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PRESIDENT U THEIN SEINS SHAM
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Myanmar to free all political prisoners

Published: 16 Jul 2013 at 03.49 http://www.bangkokpost.com/


Online news: Asia

Myanmar President Thein Sein said Monday that all political prisoners would be freed
by the end of the year and that a ceasefire with ethnic groups was possible within
weeks.

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) greets Myanmar President Thein Sein

ahead of a meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on July 15, 2013.


Myanmar President Thein Sein said on Monday that all political prisoners would be

freed by the end of the year and that a ceasefire with ethnic groups was possible
within weeks.The former junta general's comments, made during his first visit to
London, appear to be latest stage in reforms that Thein Sein has made since he took

office in 2011."I guarantee to you that by the end of this year there will be no
prisoners of conscience in Myanmar," Thein Sein told an audience at the Chatham

House think-tank in London."We are aiming for nothing less than a transition from
half a century of military rule and authoritarianism to democracy."He was also
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optimistic about ending decades of conflict that have raged between the government
and more than a dozen ethnic groups since the country formerly known as Burma
won independence from Britain in 1948."Very possibly over the coming weeks we

will have a nationwide ceasefire and the guns will go silent everywhere in Myanmar
for the very first time in over 60 years," he said."Difficult talks will follow and hard

compromises will need to be made. But it must be done."British Prime Minister David
Cameron earlier urged the president to defend human rights when the pair met for
talks.Thein Sein promised to take a "zero tolerance approach" to people who "fuel
ethnic hatreds" following attacks against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority in
which hundreds of people have been killed.Welcoming the Myanmar leader on the
red carpet outside his 10 Downing Street office, Cameron said he was "very pleased"

to see Thein Sein on his "historic visit".But Cameron, who last year became the first
British prime minister to visit Myanmar, added: "As well as the continuation of your

reform process, we are also very keen to see greater action in terms of promoting

human rights and dealing with regional conflicts."We are particularly concerned
about what has happened in Rakhine province and the Rohingya Muslims."BuddhistMuslim clashes in the western state of Rakhine last year left about 200 people dead,
mostly Rohingya Muslims who are denied citizenship by Myanmar.

Further clashes have erupted in recent months.Around a dozen protesters gathered


outside Downing Street during Thein Sein's visit calling for action to protect the
Rohingya.But Cameron followed the international community's line on the need for
economic development in particular to support reform in Myanmar, formerly known

as Burma."We believe there are many areas for Britain and your country to
cooperate together, diplomatically, in terms of trade and investment, the aid and

development relationship and also our growing links in terms of our militaries,"
Cameron said.The British premier did not specify what the military links were.Since
Thein Sein took the presidency two years ago, the ex-military man has freed
hundreds of political prisoners and welcomed democracy champion Aung San Suu

Kyi and her political party into parliament.The European Union has scrapped most
sanctions except an arms embargo and readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference
scheme.The United States has also lifted most embargoes and foreign companies
are now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its perceived frontier market of
some 60 million potential consumers.
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A prisoners pursuit of democracy in Burma


By Lillian Cunningham, Published: July 17 at 12:21 pm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/

Win Tin at his home in Rangoon, Burma, on June 26 (Lillian Cunningham/The


Washington Post).
I hope you can understand what I mean, Win Tin says. His English is muted, halfswallowed. It gets caught in the drum of monsoon rain on the roof, though the

downpour is slowing with the afternoon. Im old. My memory is fading. I lose many
memories of wording and expression and phrases and thoughts.
A longtime Burmese journalist, Win Tin sharpened his words into a tool for activism

in the late 1980s, when he co-founded the National League for Democracy (NLD)
with Aung San Suu Kyi during a period of political turmoil in Burma.
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As a young man, he had met Suu Kyis father, Gen. Aung San, who led the countrys
independence movement until his assassination in 1947. Their brief interaction set
Win Tin on the path to becoming a writer. Nearly half a century later, he would meet
the generals daughter during the 1988 protests and set out on yet another path, as
an activist.
Not long after beginning their work to promote democracy, both Suu Kyi and Win
Tin became political prisoners under the countrys military regime he at age 60,
she at 44. While under house arrest, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and

soon became the icon of democratic opposition in Burma. Win Tin, who lacked Suu

Kyis family prominence and Oxford education, spent nearly 20 years in jail, first in a
cell designed for military dogs and then in solitary confinement. Although released in

2008, he continues to wear the blue of a Burmese prison uniform. He says it


symbolizes his belief that the country is still behind bars.
In his 84 years, Win Tin has seen Burma (also known as Myanmar) under British
colonial rule, Japanese occupation, independence, a military junta and now a partly

civilian government. Since his release, he has been in and out of the hospital many
times because of a heart ailment and the aftereffects of harsh treatment while
incarcerated. He returned to the hospital again for care soon after giving this
interview in his home in late June.

Outside Win Tins home in Rangoon, June 26 (Lillian Cunningham/The Washington


Post).

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His home is a small, borrowed guesthouse on a friends property in the former


capital of Rangoon, as Win Tin left prison with no money or property. On one bright
green wall, he has since hung a portrait of Suu Kyi, who recently announced her
desire to be president. On another hangs an old framed poster from Reporters
Without Borders that marked his 75th birthday and 16th year of imprisonment.

In this interview, edited for length and clarity, Win Tin reflects on his own story, the
story of his country, and how the two narratives intertwine.
You have said that meeting General Aung San once in your childhood had a strong
effect on you. What was the story?

That was a long time ago. At that time I was too young, I was only about 15, and

we were residing in a small village. Aung San was going to the front and one of his
aides was my uncle. At that time, the allied planes and allied warships are busy
shooting. So they are returning through the night and they stop in my village, at my

house, and there I met him. He was not very easy to talk to. He was a very tacit
man, a silent man.

The only thing I asked him is that I would like to join the military, because at that

time the Burmese army was very popular. Every young man was very much excited
to join the army and join the fighting. He thought for a moment and asked me

whether I go to school, whether I study. I said yes. He said: Please, we have a lot of
people who fight in our army and for our cause, but we havent got enough
educated persons. You better go to school and learn and continue your studies.
I was very impressed with his asking to continue my studies. From that time on, I

worked for learning and for studying and for writing. I became a journalist up until I
joined the NLD party, when I became a sort of politician.
Who inspired you the most in your life? And how optimistic are you about the future
of democracy in Myanmar?
I must say it like this. I was not a politician since very young in my age. During my
high-school days, I was one of the leaders of the student union and, at 16 or 17, I

became president of the student union. I was involved in some student movements.
Apart from that, I did not spend much time with politics.
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All the time I intended to become a journalist or writer or poet. So I was doing that
until I was about 60, when this democratic popular movement happened in the
1980s. I was president of the writers and literary union. With that position, I became

one of the founding members of the NLD party. There are only three of us left in the
partyDaw Aung San Suu Kyi and myself and U Tin Oowho were founding

members. Thats why I have to stay on. Deep down in my heart, Im always a
journalist and that means Im for democratic ways of life. Democracy is always in my
heart, and democracy is always my intention and the real target of my life.

I express myself very freely and very democratically, not always along party lines.
My opinions on political changes and political movements, some of them are rather

deviated from party lines. Sometimes I have to express my opinions, which are
rather different from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. I dont mind. All the time Im a media
man, and media man means democracy.
I have really hope and expectations that this democratic society will be formed in
Burma one day, that the democratic way of life will happen in Burmaat the same
time that there will be democratic institutions and political parties and also

democratic government and parliament. The expectation of democracy is all the time
with me. In the future, these democratic activities and endeavors will take fruit in
Burma.

During your time in prison, did you ever lose hope for yourself and your countrys
future?
Im an old man now. I dont want to discuss my future. It might be very short and
very dim. Although we have passed through many times of a one-party system or
military rule, we still think that one day we will suddenly have some democratic

society. But its not yet. Many people die, many people suffer. Not only in the big

cities. When you go out to the countryside, people suffer a lot. We activists and
politicians, we always try for democracy. The struggle is very long and very hard.

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A painting of Aung San Suu Kyi, by Khin Maung Yin, hangs on the wall of Win Tins
home (Lillian Cunningham/The Washington Post).

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of course, she is no god. She is no god of politics. She has a
lot of shortcomings and she has some mistakes, but she is the only person

nowadaysnot only for us, not only for NLDbut for the Burmese people. Shes got
the intelligence; shes got the capacity and the political thinking. Nowadays she is

the only one who can lead the people, lead the new generation. So we have faith in
her.
Can you explain the differences you have with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi?
Yes, I always say that the way Daw Suu was brought up was quite different. I came
from a very small village, a small town, and I studied only in Burma. Our education

system is not very high. My bringing-up was quite normal for the underdeveloped
way. She was brought up in developed countries like India, and she studied at the
very top universities. That is a difference.

Another difference is that she was brought up in a family of generals, like Aung San,
and she has played at that very high echelon of power for a long time, although she

didnt involve herself in their politics. When she came back, she was over 40 and I
was about 60. We met at the popular uprising in 1988. That popular uprising was led
by the people: students and young men and workers and peasants. Ordinary people.

At that time there was no person who was the leader or the director. No, we joined
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the uprising as activists for democracy, activists for human rights. We joined
together.
There were always differences there between her and myself. Although I worked as
a writer and a journalist, my intellectual level is quite different. And not only is my
social leaning and political expectation also quite different from hers, but as I told

you she was brought up from the military government, in the military environment, a
military family. In Burma, theres no more military rule. But still all these men
including the president, the chairman of the parliament, ministers and so onthey

are military. They encourage military rules and military thinking and military
philosophy and expectations. Thats a problem. What I fear is that, although Burma
is heading for democracy, they are not a democratic element.
Although they claim to be democratic, there is some sort of bad smell of military in
them thats still there that, time to time, comes out of the mouth of higher people
like the president or members of parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi sits in a session of parliament in Naypitaw, Burma, on June 27,
2013 (Lillian Cunningham/The Washington Post).
But Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, she is always very cooperative and very kind and very
welcoming toward the military. That is our difference. She always said that she
would like to welcome the military to join all the countrys activities for democratic

changes, and she said that, without any cooperation from the military, we will never
be able to achieve all these changes for reform.

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My interpretation is another thing. I said: No, not this, not now. They are outsiders,
they are outside the circle. I said the military must change, the military must not
intervene in the political mettles of the country.
Does Aung San Suu Kyi still consult you for decisions?
We meet from time to time, maybe every month or so. We have a very good
relationship. She is a very cultured person, very kind and very normal. We have no
conflict at all. I express myself and she expresses herself. We want ourselves to be a
big party and a big organization, with genuine democracy as a target.
Do you think there is still a chance that the military will take over?
I dont think the military will be able to take power again. Thats my conviction.
Everywhere people are protesting and fighting back. They really refuse the military

power again. This is the message that people are giving to the government. They
know it. Not only that, the military knows it.
Of course, the military is still powerful and institutionally its still in the ruling
population, but in a sense peoples message is: No, its enough. But of course they

are the big organization, the big institution, the big power. About 70 percent of the
countrys economy is in their hands. So military power is there.
How confident are you that your party can win the majority in 2015?
We can become the majority. We believe that. In the 1990 election, we won the
majorityand at that point our party was very nascent, very young and just formed.
We had no organization, nothing. We formed our party in 1988, in September. Then
the election was in 1990. It was very short, but we won.

We were not known at the time, we were nameless and people didnt really know
our political opinions. Even Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was not well known at the time.
Only the namewe knew the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, and we knew that she was

the daughter of Aung San, but thats all. Not only that, but at that time we were
inside the jail and behind the bars. I and Tin Oo and many leaders. There was no
leadership, but still we were elected.

