians, we were able to provide immediate and effective support to the victims of Cyclone Nargis with food, …

Senators Kerry, Lugar Statement on Aung San Suu Kyi

All American Patriots (press release)

… and all those in the global community who seek for the Burmese people the opportunity to live in a country where universal human rights are respected, …

Myanmar junta wants to speed up Suu Kyi trial: party

AFP

Critics say next year’s elections are a sham as they will be held under a new constitution, voted for just days after Cyclone Nargis hit the country in May …

UPI NewsTrack TopNews

United Press International

The woman’s supporters maintain the charges are an excuse by the military junta of the country formerly known as Burma to extend her house arrest. …

It’s All Going According to Plan

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

The meeting was convened for one reason only—to discuss the thorny issue of Burma’s most famous prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi. Than Shwe reportedly asked five …

Who is John W. Yettaw?

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

… lay over in Burma due to the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, which was seized by Thai protesters led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy. …

Miriam files resolution condemning charges vs Suu Kyi

GMA news.tv

… who authored the resolution, said the charges filed by the Myanmar government are in violation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the …

Viewpoint: Why Foreigners Can Make Things Worse for Burma

TIME

(See pictures of Burma after Cyclone Nargis.) The American’s rationale for sneaking into the residential compound of the world’s most famous political …

Briefs NATION WORLD

Kentucky.com

RANGOON, Burma — Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was put on trial behind closed doors Monday, police ringing the prison where the proceedings were held to …

White Crow Discovered in Sittwe

Narinjara News

The Burmese junta authorities have taken many precious resources like the white elephants and ancient Buddha images and statues to Burma proper after the …

UN envoy delivers message to Burma junta

Democratic Voice of Burma

May 19, 2009 (DVB)–The United Nations envoy to Burma has said that the international community, including the UN, should step up pressure on the regime to …

Foreign Companies in Burma Must Review Their Involvement

The Irrawaddy News Magazine

The latest action against Suu Kyi, following the regime’s criminal mismanagement of Cyclone Nargis relief and its crackdown on the September 2007 …

NEWS IN BRIEF

Minivan News

The pro-democracy leader, who has been under house detention for 13 out of the past 19 years, was accused of violating her terms of imprisonment by the …

A “Charter 09″ for Burma

Mizzima.com

… Democracy (NLD) recently held a national meeting with the elected representatives from the 1990 elections and a limited number of delegates from Burma’s …

UN envoy delivers message to Burma junta

Democratic Voice of Burma

May 19, 2009 (DVB)–The United Nations envoy to Burma has said that the international community, including the UN, should step up pressure on the regime to …

Behind India’s democratic miracle

Business Spectator

… India is perfectly capable of cosying up to a dictatorship, such as the Burmese military junta. The sleazy side of Indian democracy has led to a third …

I’m not dead yet

La Voz Weekly

Finally, we shift to events in Burma (aka Myanmar) where the illegal military junta has found another excuse to extend the prison sentence of pro-democracy …

EU seeks human rights abuse inquiry

Irish Times

Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers also discussed the possibility of extending sanctions against the military regime in Burma following its decision to put …

Burma’s symbol of hope is biggest threat to the generals

Irish Times

The Delta is Burma’s rice bowl, but today much of the farmland remains infertile after being inundated by seawater during Cyclone Nargis. ..

IMF doubts over speed of recovery

WA Business News (subscription)

World: Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial yesterday, facing another five years in detention on charges of harbouring a US man who swam …

Burma trial enters second day

Radio Australia News

[Reuters] Few believe the Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will be given a fair trial. Deep concern over new charges against Burma’s detained …

PLA man held

E-Pao.net

… that he joined PLA in December 2006 through one Kokngang alias Killer of Pechu Lampak and got basic military training at Burma (Myanmar), the SP said, …

Trial Of Pro-Democracy Icon Begins In Myanmar

NPR

… most recently by the brutal and bloody 2007 crackdown against monks and their supporters and by another round that followed Cyclone Nargis last year. …

“Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country”

Democracy Now

They did dramatic job during the Saffron Revolution, as well as Cyclone Nargis disaster. Without these video journalists, DVB is not possible.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm

World focus on Burma (12 May 2009)

leave a comment »

.

Blowback on Myanmar’s cyclone disaster

Asia Times Online – ‎‎

By Brian McCartan CHIANG MAI – The tragic human cost of last year’s Cyclone Nargis has never been in question: the killer storm in Myanmar…

took the lives of

Local media awaits permission to print intruder’s photograph

Mizzima.com – 

by Phanida Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The local media in Burma is waiting for permission from the censor board to report the intrusion into Daw Aung San Suu …

Burma claims confidence in disaster warning system

Democratic Voice of Burma – 

May 12, 2009 (DVB)–Burma’s government, widely condemned for its slow response to cyclone Nargis last year, has voiced confidence in its new disaster warning …

Weekly Business Roundup (May 12, 2009)

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – 

By WILLIAM BOOT India’s state hydroelectric firm NHPC says it is ready to invest about US$5 billion in two river hydroelectric projects in western Burma. …

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Asian Tribune – 

The US Congress on many an occasion has denounced and condemned the Burmese military junta for its undemocratic rule and violation of human rights, …

Report: Detained American visited Suu Kyi before

eTaiwan News

By GRANT PECK AP AP AP An American accused of swimming across a lake to sneak into the home of detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi may have …

Iran non-oil exports to ASEAN states surge, hit $1.3b

Tehran Times – 

… Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Health crisis for Burma’s political prisoners

Democratic Voice of Burma – 

A doctor who visited imprisoned opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week revealed that she was suffering from dehydration and low blood pressure, …

Call for inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma

Inspire Magazine – 

Over 60 British MPs are calling for a United Nations (UN) commission of inquiry into crimes against humanity in Burma, just two weeks before Nobel Laureate …

A skyful of lies interferes with clear communication

Financial Times – 

In Burma in September 2007, during the surge of pro-democracy…

protests, the military junta described the images being sent out around the world by its

MediaWATCH: Report Casts Doubt on Phuket Meet

Phuketwan

Negligence was also cited in the case of 54 Burmese immigrants who suffocated in a container on the back of a truck on their way from Ranong to Phuket in …

view: Theatre and Ju-jitsu —Joseph S Nye Jr

Daily Times – ‎12 hours ago‎

It was far easier for him to criticise Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Burma than Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and his initial criticism of Egypt was soon toned down. …

127 Myanmar politicial prisoners in poor health

Gulf Times – 

… (Burma) entitled “Burma’s prisons and labour camps: Silent killing fields,” Myanmar’s myriad political prisoners face new hazards to their health, …

Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country

En Primeur

… shows a rare inside look into the 2007 uprising in Myanmar through the cameras of the independent journalist group, Democratic Voice of Burma. …

Bangkok Post : Activists slam effort to expose traffickers

Bangkok Post

Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, Bangladesh and Australia met to find a solution to human trafficking and smuggling, including the Rohingya issue. …

Women Nobel Peace Laureates Conference in Antigua Guatemala

The Guatemala Times

Burma 1991. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Since she remains under house arrest and increasingly tighter security, …

Non lethal promotion of democracy

TPMCafé – 

In a recent article in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Charles Kupchan and Adam Mount suggested that “the terms of the next [international] order should be …

Nobel laureates mull boycott over South Africa’s denial of visa …

Ottawa Citizen – 

… refusal in the past to join UN condemnation of Myanmar over its treatment of the 1991 peace laureate, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. …