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We hope that we will have the real support of the people in 2015. Well win it, we
know that. Maybe we will not win in a landslide majority, but well win it.
Do you feel as hopeful that you will see real changes to the constitution?
When I came out of jail in 2008, I met many media. The very first thing I said was,

Burma is still in prison. All the population is behind bars, I think. There are many
political prisoners still behind bars and left behind in the jails. Thats why I will keep
the dress of the jail, the prison. At least I can keep the colorthe blue color.

Win Tin wears the blue of his former prison uniform in his home on June 26, 2013, in
Rangoon, Burma (Lillian Cunningham/The Washington Post).
At that time I told the media, this constitution should be shed. It should be written
again and a new constitution should be set up. That was five years ago and it was
not successful, but Im still of the same opinion.

But how do you change the constitution? There are very hard points, very serious
points, to change. That the military will play the leading role in politicsthat is one

very hard one to change. Also, there is some section about security and defense
counsel. According to that section, the military can always take power again because
they can proclaim an emergency in the country. And some sections are there to
keep Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president. I think without changing this
constitution, there is no chance for real reform to happen in Burma.
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Do you think there is hope for an Arab Spring-like movement to bring in democracy?
We had our own spring in 1988. We had mass movements with millions of people

coming out and going against the military. We had that experience already. Since
then, there are many springs. I think well go on to have spring, and spring again.
The only thing of course is that, though we have struggled and these political
powers are receding, maybe people are getting a bit tired, I think.
Another thing: they have never enjoyed such freedoms as freedom of press,
freedom to express their thinking. They havent experienced that for a long time50

yearsnow they are experiencing it. Sometimes they believe the government
propaganda and they dont want to be very active and struggling, that is a problem.
But I hope that the spirit of spring is there and well have another spring.
What about recruiting new members to the party?
Without any generational changes and generational development, our party will
never have success. Even Aung San Suu Kyi is now 68. Sixty-eight for the Burmese
people is too old. What we need is a younger generation.

Our policy and our principle is that well bring down our leadership level (or average
age) to 50. Up until now we could not do itour leadership level is now over 70. In
the time of Aung San, he and his friends were only about 30. We have experience,
we have history, but nowadays everybody is too old.

Lillian Cunningham reported from Burma through her participation in the East West
Centers Jefferson Fellowship.

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Myanmar leader visits Britain, may be


challenged on human rights

Sun, Jul 14 2013


By Andrew Osborn
LONDON (Reuters) - President Thein Sein, the first leader of Myanmar to visit Britain

in more than a quarter of a century, will hold talks on Monday with Prime Minister
David Cameron, who is under pressure to confront him on human rights.Sein is due
to talk trade, aid and democracy with Cameron and his ministers during a two-day

visit at a time when Myanmar is opening up its oil, gas and telecoms sectors to
foreign investors, with further liberalization likely.Sein, a former military commander,

is trying to get the West to help Myanmar's economy recover from decades of
military dictatorship, Soviet-style planning and international sanctions.Western
leaders have praised him for ending the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi, releasing some political prisoners, and allowing the opposition to contest an

election.But they want him to loosen further the military's grip on the mineral-rich
state formerly known as Burma before a 2015 presidential election which the Britisheducated Suu Kyi hopes to contest.Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, visited Britain last
year.Sein is also under pressure to act to protect Myanmar's small Muslim minority
from inter-ethnic violence."Prime Minister Cameron should not miss an important

opportunity to press Burma's president on justice for crimes against humanity


committed against the country's Muslims, the release of remaining political prisoners,

or an end to repressive laws," said New York-based Human Rights Watch.At least
237 people have been killed in Myanmar in religious violence over the past year and
about 150,000 people have been displaced. Most of the victims were Muslim and the

deadliest incidents happened in Rakhine State, where about 800,000 Rohingya


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Muslims live, according to the United Nations.Avaaz, a global campaign group, plans
a demonstration outside the British parliament on Monday, saying almost a million
people have signed a petition calling for an end to inter-ethnic violence in Myanmar.
It said the bloodshed risked escalating to become the next Rwanda - a reference to
the bloody inter-ethnic violence there in 1994 in which hundreds of thousands were
killed.A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said: "We want to recognize the
remarkable reforms of the last 18 months but also to raise at the highest levels our
ongoing

concerns,

particularly

about

inter-communal

and

anti-Muslim

violence."Britain will press Sein to improve humanitarian access, to address

accountability for crimes, and to end discrimination against the Muslim Rohingya
community, he said.Cameron visited Myanmar last year, and Sein, who remains
close to the military, this year became the first leader of his country since 1966 to

visit the White House.His British trip is thought to be the first since the late General
Ne Win, who ruled Burma for 26 years, visited in 1986.Sein is expected to visit
France afterwards.

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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'Military calls Myanmar disciplined


democracy - that's a sham'
Atul Sethi, Jul 15, 2013, 12.00AM IST http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com
U Win Tin is Myanmar's other iconic champion for democracy who has spent 20
years in prison. Freed in 2008, the 84-year-old Win Tin has worked to reorganise the

National League for Democracy which he founded with Aung San Suu Kyi. But while
the latter leader has expressed satisfaction with Myanmar's democratic reforms, Win
Tin counters former military rulers' claims of such progress. Speaking with a group of
journalists including Atul Sethi , representing the East West Centre Jefferson
Fellowship, the highly popular Win Tin discussed changes in Myanmar's polity, what

factors he thinks remain just the same - and why he continues to wear his prison

uniform, even after being freed: Myanmar's military is changing itself - isn't that a
positive development? Why are you so opposed to it?
Well, on paper, military rule may not be there in Myanmar but the government is
composed of all the former military men who have inherited the military's thinking
and philosophy - is this how a true democracy is supposed to be?

They call the present system a disciplined democracy - which is nothing but a sham.
I call it superficial democracy.
Our people have suffered for so many years. It's time we see a truly democratic
society in our country. We shouldn't settle for anything less.
But Aung San Suu Kyi has said she's willing to work with the military for democratic
changes to happen - what is your view?
I disagree with her on this. I have told her so. My contention is that the military is

outside the democratic process right now. For true change to happen, the military
should also come inside the democratic process and join democratic changes, which
they have not been willing to do.
How can true change happen if they are unwilling to change themselves?
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Meanwhile, there are provisions in the military-drafted constitution that indirectly aim
at Suu Kyi not becoming president - how do you view this?
Yes, the military has put a clause that prohibits those having foreign relatives from
becoming president. When i came out of jail in 2008, one of the first things i said
was that this constitution should be scrapped. It makes no sense and it should be
written again.
Five years ago, i had also said that i will continue wearing the blue shirt and lungi
given to prisoners because the country and its people are behind bars. I still have

the same opinion - without changing the constitution, there is no chance of real
change happening in the country.
Do you think there is a possibility the military may stop such changes and take over
totally again?
I don't think such a scenario will arise. The people will never let that happen. We
were under military rule for more than 50 years. The people had enough of it. The

generals got the message that they can't go on forever. They also saw popular
uprisings in other countries and decided to change.
However, they haven't released their grip on the country yet - about 70% of the
economy is still in their hands. But we believe that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi can win a
majority when elections happen in 2015 - last year, we won 43 of 44 seats in the byelections.

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Myanmar signs deal with Wa rebels


YANGON, July 14, 2013
Myanmars government has signed a five-point agreement with the Wa rebel group
to build mutual trust in an effort to defuse recent tensions between the armies from
the two sides, state-run media reported on Saturday.

The Kyemon daily said agreement signed on Friday includes clauses calling for

prompt meetings between the two armies whenever military issues arise and
committing the rebel United Wa State Army not to secede.
The Wa, in the countrys north, are believed to have the biggest of the ethnic
guerrilla armies, with as many as 30,000 men.They had reached a peace agreement

with Myanmars former military regime in 1989, which allowed them to exercise a
measure of autonomy even maintain a powerful armed force

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Philippines urges China: Be a 'responsible


nation'
By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated July 18, 2013 - 6:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - The verbal tussle between officials of the Philippines and China
continues with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday urging the

Asian giant to be a "responsible nation" in the West Philippine Sea dispute.In a


statement, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said China has no choice but to follow

the rule of law since the international arbitration for the case filed by the Philippines
against China on the territorial dispute is now underway.To be accepted as a
responsible nation, China has no choice. It must show to the international
community its respect for the rule of law, including the mechanism of arbitration
which is being pursued by the Philippines to clearly define respective maritime

entitlements in the South China Sea," Hernandez said.He also said China can end the
ongoing sea dispute by "defining what the core issue is.""China claims indisputable
sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea through its nine-dash line claim,

which is an excessive claim that is in gross violation of the international law, he


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said.Earlier this week, China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying accused
the Philippines of allegedly continuing "to play up the issue of the South China Sea,
distort the facts and smear China."Malacaang refused to comment on China's latest
statement, but reasserted that the country has legal basis to bring its territorial case

against China before the United Nations (UN) amid criticisms from the Asian
giant.Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda welcomed the decision of the UN
arbitration tribunal to start hearing the case of the Philippines against China on the
West Philippine Sea dispute."We have always maintained that we have legal basis to
bring the case before the arbitral tribunal. Certainly, this is a step that we welcome
and we hope that this will be resolved in an expeditious manner," Lacierda said at a
televised press briefing on Thursday.

Part of the issues that are going to be handled by the arbitral tribunal will be on
jurisdiction, according to the Palace official."Knowing that we filed it in the arbitral
tribunal, we have already anticipated that the issue on jurisdiction will be raised.
And, therefore, our lawyers, both the Solicitor General and the other lawyers

involved, are fully cognizant of that particular issue," said Lacierda.The Philippines
decided to take the legal action against China after exhausting all other means to

peacefully settle their disputes in the West Philippine Sea, part of the South China
Sea which Beijing claims is part of its historical sovereign territory.The country is

seeking to stop Chinese incursions into its exclusive economic zone in the West
Philippine Sea and to invalidate Chinas sweeping claim to the disputed waters.

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China media: Japan and islands


18 July 2013 Last updated at 10:17 GMT BBC

China and Japan have an ongoing row over disputed islands


State media accuse Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of jeopardising relations
after he warned of a heightened security risk from Beijing's "provocations".Mr Abe

made the remarks while inspecting two islets near disputed islands known as the
Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China on Wednesday."A fox's tail cannot be
hidden. Mr Abe's true face of coveting the territory of neighbouring countries and

undermining regional security and stability was exposed before the world once

again," says the People's Daily."Abe, do not play with dangerous moves," reads the
headline of a commentary in the Liberation Army Daily."Abe is making Japan more

and more like a 'rogue state'... We hope that Chinese officials keep calm and not get
caught in interaction with Abe and his ilk of showing a tough stance. A Foreign
Ministry spokesperson dealing with them should be enough," advises the Global

Times. Military Gen Luo Yuan, however, calls for unity and tougher action against
Japan."We should forge a united front with all the countries that have disputes over
islands and reefs to Japan, to safeguard the fruits of victory of World War II and co-

ordinate action. We should report Japan to the United Nations," he writes in the
Global Times.Some state newspapers, including the China Daily, continue to accuse
the Philippines of evasiveness after it said China's "hard-line position" had made it
impossible to continue bilateral talks on South China Sea territorial disputes."The
Philippine government's actions have failed to win support domestically and it also

has a possibility of being isolated in the international community. The Philippines

may want to display its 'pawn' role at times, but the US has made clear that it will
not choose sides on the South China Sea issue," the People's Daily Overseas Edition
comments.

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Media row Another key story in the mainland and Hong Kong press is China
Resources (Holdings) response to a whistle-blowing journalist who accusing the
state-run conglomerate's bosses of alleged corruption and wrongdoing "leading to

the loss of billions in state-owned assets".Wang Wenzhi, a reporter from the


Economic Information Daily, a Beijing newspaper affiliated to the official Xinhua
news agency, posted a letter on his weibo, or microblog, accusing chairman Song
Lin and other managers of deliberately paying inflated sums for "poor-quality coal

assets" in Shanxi province in 2010.In an interview with the City Express, Mr Wang
said the letter was removed without his consent. His posting also featured briefly on
many state media websites before being deleted.
"I have some more evidence on hand and I'll make it public later," Mr Wang tells the
South China Morning Post.China Resources said in a statement that it operated

strictly within national laws and regulations, and described the reports as
"conjecture, assumptions and even malicious libel". "All management activities are

conducted according to shareholder and public interest," it said in the 17 July


statement.The Global Times also discussed the case of Caijing magazine journalist
Luo Changping, whose online whistleblowing eventually brought down a former

official of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top
economic planning agency."Luo Changping set a good example. But if journalists like

Luo spring up in all media, the order of Chinese media will be changed and people's
understanding and the power of social networking sites will also be altered,"

cautions the newspaper. "Cases where journalists are active on social media sites
while the media outlets they work for remain silent should be avoided," it adds.In

other news, the South China Morning Post says the recent arrest of activist Xu
Zhiyong in Beijing is "sparking fears that the government is escalating its crackdown"

on activists who have urged officials to publically declare their assets.The Beijing
News and other newspapers are demanding a full inquiry after villagers in Chenzhou,
Hunan province, took to the streets on Wednesday to accuse urban inspectors or

"chengguan" of beating a watermelon hawker to death. Authorities angered the


villagers by ruling that the chengguan were innocent."The watermelon farmer did,

after all, die during a dispute with the chengguan. Even if his stall location did not
meet the chengguan's requirements, there was no reason to resort to force against
a 50-year-old elderly man," the Guangzhou Daily adds.
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China media accuses Japan PM of dangerous


politics
It came as Tokyo warned Beijing not to expand gas exploration in disputed waters of
the East China Sea. -Reuters
Thu, Jul 18, 2013
Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) inspects a patrol boat of the Japan Coast
Guard.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) inspects a patrol boat of the Japan Coast
Guard.
BEIJING/TOKYO - Two of China's top newspapers accused Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe on Thursday of dangerous politics that could threaten regional security,

as Tokyo warned Beijing not to expand gas exploration in disputed waters of the
East China Sea.The People's Liberation Army Daily said Abe was trying to play the

"China threat" angle, to win votes in July 21 elections, with a visit on Wednesday to
Japan's southern island of Ishigaki, near islets claimed by both China and
Japan.Territorial claims by Japan and China over the uninhabited islets and resourcerich waters in both the East China Sea and South China Sea rank as one of Asia's
biggest security risks.During the visit to Ishigaki island, Abe repeated Tokyo's stand

that the nearby disputed Senkaku islands, called the Diaoyu by China, are inherent
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Japanese territory, adding that he has no intention of conceding even one step."This
kind of 'drinking poison to slake ones thirst' not only threatens regional stability, it
gives encouragement to Japan's 'turn to the right'," said the daily.Abe wants to
revise Japan's constitution, drafted by the United States after World War Two, to

formalize the country's right to have a military. Critics say his plan could return
Japan to a socially conservative, authoritarian past.The People's Liberation Army
Daily said Abe could not have chosen a worse time to visit Ishigaki, which lies some
160 km (100 miles) from the uninhabited islets the two nations contest."You cannot

criticise a national leader for visiting his country's own territory but in a situation
where the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands is continuing and the situation is complex

and sensitive, Abe's actions are doubtless extremely dangerous and irresponsible,"
the paper, the official publication of China's military, said in a commentary.The ruling
Communist Party's official People's Daily warned that China would never allow itself

to be trampled on again, a reference to China's bitter memories of Japan's invasion


of the country ahead of and during World War Two.

In a commentary published under the pen name "Zhong Sheng", or "voice of China",
the newspaper said that Abe was looking for excuses to re-arm Japan and that the

dispute with China was a convenient way of pushing this."The aim is to create
tension and provoke incidents, to push Japan's military development," it said.Patrol

ships from both nations routinely shadow each other near the islands, raising
concerns about an unintended clash.On Thursday, three Chinese surveillance vessels
sailed into what Japan considers its territorial waters near the isles on what Beijing
said was a routine patrol.The Japan Coast Guard said the ships later left its territorial
water but remain in the contiguous area.The territorial dispute between China and

Japan was further complicated on Wednesday with news that Chinese state-run oil

companies plan to develop seven new gas fields in the East China Sea, possibly
siphoning gas from the seabed beneath waters claimed by Japan.Beijing had slowed
exploration in the energy-rich East China Sea but is now rapidly expanding its hunt

for gas, a cheaper and cleaner energy to coal and oil imports.Japanese Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yoshihide Suga said his government had asked China about the plans, first

reported by Reuters."If the Chinese side is to proceed unilaterally with development


in the area over which there are conflicting claims, Japan would never accept it,"
Suga told a regular news conference on Thursday.
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Japanese PM Abe renews claim to


disputed East China Sea islands
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 17, 2013

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his speech before officers of Japan Coast
Guard following his inspection tour on patrol ship Ishigaki in Ishigaki, southern Japan
on Wednesday, July 17, 2013. Japan's Prime Minister appealed to nationalism during a

campaign stop on Wednesday near disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying
China's increased activity in the area challenged Japan's security in territory that
Tokyo would never compromise over. -- PHOTO: AP / KYODO NEWS

TOKYO (AP) - Japan's Prime Minister appealed to nationalism during a campaign

stop on Wednesday near disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying China's
increased activity in the area challenged Japan's security in territory that Tokyo

would never compromise over.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the remarks in
Ishigaki, an island about 150km south-east of the Japanese-controlled islands called
Senkaku, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.Mr Abe is known for his hawkish

security policy and nationalistic remarks, comments that have hurt Japan's relations
with Asian neighbors."Today, we face a continuing provocation to our country's
territorial land, sea and airspace," Mr Abe said in an address to about 50 coast guard

officers during his visit to Ishigaki, where he campaigned ahead of Sunday's


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parliamentary elections.Mr Abe said incursions by Chinese ships into the area around
the disputed islands made "our country's territorial security environment an
extremely challenging one".He urged the coast guard to boost their watchfulness.Mr

Abe also took to the streets to make his campaign appeal to Ishigaki
voters."Senkaku is undoubtedly Japan's inherent territory. Clearly, there is no
territorial problem here. We will not make any compromise, not even a step, on this

matter," he said.Mr Abe made a similar address on Wednesday to soldiers stationed


on Miyako island. Tougher territorial defence has been part of the campaign

platform for Mr Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.Japan nationalised the Senkaku
Islands in September to strengthen its territorial claims, leading to a diplomatic row

between Tokyo and Beijing. Since then, official Chinese vessels have entered
Japanese-claimed waters around the islands on 52 days, according to Japan's coast

guard.With the economy showing signs of improving under Mr Abe's policies, his
party is expected to win a comfortable majority in the Upper House, allowing the
governing coalition to regain control of both houses.

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in New Delhi, India

11.07.2013 VOA


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July 17, 2013



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

https:// www.facebook.
com/media/set/?set=a.606001056110717.1073742120.121507374560090&type=1



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| July 17, 2013 | Hits:4,566





(http://burma.irrawaddy.org/archives/43925)

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God father of Heroin

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| July 8, 2013 IRRAWADDY

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Lo Hsing Han - Man dubbed


'Godfather of Heroin' dies in Myanmar
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com

Published on Jul 08, 2013


YANGON (AP) - A man dubbed the "Godfather of Heroin" by the US government

and slapped with financial sanctions for allegedly helping prop up Myanmar's brutal

former military junta through illegal business dealings died over the weekend.Lo
Hsing Han was 80 years old.His body lay in a glass coffin in the family home for a
private ceremony on Monday, a long line of relatives, senior government officials and

business leaders turning out to pay their final respects, one of the attendees told
The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of respect to the
family.For decades, Lo Hsing Han was considered one of the world's biggest
traffickers of heroin.In the 1990s, he and his son Stephen Law founded the

conglomerate Asia World, allegedly as a front for their ongoing dealings in the drug
trade, said Bertil Lintner, author of "The Golden Triangle Opium Trade: An

Overview."They quickly became two of Myanmar's most powerful business tycoons


winning contracts from the junta to run ports, build highways and oversee airport

operations.The US Department of Treasury, dubbing Lo Hsing Han the "Godfather of


Heroin", put both father and son on the financial sanctions list in 2008. Lo Hsing Han
first got involved in the drug trade in the 1960s.In exchange for heading a local

militia set up by then-dictator Ne Win to help fight local communists in the region of

Kokang, he was granted the right to traffic opium and heroin, said Mr Lintner.Thai
police arrested Lo Hsing Han in northern Thailand in 1973. He was handed over to

the Burmese government. His initial sentence of death was commuted to life in
prison, not for drug trafficking but treason. This stemmed from a brief stint with the
insurgent Shan State Army, Lintner said. In 1980, he was released as part of a

general amnesty.An obituary announcement submitted by the family in the Burmese


language Myanma Ahlin daily on Monday said his funeral would be held July 17.He is
survived by a wife, four sons, four daughters and 16 grandchildren.

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Myanmar President pledges prisoner


release, peace
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 16, 2013
LONDON (REUTERS) - The president of Myanmar promised to release all political
prisoners by the end of this year on Monday and said he thought a nationwide

ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks for the first time in six decades."By the
end of the year there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar,"President Thein
Sein told an audience at the Chatham House think tank in London. A special

committee was reviewing every political prisoner's case, he added.Mr Thein Sein,
who met Prime Minister David Cameron earlier on Monday, also said he thought a

nationwide ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks after the government signed
a peace deal aimed at ending the final ethnic conflict last month."It's possible that

there will be a nationwide ceasefire in the coming weeks," he said. "It would be the
first time in 60 years that the guns fall silent."Mr Thein Sein added that his country
didn't want to become aid dependent, but needed help to weather a transition
period and stand on its own two feet.Mr Thein Sein is on a two-day visit to Britain to
talk trade, aid and democracy before travelling on to France.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron greets the President of Myanmar Thein Sein
in Downing Street, central London on July 15, 2013.--PHOTO: REUTERS

Myanmar leader embarks on trip to London


and Paris
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 14, 2013
YANGON (AFP) - President Thein Sein left Myanmar on Sunday for a visit to Britain
and France, an official said, as the former junta general looks to build on support for

his much-lauded reforms."The president left Yangon this morning to visit Britain and
France," a government official told AFP without giving further details of the visit, Mr
Thein Sein's second trip to Europe in months.Another official earlier said the trip
would be from July 14 to 18.Mr Thein Sein visited several European countries in

March - although not Britain or France - to bolster relations.The former general has
surprised the international community by overseeing sweeping reforms since taking

the presidency in 2011.Those changes include freeing hundreds of political prisoners


and welcoming democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party into

parliament.The European Union, which had already ditched most sanctions except
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an arms embargo, has re-admitted Myanmar to its trade preference scheme, saying
it wanted to support reform in the once-pariah state through economic
development.Washington has also lifted most embargoes and foreign companies are
now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its perceived frontier market of

some 60 million potential consumers.Mr Barack Obama paid a first-ever US


presidential visit to Myanmar last November, and Mr Thein Sein visited Washington
in May.

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A 'third force' for reform in Myanmar


Civil society groups help develop solutions to challenges
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 22, 2013

Posters for sale of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her father Aung San, the

slain independence fighter, in Myanmar. Overt display of support for Ms Suu Kyi is no
longer punished. -- ST PHOTO: CHONG ZI LIANG

Until last year, the stocky, bespectacled and thinning-haired Mr Zaw Oo, now 47,
was a "dissident" who spent more than a third of his life in exile from the country of

his birth - Myanmar.Encouraged by the new government's U-turn to democracy,


however, he decided to return.With years of experience in development work,

training and analysing Myanmar, he swiftly became an adviser to President Thein

Sein and is now executive director of a think-tank called the Myanmar Development
Resource Institute (MDRI). The MDRI is an independent body that works closely with
the government, but is not financed by the state.It is one of a handful of newly
minted civil society organisations that have emerged to develop solutions to
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Myanmar's challenge - how to move from more than four decades of socialism,
military rule and civil war, to democracy and a free market economy.The Myanmar
model - think-tanks run by influential but largely apolitical civilians - may be a useful

template for other countries emerging from conflict and authoritarianism.Mr Zaw Oo
is one of possibly hundreds of well-educated citizens from the elite and middle class
who had stayed away from Myanmar during those dark years, but who have

returned to contribute to the country's latest, still-wobbly experiment with


democracy.One challenge was also the most basic: to gather accurate and
comprehensive data in a severely research- and data-deficient country. But Mr Zaw
Oo and his colleagues in the so-called "third force" - civil society organisations inside
and outside Myanmar - had an advantage: They had been training Myanmar citizens
in anticipation of just such a moment.
Said Mr Zaw Oo: "We helped the government formulate the whole reform strategy,
what we called the framework for economic and social reform. We worked with 300

senior officials from the government."We already had 500 community leaders and
NGO managers trained and we were able to tap into that network and come up with

the framework for economic and social reform."The task was to convince not only
local interest groups, including armed ethnic armies, but also the international
community which still maintained crippling economic sanctions, that the transition

was real.Frenchman Mael Raynaud, like other analysts, noted: "You have five
organisations that advise the government: Myanmar Egress and the Myanmar Peace

Centre (MPC); the National Economic and Social Advisory Council; the MDRI; the
Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and the
Yangon Heritage Trust."Mr Raynaud, who worked for Egress in 2011 and last year

and is now a Bangkok-based independent analyst, knows how instrumental they

have been in framing and pushing reforms in the absence of any experience of
transition among the military and bureaucratic leadership."Of course it is still a
military-dominated system, but civilians now also have considerable power," he
said.The Yangon Heritage Trust, for instance, was started just last year by author

and historian Thant Myint-U - grandson of U Thant, Asia's first secretary-general of

the United Nations - who once worked for the UN in conflict zones and who has also
been working quietly and behind the scenes.The MPC, meanwhile, is leading a
critical effort - engineering peace agreements with armed ethnic groups. It was set

up by international donor funds last year and is run by Mr Tin Maung Thann, who is
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also the president of Myanmar Egress, an NGO that has played a critical role in
shaping the transition agenda.Unusual times have thrown up a man with an unusual
background for such a task - the apolitical Mr Tin Maung Thann is an expert in
pisciculture, or fish-farming.

The MPC is also packed with people from non-military backgrounds, such as former
City University of Hong Kong professor Kyaw Yin Hlaing, and Mr Zaw Oo's colleague
from years of exile in Chiang Mai, Mr Aung Naing Oo.One of its challenges was to

engineer initial ceasefires with as many as 14 armed ethnic groups who have, at one
time or another, been at war with the government, and lay the ground for further
political talks."There's no reference, no precedent for this anywhere in the world. It's
like going into the jungle without a map," Mr Tin Maung Thann said.
Still, a string of ceasefire agreements was signed through last year, including a
landmark agreement with the powerful Karen National Union - the Myanmar army's

old enemy which had almost taken Yangon in 1949.The talks have been emotionally
harrowing. But it helps that many involved are from non-political backgrounds and
are capable of transcending past issues - a testament to the important role played
by the think-tanks.
The ultimate solution to the decades of ethnic conflict is a form of federalism which
will satisfy the aspirations - both nationalist and economic - of Myanmar's plethora of

ethnic groups.This is a long taboo subject for an army which for years maintained
that the country would disintegrate if its iron grip was lifted.But in yet another
significant shift, Minister Soe Thane from the President's Office said at the recent
World Economic Forum in Naypyidaw that federalism was on the cards.He told the

audience: "After the ceasefires, there will be a political dialogue, an inclusive


dialogue, then we (will get to) federalism and the sharing of power."
nirmal@sph.com.sg
Nirmal Ghosh, The Straits Times Indochina bureau chief, is one of the writers behind
Myanmar Sunrise, the newspapers first interactive e-book covering the story of the

worlds newest democracy. Bringing Myanmar to life with videos and photo essays and

covering topics from politics and economy to business and travel, it was published this
year and is available on Apples iTunes store.
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National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters, even those too young to vote, get into the
spirit of things, donning red party bandanas and T-shirts and waving party flags. Aung San
Suu Kyis party obtained an overwhelming majority of the votes in the area on April 1, 2012.
The polls saw her and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), sweep 43 of the
45 seats at stake. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

The opening of Myanmar's economy and development has seen an increasing number of
citizens embrace a modern life - including shopping - even as it maintains its traditional
culture. Shoppers in traditional longyi (extreme right) and Western-style clothing are a
common sight at places such as Junction Square Centre - a four-storey shopping centre - in
Kamayut Township, one of the most prosperous areas in Yangon. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO
XIAOBIN

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A billboard advertises a Thailand trade exhibition in April, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Mar 30,
2012. Resource-rich Myanmar is increasingly seen as a hot new business frontier as reforms
tempt investors. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Aung Min, vice-chairman of Myanmar Peacemaking committee (second from right) chats
with Lieutenant General Myint Soe of Defence Ministry (second from left), Major General
Guan Maw, deputy chief of staff of Kachin Independence Army (third from left), and other
peace keeping and UN members during tea break of their cease fire talks in Myitkyina,
Kachin State on May 28, 2013. Myanmar's government launched a fresh round of peace talks
with ethnic Kachin rebels, seeking to end a major armed conflict that has recently been
overshadowed by strife between Buddhists and Muslims in other parts of the country. -- FILE
PHOTO: AFP

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Blogger and internet freedom activist Nay Phone Latt speaks during the opening of the
Myanmar Internet Freedom Forum in Yangon on June 1, 2013. The growth of civic groups
has seen an increasing range of voices emerging in Myanmar. -- PHOTO: AFP

Activists stage a rally against a recent crackdown at Letpadaung copper mine project, outside
the city hall in Yangon, Myanmar on April 29, 2013. The crackdown had come after residents
opposed a controversial copper mine project. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

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Campaigners demand action, not words,


from Myanmar
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 16, 2013
YANGON (AFP) - Activists on Tuesday urged Myanmar President Thein Sein to "turn
his words into action" after the former general promised to free all political prisoners

by the end of the year."I guarantee to you that by the end of this year there will be
no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar," Mr Thein Sein said during a visit to

London.Pro-democracy campaigners, however, have accused the former junta


premier of using a series of headline-grabbing amnesties to win foreign aid and
investment."President Thein Sein is very good at PR but he needs to turn his words
into action," said Mr Bo Kyi of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political

Prisoners (Burma), who estimates there are still more than 150 political prisoners
behind bars.He said it would be difficult for the government to keep its promise to
release all political detainees as dozens more activists are facing trial, including

people arrested for protesting without permission."For the time being rule of law is
very weak. There are still arbitrary arrests and there is no fair trial," Mr Bo Kyi
added.The military junta which ruled for decades until 2011 had long denied the

existence of political prisoners.But hundreds of dissidents have been freed since Mr


Thein Sein took power in March 2011. Last November he announced a review of all

"politically concerned" cases.The ex-military man has been lauded by foreign


governments for reforms including welcoming democracy champion Aung San Suu
Kyi and her political party into parliament.In response the European Union has
scrapped most sanctions, except for an arms embargo, and readmitted Myanmar to
its trade preference scheme.The United States has also lifted most embargoes and

foreign companies are now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its
perceived frontier market of some 60 million potential consumers.Mr Thein Sein has

also reached tentative peace deals with the major armed ethnic minority rebel
groups, and he voiced optimism in London about ending decades of conflict."Very
possibly over the coming weeks we will have a nationwide ceasefire and the guns

will go silent everywhere in Myanmar for the very first time in over 60 years," he
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said. "Difficult talks will follow and hard compromises will need to be made. But it
must be done." Skirmishes between government troops and rebels continue,
particularly in the northern state of Kachin where the two sides have agreed to try to

calm military tensions but have yet to sign a proper ceasefire. Activists also say
human rights violations including forced labour, arbitrary arrest, detention and land
confiscation continue in areas such as eastern Karen State. "We know from our

experience that we cannot trust the Burmese Army," said Mr Htoo Ku Hsa Say of the
Karen Community Association UK, calling on Mr Thein Sein to withdraw all his troops

from the war-torn state bordering Thailand. British Prime Minister David Cameron
urged Mr Thein Sein to defend human rights during talks in London. Welcoming the
Myanmar leader on the red carpet outside his 10 Downing Street office, Mr Cameron

said he was "very pleased" to see Mr Thein Sein on his "historic visit". But Mr
Cameron added: "As well as the continuation of your reform process, we are also
very keen to see greater action in terms of promoting human rights and dealing with
regional conflicts. "We are particularly concerned about what has happened in

Rakhine province and the Rohingya Muslims." Mr Thein Sein promised to take a
"zero tolerance approach" to people who "fuel ethnic hatreds" following a recent

wave of religious bloodshed. Buddhist-Muslim clashes in the western state of


Rakhine last year left about 200 people dead, mostly Rohingya minority Muslims who
are denied citizenship by Myanmar. Sectarian strife has since spread to other parts

of the country, including central Myanmar where at least 44 people were killed in
March.

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Myanmar President pledges prisoner


release, peace
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 16, 2013
LONDON (REUTERS) - The president of Myanmar promised to release all political
prisoners by the end of this year on Monday and said he thought a nationwide

ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks for the first time in six decades."By the
end of the year there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar,"President Thein
Sein told an audience at the Chatham House think tank in London. A special

committee was reviewing every political prisoner's case, he added.Mr Thein Sein,
who met Prime Minister David Cameron earlier on Monday, also said he thought a

nationwide ceasefire was possible in the coming weeks after the government signed
a peace deal aimed at ending the final ethnic conflict last month."It's possible that

there will be a nationwide ceasefire in the coming weeks," he said. "It would be the
first time in 60 years that the guns fall silent."Mr Thein Sein added that his country
didn't want to become aid dependent, but needed help to weather a transition
period and stand on its own two feet.Mr Thein Sein is on a two-day visit to Britain to
talk trade, aid and democracy before travelling on to France.

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British PM presses Myanmar President on


human rights
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 15, 2013

President of Myanmar Thein Sein (centre left) meets with British Prime Minister David
Cameron in No. 10 Downing Street, London on Monday, July 15, 2013. Mr Cameron
on Monday urged Mr Thein Sein to defend human rights as the former junta general
made his first official visit to London. -- PHOTO: AFP
LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday urged Myanmar

President Thein Sein to defend human rights as the former junta general made his

first official visit to London.MR Cameron said he was particularly concerned by


violence targeting members of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority, in which
hundreds of people have been killed.MR Thein Sein is visiting London and Paris this

week as Myanmar continues its return from international isolation in the wake of
reforms brought in by the president since 2011.Welcoming the Myanmar leader on
the red carpet outside his 10 Downing Street office, MR Cameron said he was "very
pleased" to see MR Thein Sein on his "historic visit".But MR Cameron, who last year

became the first British prime minister to visit Myanmar, added: "As well as the
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continuation of your reform process, we are also very keen to see greater action in
terms of promoting human rights and dealing with regional conflicts."We are
particularly concerned about what has happened in Rakhine province and the

Rohingya Muslims."Buddhist-Muslim clashes in the western state of Rakhine last year


left about 200 people dead, mostly Rohingya Muslims who are denied citizenship by

Myanmar.Further clashes have erupted in recent months.Around a dozen protesters


gathered outside Downing Street during Mr Thein Sein's visit calling for action to

protect the Rohingya.But Mr Cameron followed the international community's line on


the need for economic development in particular to support reform in Myanmar."We
believe there are many areas for Britain and your country to co-operate together,

diplomatically, in terms of trade and investment, the aid and development


relationship and also our growing links in terms of our militaries," Mr Cameron
said.The British Premier did not specify what the military links were.

Since Mr Thein Sein took the presidency two years ago, the former military man has

freed hundreds of political prisoners and welcomed democracy champion Aung San
Suu Kyi and her political party into Parliament.The European Union has ditched most

sanctions except an arms embargo and readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference
scheme.The United States has also lifted most embargoes and foreign companies
are now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its perceived frontier market of
some 60 million potential consumers.

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Myanmar acts to address March attacks


The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com

Published on Jul 15, 2013

A pile of burned car tyres and human bones from the Meikhtila massacre lying in the
foreground as the local cemetery caretaker Khin Mar Cho stands nearby, in this photo
taken in May. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
By Nirmal Ghosh In Yangon

AHEAD of President Thein Sein's visit to Europe, Myanmar courts have jailed several
Buddhists who were involved in attacks on Muslims in March, and Mr Thein Sein has

abolished the Na Sa Ka, or border security police, blamed for many human rights abuses of
minorities in western Rakhine state.Analysts such as Yangon- based Mr Richard Horsey

said the moves may blunt some of the criticisms levelled at the reformist President
by overseas human rights groups, which have been lobbying the British government
to pressure him on human rights during his visit to London this week.Mr Thein Sein
left for London and Paris yesterday on a four-day trip, the first time he is visiting
Britain and France.Analysts also saw the developments as following up on the
President's pledges to be even-handed in addressing anti- Muslim violence that has
rocked parts of the country and dented its international image.Mr Horsey said the

jailing of the Buddhists late last week was a positive step. Anti-Muslim violence in
Meikhtila in March left 40 people dead, most of them local Muslims. More than 2,000
homes were destroyed and well over 12,000 Muslims had to flee to guarded
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government shelters.Jail sentences were first meted out to Muslims, which appeared
to indicate bias on the part of the authorities and the courts."Most of the victims
were Muslims, and the majority of those arrested were Buddhists, yet until now only
Muslims have been jailed," Mr Horsey noted."The jailing of Buddhist perpetrators of

these crimes is crucial in ensuring there is justice, and in ending any sense of
impunity that may exist among violent extremists," he added.Last Friday, a

presidential notification abolished the Na Sa Ka with immediate effect. The Na Sa Ka,


drawn from the army, police, Customs and immigration departments, is responsible
for security and immigration control in Rakhine state bordering Bangladesh.It is
notorious for corruption and rights abuses of immigrants and minorities like the
Rohingya Muslims.

"This is very positive," Mr Horsey said. "This was the agency that imposed marriage
and 'two-child' restrictions on Muslims in Rakhine state. Although it cannot be taken

for granted that another agency won't step forward to do this, no other existing
agency will have the power and the reach of the Na Sa Ka."Last Saturday, Mr Thein

Sein met members of an inter-faith dialogue committee set up amid attacks on

Muslims in March.The group is part of a broad effort by Myanmar civil society,


including Buddhists, to push back against anti-Muslim extremism, which could

seriously destabilise the country and endanger its barely two-year-old transition to
democracy after over four decades of military rule.Speaking to committee members,
Mr Thein Sein said: "Our country has seen many ethnic and religious conflicts in its

long history. Yet, we also have a record of tolerance among people with different
ethnic and religious backgrounds..."We will do everything we can to help victims of

extremist acts - including heal their emotional wounds. We will also work with all
community and religious groups to accelerate our efforts to create a democratic and
united country."At least 20 Buddhists and two Muslims were sentenced to jail last

week, according to media reports. More will be sentenced in the coming days, they
added.
nirmal@sph.com.sg

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Anti-Muslim riots haunt shattered Myanmar city


The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com

Published on Jul 08, 2013

This picture taken on June 4, 2013 shows the burnt pages of religious books scattered
across the remains of a small madrassa on the outskirts of riot-hit Meiktila, central
Myanmar. A mob of thugs ordered Kyaw (not his real name) not to look as they killed

his classmates, but the terrified teenager still caught glimpses of the merciless
beatings as a wave of anti-Muslim killing engulfed his school town, leaving dozens
dead. --PHOTO: AFP

MEIKTILA (AFP) - The thugs ordered Kyaw not to look as they killed his classmates,
but the terrified teenager still caught glimpses of the merciless beatings as a wave of
anti-Muslim killing engulfed his school town in central Myanmar, leaving dozens
dead."They used steel chains, sticks and knives... there were hundreds of people.

They beat anyone who tried to look at them," the 16-year-old said.Kyaw's small

madrassa (Islamic school) on the outskirts of Meiktila town was razed during
sectarian bloodshed in March that triggered an outbreak of Buddhist-Muslim violence
across the country.Officially 44 people were killed - although some fear the toll was

much higher - and thousands were left homeless.Kyaw, whose name was changed
to protect his identity, escaped serious injury, but his school friends - who he saw as
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"brothers" - were not so fortunate."Five students from my class were killed," he said,
with a quiet precision belying his haunted expression.March 20 began as usual for
the students, who traded jokes as they gathered in the school's mosque. But by

afternoon the centre of town was already seething after an argument in a gold shop
and the brutal murder of a Buddhist monk.
As word spread that Muslim areas were being torched, the students took shelter in
nearby undergrowth, hiding overnight as a mob descended and set the school
alight.The next morning, security personnel evacuated local Muslims. Kyaw and his

friends were marched through a hostile crowd which hit them with stones and sticks.
A few students retaliated. Some strayed or were pulled out and set upon.

The horrors that followed have been pieced together by rights group Physicians for
Human Rights who, quoting eyewitnesses, described a Buddhist mob - including men

in monks' robes - hunting down and killing some 20 students and four

teachers.Witnesses recounted seeing one pupil being decapitated and several being
burned alive, according to a May report by the US-based group.Graphic video

footage by activists shows an embankment next to the school turned into a killing
ground.In one sequence, a man is chased out of the undergrowth by an armed
mob.One man hits him so hard with a wooden pole that the weapon snaps in two

before a robed monk joins the savage beating.Several more videos show charred
corpses dumped in hastily-made pyres."When I arrived there I saw piles of bodies
still burning," said local Buddhist political activist Myint Myint Aye, adding that she
believes the death toll was closer to 100.She said residents were swept up in the

rioting, with a huge crowd cheering and clapping the demolition of Muslim
shops.But, like other observers, she believes the violence was manipulated, perhaps
by Buddhist hardliners using hired thugs - a practice widely suspected during the

former junta rule."If it was only people from Meiktila it would not have been that
bad," she said. "In just a day and a half, everything had been destroyed."Attacks
against Muslims - who make up an estimated four per cent of Myanmar's population

- have exposed deep fractures in the Buddhist-majority nation and cast a shadow
over its emergence from army rule.Security forces have been accused of being slow
to stop the killing."Killers and robbers are criminals - (police) have duties to stop
them or to arrest them," said lawyer Thein Than Oo, a Buddhist who has acted on
behalf of some Muslim men jailed in May for their part in the monk killing that
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sparked the Meiktila unrest."They said they have no order to interfere. So even the
children were brutally killed at Meiktila," he said.At least ten Muslims have been
convicted of serious offences in relation to the unrest. Two Buddhists have so far

been found guilty of murder over the violence.Families of the Muslim victims are too
afraid to pursue the police over the whereabouts of their loved ones, according to

activists who say bodies of the victims were removed and burned by the authorities
without being identified.State media recently said 49 people were on trial for murder
with scores more facing court for their roles in the unrest.

"Both sides have been prosecuted," government spokesman Ye Htut said, without
giving further comment.But rights groups insist the official response has been

grossly inadequate."The message of impunity is shocking," said PHR report author

Holly Atkinson."In less than 48 hours they were able to drive... 30,000 people out of
Meiktila. There are basically no Muslims in Meiktila."Despite repeated requests,
Meiktila police refused to comment.Buddhist-Muslim clashes first erupted in the

western state of Rakhine last year, leaving about 200 people dead, mostly minority
Muslim Rohingya who are denied citizenship by Myanmar.Some robed monks -

revered in the country and who were at the forefront of past democracy campaigns have taken part in the clashes."If there are monks who incite such harm, arson or

murder... I boldly say that they are wrong," said Buddhist clergyman Sein Ni Ta, who
was part of cross-faith relief efforts after what he termed a "systematic massacre" in
Meiktila.
Senior monks urged peace after talks on the violence in June. But the meeting was

used by radical cleric Wirathu - who has campaigned for a boycott of Muslim shops as a platform to call for restrictions on marriages between Buddhist women and men
from other faiths.Blaming "Muslim extremists", he said Buddhists were provoked "to

commit arson, destroy shops and to set fire to mosques."Meiktila remains under a
state of emergency. Life for local Buddhists has assumed some semblance of
normality, but fear shudders beneath the surface.Kyaw, who is back with his family

in another part of Myanmar, struggles to sleep and is receiving counselling after his
ordeal.Little remains of his Meiktila school - just a few scorched books among the
rubble.

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Thein Sein takes issue with Time


magazine report
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com

Published on Jul 03, 2013

Time magazine's story created misconceptions about Buddhism, said President Thein
Sein. -- PHOTO: AP
By Nirmal Ghosh

IN A radio address, Myanmar's President Thein Sein said Time magazine, in its

recent issue on the country, has created "misconceptions" about Buddhism by


"depicting a few individuals who are acting contrary to most Myanmar people".It was

his first mention of a controversy after the publication of the July 1 issue of the
magazine - since banned - that carried the headline "The Face of Buddhist Terror"
across a cover photograph of the monk Ashin Wirathu, known for his inflammatory
anti-Muslim views.The magazine's cover, more than the article's content, drew many
hundreds onto the streets and thousands to the Internet in Buddhist-majority

Myanmar in angry condemnations of Time and the reporter who wrote the piece.The
issue was also banned yesterday in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, which similar to
Myanmar, has seen Buddhist supremacist monks target minority Muslims with
incendiary hate speech.Mr Thein Sein, in his monthly radio address yesterday, an
English translation of which was posted on his official website, said: "My government
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accepts that as the country takes its initial steps towards democracy, there may be
different points of view expressed by sections of the public and national and
international media."He added: "However I strongly believe that the right of

freedom of expression should be exercised in light of the prevailing delicate political


dynamics and for a constructive purpose."The President also addressed the anti-

Muslim violence in general, and mentioned recent violence between Buddhist and
Muslim Myanmar citizens in Malaysia.He said his country would act against those
who spread fear and deepen hatred between groups and communities of different

beliefs.Over the past year, anti-Muslim violence, which began in Rakhine state where
minority Rohingya Muslims are seen as illegal immigrants out to grab the state, has

spread to central Myanmar.Many observers believe hardliners who feel threatened


by rapid reforms are trying to embarrass the President by manipulating the majority
to vent their anger on minority groups.
nirmal@sph.com.sg

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Hate speech testing Myanmar democracy


Govt mulls over how to deal with online vitriol amid
ongoing tensions
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 02, 2013

Buddhist monks and others demonstrating against Time magazine in Yangon on


Sunday, over its recent cover story on Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who is known

for his anti-Muslim campaigning. The story was headlined "The Face of Buddhist
Terror". -- PHOTO: REUTERS

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Deputy Minister for Information Ye Htut has rejected claims of political conspiracy
behind the anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

US Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell says that Myanmar's internal strife has
hindered the country's development. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
By Nirmal Ghosh In Bangkok
IN AN age of an abrupt new openness after decades of repression, the line between
freedom of speech and human rights is blurred in Myanmar, injecting a dangerous

volatility into even commonplace incidents."People cannot differentiate between


freedom of speech and human rights. They think they can say what they like,"
prominent monk Ashin Dhammapiya said at a conference on hate speech in Yangon
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last Friday.The government is also mulling over how to cope with a flood of chatter,
propaganda and hate speech on the Internet, in the midst of ongoing tension and
violence

fuelled

by

Buddhist

supremacist

monks

campaigning

against

Muslims.Deputy Minister for Information Ye Htut, a former army officer, said at the
conference that half of Myanmar's approximately 800,000 Facebook accounts had

been set up under fake names.The phenomenon is a carry-over from decades in


which anonymous rumours were the most potent force in an environment where
there was little or no room for open expression and information."Small criminal cases
(could turn into) religious riots when people turn to social media to put out wild
rumours and accusations," Mr Ye Htut said at the one-day conference, organised by

the US Embassy, titled Preventing Hate Speech In Myanmar: Divergent Voices In A


New Democracy.Rejecting claims of political conspiracy behind the anti-Muslim
violence that has rocked Myanmar and underlined the fragility of its latest

experiment with democracy, he added: "As far as we know, this is happening


naturally, not by those behind the scenes. People are spreading gunpowder on
Facebook."
The Internet's penetration in the country of around 60 million is only 7 per cent. But
it is set to increase rapidly. This creates a problem in a culture in which many are
not used to the Internet and accept whatever they read or see on it as fact.Figuring

out limits to freedom and navigating propaganda could spell the difference between
a genuinely democratic and secular Myanmar, and a country where authoritarianism
of the majority Burman Buddhists replaces military authoritarianism, analysts say.

In violence over the past year, more than 140,000 people - mostly minority Muslim
Rohingya - have been driven from their homes in Rakhine state and now live
precariously in flimsy camps. The majority Rakhine Buddhists also suffered, but the

Rohingya bore the brunt: Well over 100 were killed, mostly in June and October last
year, in some cases by clearly organised Rakhine mobs.Subsequently in March, antiMuslim violence that had apparently been organised killed dozens and drove
thousands from their homes in central Myanmar.The Internet and social media have

been used by extremists to drum up suspicion, fear and hatred.Buddhist supremacist


monks have been campaigning against Muslims, and video recordings of their
sermons are readily available on the Internet.A storm of abuse and threats on the

Internet has been directed at Time magazine for placing an image of the Buddhist
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monk Ashin Wirathu, well known for his inflammatory anti-Muslim campaigning, on
its cover with the headline "The Face of Buddhist Terror". The government has
banned the issue.At a separate conference last Thursday also in Yangon, attended
by some 2,000 people, monks endorsed a call to ban Buddhist-Muslim
marriages.They said Buddhist women were being tricked into marrying Muslim men
and forced to convert, and thus Islam was being spread and becoming a threat to

Buddhism.The monks distributed a 97-page booklet containing, among other things,


a transcript of an interview with a Buddhist woman who was apparently tricked into
marrying a Muslim man.At last Friday's conference, US Ambassador to Myanmar
Derek Mitchell said: "This country, for too long, has been at war with itself. For

decades, the talk has been one of 'enemies within'. This attitude has been a major
cause of this country's underdevelopment."In many ways... the sense of fear and

insecurity here is fundamental to what it is to be Myanmar based as they are on


concerns about geography, demographics, or ethnic and cultural differences."
But when fear and insecurity dominated a society, Mr Mitchell said, "it leads nowhere
good, it is in fact dangerous".
nirmal@sph.com.sg

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Muslims trapped in ghetto after clashes in


Myanmar
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 01, 2013

In this May 15, 2013 photo, internally displaced Muslim people take shelter in a
building which belongs to a mosque in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine state,
Myanmar. A year after Buddhist-Muslim violence tore through Myanmar, the fury of
religious pogroms has hardened into an officially sanctioned sectarian divide, a foray

into apartheid-style policies that has turned the Aung Mingalar neighbourhood into a
prison for Sittwe's Muslims and threatens Myanmar's fragile transition to democracy.
-- PHOTO: AP

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SITTWE, Myanmar (AP) From inside the neighbourhood that has become their
prison, they can look over the walls and fences and into a living city.
Stores are open out there. Sidewalk restaurants are serving bottles of Mandalay
beer. There are no barbed-wire roadblocks marking neighbourhood boundaries, no
armed policemen guarding checkpoints. In the rest of Sittwe, this city of 200,000
people along Myanmars coast, no one pays a bribe to take a sick baby to the

doctor.But here its different.Aung Mingalar is just a few square blocks. You can walk
it in 10 minutes, stopping only when you come to the end of the road 7/8 any road
and a policeman with an assault rifle waves you back inside, back into a maze of

shuttered storefronts, unemployment and boredom.In the evenings, when bats fly
through the twilight, the men gather for prayers at Aung Mingalars main mosque,

the one that wasnt destroyed in last years violence.Mr Zahad Tuson is among them.
He had spent his life pedaling fares around this state capital, a fraying town, built by

British colonials, full of bureaucrats and monsoon-battered concrete buildings. Now


his bicycle rickshaw sits at home unused. He hasnt left Aung Mingalar in nearly a

year.We could go out whenever we wanted! he says. His voice is a mixture of


anger and wonder.What has caused this place to become a ghetto that no one can
leave and few can enter? A basic fact: Aung Mingalar is a Muslim neighbourhood.A
year after sectarian violence tore through Myanmar, the fury of religious pogroms

has hardened into an officially sanctioned sectarian divide, a foray into apartheid-

style policies that has turned Aung Mingalar into a prison for Sittwes Muslims and
that threatens this countrys fragile transition to democracy.
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Muslims, Mr Tuson says, are not welcome in todays Myanmar.Its simple, he says:
They want us gone.For generations, Aung Mingalar existed as just another tangle
of streets and alleys in the heart of Sittwe. It was a Muslim quarter; everybody knew
that. But the distinction seldom meant much.Until suddenly it meant everything.Last
year, violence twice erupted between two ethnic groups in this part of Myanmar: the

Rakhine, who are Buddhist, and a Muslim minority known as the Rohingya. While
carnage was widespread on both sides of the religious divide, it was Muslims who
suffered most, and who continue to suffer badly more than a year later.Across

Rakhine state, more than 200 people were killed, 70 percent of them Muslim. In
Sittwe, where Muslims were once almost half the population, five of the six Muslim
neighbourhoods were destroyed. Over 135,000 people remain homeless in Rakhine
state, the vast majority of them Muslims forced into bamboo refugee camps that
smell of dust and wood smoke and too many people living too close together.

The troubles here were, at least initially, driven by ethnicity as much as religion. To

the Rakhine, who dominate this state, as well as to Myanmars central government,
the Rohingya are here illegally, Bengalis whose families slipped across the nearby
border from what is now Bangladesh. Historians say Rohingya have been here for

centuries, though many did come more recently. Their modern history has been a

litany of oppression: the riots of 1942, the mass expulsions of 1978, the citizenship
laws of 1982.What started with the Rohingya has evolved into a broader anti-Muslim
movement, helping ignite a series of attacks across Myanmar from Meikhtila in the

countrys centre, where Buddhist mobs beat dozens of Muslim students to death in
March, to Lashio near the Chinese border, where Buddhist men swarmed through
the city burning scores of Muslim-owned stores in May.The violence is about religion

and ethnicity, but also about what happens when decades of military rule begin
giving way in the nation once known as Burma, and old political equations are
clouded by the complexities of democracy.In 2010, political change finally came to
Myanmar, a profoundly isolated nation long ruled by a series of mysterious

generals.Opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from
house imprisonment. National elections were held.

Former political prisoners

became politicians.Amid the tumult and with the military still wielding immense
power behind the scenes old animosities and new politicians flourished. Ethnic
groups formed powerful regional parties. Buddhist nationalists, with a deep-seated
suspicion of Muslims, moved from the fringes into the mainstream.
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Political frustration fed on economic frustration, with millions of poor rural residents
flocking to Myanmars cities only to find continued poverty in ever-growing slums. In
a country that is about 90 percent Buddhist, Myanmars Muslims, who number as

little as 4 percent of the population, became political bogeymen.Mr U Shwe Maung, a


top official with the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, the states most
powerful party, will tell you about the problems with the Rohingya: They have too
many children, they are angling for political clout, they claim to be citizens.We are

not willing to live with them, the one-time high-school English teacher says in his
quiet voice. Hes an avuncular man, friendly and unfailingly polite. They want to
Muslimise this land. They want power.
Anti-Muslim sentiment has been magnified by an increasingly virulent strain of
Buddhist nationalism, as a once-obscure group of monks nurtures populist fears of a
growing Muslim threat. Muslims are criminals, they say, a poison driving up land
prices and pushing aside the Buddhist working class.Crowds pack monasteries and

prayer halls to hear the monks speeches. Recordings are sold in sidewalk stalls
along Myanmars streets.They will destroy our country, our religion, our people.
They will destroy the next-generation Buddhist women, since their aim is to mix their

blood with ours, a popular monk, Ashin Tayzaw Thar Ra, said in a speech earlier
this year. Soon, Buddhists will have to worship in silence and fear.

In Aung Mingalar, they know all about fear.The neighbourhood is where Maung
Than Win once served hundreds of meals a day at the little restaurant his father had
opened, and where residents gathered at the Chat Cafe to gossip in the cool of

twilight. It is where dozens of boys showed up every day for classes at Hafeez
Skees Islamic school, but most children attended secular schools.It was widely seen
as the wealthiest of Sittwes Muslim neighbourhoods, but it was hardly an island of

economic isolation. It was a place where day labourers built thatch huts for
themselves, and rich businessmen, their fortunes often made on small fleets of
wooden fishing boats that troll the Bay of Bengal, built sprawling houses covered in
shiny green tiles. A few families farmed gardens of watercress in a swampy area

between some of the alleys. The main streets, once brick or cobblestone, had turned
to dirt over the years.My grandfather was from Aung Mingalar. My father was from
Aung Mingalar. Im from Aung Mingalar, says Mr Win, his teeth stained red from

years of chewing betel nuts. At 32, he has spent nearly his entire life working at his
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restaurant, the Love Tea Shop. It filled with people every day, particularly after
prayers at the mosque. I just want to stay as long as I can.Not that everything
was perfect. Buddhist and Muslim residents of Sittwe agree at least on that.There

were fights, though they tended to be just one person against another. In the last
sectarian violence, in 2001, only one person died in Sittwe. The last widespread
bloodshed was during World War II, when the Rohingya backed the British colonial

forces and the Rakhine supported the Japanese. Hundreds of people were killed.I
had heard about the troubles then, says Ferus Ahmad, a pharmacist. We thought
something like this could never happen again.
But it did. It began last year on May 28, with the rape and murder of a Buddhist
woman by a group of Rohingya men in a village a few hours from here. Days later, a

bus carrying Muslim travellers was surrounded by a Buddhist mob and 10 Muslims
were killed. Five days after that, Rohingya mobs attacked Rakhine near the
Bangladesh border. Its unclear how many people died.With fear spiraling on both
sides, trouble came to Sittwe. Over five days, Rakhine and Rohingya mobs battled

one another. By the end, hundreds of Rakhine homes had been destroyed, as had

nearly every Rohingya neighborhood. Today, other than Aung Mingalar, Muslim
Sittwe is little more than destroyed mosques and once-crowded communities grown
over with grass and weeds, completely empty of residents.During the street battles,

the women and children of Aung Mingalar were put into a mosque for safety, while
the men protected the neighbourhoods edges. Then something unusual happened:
The security forces arrived to help.

Across Myanmar, the army and the police have done little to protect Muslims
through a year of violence, and rights groups say they have often joined in the
attacks. Its still unclear why it was different in Aung Mingalar.But while they arrived
as protectors, those soldiers soon became jailers. Today, the security forces enforce

the official ghetto.And the dominant story line remains: Not only did Muslims never
need protection from Buddhists, but they destroyed their own neighbourhoods.The

Bengalis lit their own houses on fire, because they knew they would get another
house in the refugee camps, says U Win Myaing, the Rakhine state assistant

director for communications. Plus, they thought the fires would spread to Rakhine
areas and burn those houses down.

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Increasingly, such stories about Muslims are believed across Myanmar.


Today, Aung Mingalar is consuming itself.House after wooden house has been torn

down for firewood. The dead, who can no longer be taken out to the Muslim
cemetery, are buried behind the mosque. Food, which comes from occasional

government handouts and the twice-weekly markets some residents can attend, is
scarce and expensive.There are no stores left open, just a few food stalls and a
makeshift pharmacy that sells laxatives and herbal headache medicine.There are
also few heroes. Residents say wealthy Rohingya have bought land from poorer or

more desperate neighbours. While the authorities occasionally allow some Rohingya
into the neighbourhood to sell supplies, they charge double what customers pay on
the outside.
People arent competing with each other, says Mr Win, the tea shop owner, but
they are not working together either. Officials refuse to say when or if Aung
Mingalar will be allowed to rejoin the rest of Sittwe.There is one way to get out. The

bribe to pass the checkpoints is 10,000 kyats (about S$13) each way, according to

current and former residents. Thats a lot of money here, but plenty of people are
paying it. While no one is sure of the neighbourhoods size aid workers say it was
probably about 4,000 before the violence its now dropping fast.When everything

they have is gone, people just want to leave, Mr Win says.Thousands have left
Myanmar, paying smugglers to slip them into Malaysia or Thailand. But most head to

the refugee camps outside towns, endless rows of bamboo shelters filled with
Rohingya. Many of the camps are restricted areas residents are not allowed to

come and go as they wish but most are also large enough to have their own
economies.Across Myanmar, many Muslims are now more closed-off than they once
were, barricading their neighbourhoods at night against possible attackers. But so

far, at least, Aung Mingalar is the only sealed ghetto.Mr Ahmad, the pharmacist,
lived in Aung Mingalar for 38 years. Until the violence of 2012, he owned a
pharmacy in Sittwes main market, a warren of shops near the port. But soon after
the trouble started, Aung Mingalar was sealed and Mr Ahmad couldnt get to his

shop. The medicines expired. His customers went elsewhere. The shop has been
closed for months.Mr Ahmad wonders at what has happened to his country. The
2010 transition was supposed to bring change, but hes seen nothing to encourage
him.We now have a president, a government, says Mr Ahmad, his button-down
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shirt faded from so many washings. But its like there is no ruler. For many like
him, the main sustenance now is memories. That is what keeps Mr Ahmad going.A
couple of times a week, back when things were good, Mr Ahmad would close his
pharmacy, pick up his wife and two children at home and head to the Sittwe beach,

barely a mile away. Now, only Rakhine are allowed at the beach and Mr Ahmad has

left the neighbourhood where he grew up. His family is still there, but he has moved
to the refugee camps, where he seeks work and tries to remember what normal felt
like.

Wed just walk along the beach, he says of those family outings. I dream about

that sometimes.

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Myanmar authorities 'not behind' religious


unrest: Government
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 28, 2013

File picture of young Myanmar Muslim Rohingya refugees playing outside their house
in Kuala Lumpur. Secretarian bloodshed between majority Buddhists and minority
Muslims erupted in Myanmar a year ago, leaving about 200 people dead, up to
140,000 homeless, and raising fears of wider instability in the region as refugees flee
the country. --PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's government and army were not behind recent
outbreaks of deadly religious violence, the president's spokesman said Friday, amid

accusations that security forces stood by - or were even complicit - in the


clashes.Sectarian bloodshed, mostly targeting Muslims, has laid bare deep divides

that were largely suppressed under decades of military rule which ended two years

ago in the Buddhist-majority country.Rights groups have criticised the police and
army for failing to stop mobs attacking mainly Muslim neighbourhoods in two
separate flare-ups of unrest in western and central Myanmar.The speed of the
destruction, coupled with eyewitness reports of investigators arriving to spark
violence, also led to speculation it was organised by elements within Myanmar's
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military intent on disrupting the reform process."There has been some speculation
about who is behind the conflict," said president's office spokesman Ye
Htut."However, I would like to say firmly, at this point, that it's completely false that
the government is behind this and that the military carried out what happened," he

said."In reality the first ones who get the headache of solving the problem are the
government and the military."Monks have also been accused of involvement in the
clashes. Eyewitnesses have said people dressed in monks' robes were among angry

mobs who destroyed houses and mosques. Radical monks have led a campaign to
shun shops owned by Muslims, but senior monks have accused foreign media of
one-sided reporting of the Buddhist-Muslim conflict.Speaking at a US Embassy event

on the tensions, Ye Htut said that sweeping economic and political reforms were for
the benefit of the whole country."There is no reason to leave a certain group or a
religion or a ethnic group behind... as long as we leave someone behind in a human

society our problems can never be solved."In March at least 44 people were killed in
sectarian strife in central Myanmar and thousands of homes were set ablaze.

Communal unrest last year in the western state of Rakhine left about 200 people
dead and 140,000 displaced, mainly Rohingya Muslims.

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Myanmar's telecoms tender shows up


tensions
Parliament at odds with government over need for
protectionist measures
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 01, 2013

A man speaking on a telephone in Yangon. Myanmar's move to open up its largely


untapped telecoms sector to foreign firms is likely to speed up infrastructure
development and boost cellphone penetration. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
By Nirmal Ghosh In Bangkok

THE issuing of 15-year telecommunications licences last week in the virtually


untapped Myanmar market, to Norway's Telenor Group and Qatar's Ooredoo, was
widely welcomed for the effect that greater mobile phone penetration will have on
people's lives in one of Asia's poorest nations. Another bidder, France Telecom's

Orange, in partnership with Japan's Marubeni Communications, was named as a


backup candidate in case either winner failed to meet "post-selection requirements".

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Still, observers say the contract awards have revealed some facets of doing business
in a country that is just starting to open up its doors - not all welcome. The good

news is that the bidding process was widely lauded for its transparency. Also,
Telenor and Ooredoo won their bids as sole operators with no local partners - seen
as a major plus as they can avoid working with Myanmar firms that might be
considered cronies of the military.

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Myanmar telecom deal with Qatar firm


sparks ire
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 28, 2013

File photo of Qatar Telecom Ooredoo company's head office in Doha. Norway's
Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo won licences to provide telecommunications services in
Myanmar, bringing foreign companies across one of the world's last telecoms
frontiers. --PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (AP) - Religious tensions engulfing Myanmar spread Friday to the world of

big business: Monks and others in the Buddhist-dominated country demanded to


know why a lucrative license for a new national mobile phone network had gone to a

company from a Muslim nation.Currently 7.3 million of Myanmar's 60 million people


have access to mobile phones, making it one of the least connected countries in the
world, according to government statistics seen Friday. Eager to push that number to

45 million by 2015, the former military-run nation decided to loosen its grip on the

industry and award licenses to build and operate mobile networks.Norway's Telenor
was widely seen as a favourite and there was little surprise that it was one of the
two winners announced Thursday.But Ooredoo of Qatar, formerly known as Qatar
Telecom, was a surprise to some.

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SingTel, Yoma lose out in race for Myanmar


telecoms licences
By Fiona Chan Senior Economics Correspondent
Jun 28, 2013,

A SingTel billboard in Yangon. SingTel and Yoma were on the final list of 12

companies shortlisted from more than 90 firms and consortia for the telecoms
licences, which were won by Norway's Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo. -- PHOTO:
REUTERS

THE two Singapore firms in the race for Myanmar's highly coveted telecommunications licences
failed to make it across the finish line yesterday.SingTel, Singapore's largest telco, and

Yoma Strategic Holdings, a Singapore-listed company focused on Myanmar


operations, both lost in the contest for two 15-year licences to operate telecoms
services in Myanmar.Instead, Norway's Telenor and Qatar's Ooredoo, formerly Qatar
Telecom, will be the first foreign companies to enter one of the world's last virtually
untapped mobile phone markets.France Telecom's Orange, which tied up with

Japan's Marubeni Corporation, was named as a back-up in case either of the winners
fails to fulfil the post-selection requirements.

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Myanmar's telecom race enters final stretch


Jun 26, 2013

A man uses a roadside telephone facility in Yangon, Myanmar on June 24, 2013.
Foreign companies will tap into one of the world's final telecom frontiers on Thursday
when Myanmar hands out licences to operate two new mobile phone networks - part
of efforts by the long-isolated nation to use technology to spur economic
development. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Foreign companies will tap into one of the world's final

telecom frontiers on Thursday when Myanmar hands out licences to operate two
new mobile phone networks - part of efforts by the long-isolated nation to use
technology to spur economic development.Currently, less than 6 million of country's

60 million people have mobile phones, putting it on par with North Korea when it
comes to connectivity. The government hopes it will be able to push mobile phone
usage rates to 80 per cent within three years by releasing its grip on the

industry.Those are the kinds of numbers that have left international telecom

consortiums salivating.Of the 90 that initially submitted bids, 11 have been


shortlisted including Singapore Telecommunications, Bharti Airtel of India, KDDI
Corporation of Japan, Telenor of Norway and Digicel of the Caribbean - some
opening offices and even recruiting staff in gleeful anticipation of the announcement.

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Myanmar to renegotiate huge resource


deals: Think tank
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 25, 2013

A man carries baskets filled with logs of wood past a construction site in Naypyidaw,
Myanmar, on Friday, June 7, 2013. The Myanmar government plans to renegotiate
billions of dollars of natural resource deals as it imposes tougher environmental

standards and clamps down on corruption, a leading US think tank said. -- FILE
PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - The Myanmar government plans to renegotiate billions of


dollars of natural resource deals as it imposes tougher environmental standards and

clamps down on corruption, a leading US think tank said.The country's powerful


military and Chinese firms could be most affected by the move as the government

pursues a radical reform agenda, turning away from decades of junta rule, according
to the Asia Society.Myanmar has huge reserves of resources - ranging from
petroleum to tin, timber and precious gems - which have become notorious for
corruption and crony capitalism."Apparently, the government is preparing to
renegotiate all previously agreed-upon projects to ensure that appropriate

safeguards are in place and to subject future projects to stricter social and
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environmental controls," said a report on Monday by the society, which has worked
closely with the old junta and new government.Chinese firms dominate the foreign
presence in Myanmar and could suffer."Contracts negotiated with the former

government need to be reviewed as the new government enacts new policies and
signs on to new international standards, so I don't think anyone is immune to that

approach," Suzanne DiMaggio, an Asia Society vice-president and co-author of the


report, told AFP.Ms DiMaggio said the value of the deals was probably in the billions
of dollars, an estimate agreed by other experts dealing with Myanmar.

The halting of the Chinese-backed Myitesone Dam in Kachin state in 2011 was "the
first bell indicating that the rules would be changing," said Ms DiMaggio."Now with

the development of new investment laws, we should expect that momentum to

continue."Myanmar is a candidate to join the Extractive Industries Transparency


Initiative, which seeks to set international standards in countries with major resource
revenues.Since the dam was halted, the government has faced new controversy
over a Chinese-backed copper mine development near Monywa in northern Myanmar

where there were clashes between security forces and local people last year.The
Asia Society said the government will have to work with local communities to make
sure all share from the resource profits.It also said the government would have to
take tougher action to reduce the military clout in the economy and political life.

Despite the change of government to a nominally civilian administration, "large

military companies maintain access to the lion's share of the country's resources
and, along with a handful of crony businessmen, dominate the economy.""Until the
military can be removed from its economic domination of the country, both political

reconciliation with minority nationalities and economic development are likely to


remain elusive," the report warned.The report which set out 10 key obstacles faced
by President Thein Sein's reforming administration, also said that rooting out
corruption would be essential.Ms DiMaggio said the creation of a state anti-

corruption committee was an important first step but it would take time to end the
corruption and crony capitalism."Breaking down those structures, it is not going to
happen overnight and I think that is one of the reasons why investors are cautious,"

she said.Ms DiMaggio said there was still vital momentum behind the government
reforms but that it was crucial that they start producing results for the vast majority
of the 55 million population who still live in "abject poverty."
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Myanmar Kachin rebel clashes continue


despite agreement
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 23, 2013

A peace activist with painted face symbolising a victim of the civil war between the
ethnic Kachin fighters and Myanmar government security forces participates in a
peace march marking the second anniversary of the resumption of the fighting

between Kachin rebels and government forces in Myanmar's northern Kachin state, in
Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, June 9, 2013. The 17-year old ceasefire broke down in
northern Kachin estate in June 2011, displacing thousands, injuring and killing
hundreds more. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
YANGON (AP) - Myanmar troops have clashed with ethnic Kachin rebels more than
20 times since signing an agreement last month to de-escalate fighting, a

spokesman for the Kachin armed forces said on Sunday, questioning the
government's commitment to the peace process."We cannot build trust just by

holding talks," Mr La Nan of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) said in an e-mail
reply to The Associated Press."It is necessary to have a firm commitment to resolve
this through a political dialogue."There was no immediate response from the
government.Myanmar for decades has faced rebellions from several ethnic groups

seeking autonomy. The KIA is the only major rebel group that has not reached a
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ceasefire agreement with the government of President Thein Sein, who came to
power in 2011 after almost five decades of harsh military rule.In their latest round of
talks in May, the government and Kachin rebels signed a seven-point agreement to

move toward a peace settlement.But Mr La Nan said there have been 21 clashes
with government troops during this month alone.He said the agreement to de-

escalate fighting had given the government a chance to redeploy troops, send
reinforcements and ammunition and get closer to KIA camps."It will be correct to

say that the government used the opportunity of peace talks to prepare for the next
assault," Mr La Nan said.There have been 15 rounds of talks between the
government and the KIA. No breakthrough is in sight, with the Kachin insisting on a
political settlement, not just a ceasefire.

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25 Buddhists sentenced in deadly


Myanmar riot
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jul 12, 2013
YANGON (AP) - Twenty-five Buddhists were sentenced to as many as 15 years in
prison for murder and other crimes during a night of rioting, burning and killing in

central Myanmar, following weeks in which it seemed only Muslims were being
punished for sectarian violence aimed primarily at members of their own religion.

But the sentences issued on Wednesday and Thursday did not erase a sense of
unequal justice: A day earlier, a Muslim received a life sentence for murdering one of
the 43 people killed March 20 and 21 in the central Myanmar town of Meikhtila. A
wave of violence over the past year in this predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian

country has left more than 250 people dead and 140,000 others fleeing their homes,
most of them Muslim. The attacks, and the government's inability to stop them,
have marred the Southeast Asian country's image abroad as it moves toward

democracy and greater freedom following nearly five decades of military rule. Most
of the sentences were handed down on Wednesday, and the toughest stemmed
from the deadliest incident of the Meikhtila riots: a brutal mob attack on an Islamic
school, its students and teachers that killed 36 people.

Buddhist mobs torched Mingalar Zayone Islamic Boarding School, Muslim businesses
and all but one of the city's 13 mosques following a dispute between a Muslim and a
Buddhist at a gold shop and the burning death of a Buddhist monk by four Muslim
men. While security forces stood by, a mob armed with machetes, metal pipes,

chains and stones killed 32 teenage students and four teachers. Video clips online

show mobs clubbing students to death and cheering as flames leap from corpses.
The state-run Keymon daily said eight people - seven Buddhists and one Muslim were convicted on Wednesday in Meikhtila district court for crimes connected to the
school massacre.

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Tension simmers in KL's 'Little Myanmar'


By Yong Yen Nie Malaysia Correspondent In Selayang (Selangor)
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 12, 2013

Myanmar workers taking a break from sorting and packing vegetables at a wholesale
market. Many of them, especially those who are Buddhists, are said to be hiding out
of fear of being targeted by their Muslim countrymen. -- ST PHOTO: YONG YEN NIE
AT THE Kuala Lumpur wholesale market on a busy Saturday morning, workers

loading boxes of vegetables onto trucks can be heard hollering at each other in the
Myanmar language, drowning out the chatter of their Chinese bosses.Outside a row

of shophouses nearby, women hawkers from Myanmar have set up stalls to sell
betel nuts under the scorching sun.The appearance of normalcy at the market in
Selayang and its surrounding areas, which have become something of a "Little

Myanmar", belies the simmering tension in the community since several Myanmar
workers were killed or injured in clashes in recent weeks.Malaysian police have

linked the violence here to sectarian clashes back in Myanmar, where several
hundred people have been killed and thousands more displaced as a result of
conflict between Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya minorities.Reports in the

Malaysian media further suggested that the Myanmar nationals who had been
targeted were Buddhists who were singled out by their Muslim countrymen seeking
revenge.

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Myanmar's sectarian conflict has also spilled into Indonesia. Last month, Indonesian
anti-terror police nabbed several militants suspected of plotting to bomb the
Myanmar Embassy in retaliation for the attacks against Muslims in Myanmar.To

prevent further clashes, Malaysian police have since rounded up over 900 Myanmar
nationals. City deputy police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh told The Straits
Times yesterday that the situation is now under control with no fresh arrests made

in the last two days.But interviews with Myanmar migrant workers suggest that
tension is still running high in the community.Many workers, especially those who

are Buddhists, are said to be hiding in fear.Those without documentation are worried
that they have a higher chance of being caught given the authorities' heightened
vigilance."My Buddhist friends have not been coming to work for days as they are in
hiding until things have calmed down," a 28-year-old worker who wants to be known
only as Adam, a Myanmar Muslim from Mawlamyine.He added: "I don't understand

why the religious clashes would hit us here, as we are all from Myanmar and so, we
understand each other's difficulties and should not fight with each other."

The recent spate of violence has also affected the Chin community, people from a
Christian minority in Myanmar."About 20 Chins have fled their homes and slept at

my flat in the past few nights as they are worried for their safety," said Mr Ricky

Kap, a Myanmar refugee and chairman of the Alliance of Chin Refugees.It is unclear
what, if anything, the Myanmar community plans to do to ease tension. When
approached, many chose to evade the issue altogether.The issue, however, is
unlikely to fade away anytime soon given the size of the migrant worker population
from Myanmar. Malaysia is one of the largest recipients of Myanmar migrant workers

in the region, many of them refugees.The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees said there are almost 95,000 refugees from Myanmar in Malaysia, who are

mainly Muslims. The Malaysian government said, as of 2011, there are some
137,784 registered migrant workers from Myanmar.
But the Myanmar embassy estimates that Malaysia might have more than 400,000
documented and undocumented workers from Myanmar.Some migrant workers

insist that such bouts of violence are rare, and that the majority just want a peaceful
life."We are not here to create trouble as we just want to work and earn money,
whether we are Buddhists or Muslims," said an illegal migrant worker who wants to
be known only as Saiful.

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Their employers are unfazed, for now. A vegetable supplier, who wanted to be
known only as Sze Ling, said she would not fire her three Myanmar workers unless
they were involved in violent clashes."They are cheap labour and generally work

hard," she said. "We have grown to trust them as they have been with us for
years."The Malaysian government has attempted to legalise some of the

undocumented migrant workers here under a programme called 6P in 2011. But


many are hesitant to come forward as they are concerned that their whereabouts

would be monitored.Some of them also don't want to go through the hassle as they
don't intend to live here.Adam said he is working hard to save money earned from
transporting vegetables at the market so that he may open a shop in his hometown

someday."I dream of returning home every day," he said. "I know it is a far-fetched
dream, but I hope that day will come."
yyennie@sph.com.sg
This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 10, 2013

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CNPC completes construction of ChinaMyanmar gas pipeline


The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 01, 2013
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's top oil

and gas producer, has completed construction of a natural gas pipeline from
Myanmar to China and is close to finishing a crude oil pipeline, the company
said.The pipelines are crucial strategic links which will allow China to bypass the
Malacca Strait, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and receive oil from the
Middle East and Africa via the Indian Ocean and a port on Maday island, off the
coast of Myanmar. "By May 28, the natural gas pipeline has completed construction

and is ready for trial operation, while 94 per cent of the crude oil pipeline project has
finished and the operation of the oil pipeline is within control," the company said in

its inhouse newspaper China Petroleum Daily seen on Saturday.It didn't specify
when the gas pipeline will start running. Originally, the gas pipeline was due to start

up at the end of May and the oil pipeline was set to begin operation in 2014.The gas
pipeline will bring gas from the Shwe fields off the coast of Rakhine, a western state
bordering Bangladesh, to China's southwestern Yunnan province.But it could be

delayed over security concerns as it runs across territories controlled by ethnic militia
groups, a Myanmar energy official said in May. CNPC has completed six oil storage

tanks on an island off western Myanmar from which the two pipelines will carry fuel
to China, and will soon finish six more, an industry official said last week.

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Myanmar man gets 26 years for attack


that caused riots
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 12, 2013

A man (right) begins to clean up a burnt down market after riots broke out in Lashio
in eastern Myanmar's Shan state on May 30, 2013. Myanmar has sentenced a Muslim
man to 26 years in prison for an attack on a Buddhist woman that triggered a fresh
outbreak of religious violence last month in the former army-ruled nation, police said
on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar has sentenced a Muslim man to 26 years in prison for an
attack on a Buddhist woman that triggered a fresh outbreak of religious violence last
month in the former army-ruled nation, police said on Wednesday.The man, who

has been described by state media as a 48-year-old drug addict, was convicted of
intent to kill, assault and drug use by a court in Lashio in eastern Shan State on
Tuesday, Police Major Moe Zaw Linn said.The 24-year-old victim, a petrol vendor,

suffered burns in the attack, which triggered Buddhist-Muslim riots in the town that
left at least one person dead and saw a mosque and orphanage burned.
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"We have arrested about 60 people found by security forces with sticks and knives
during the violence," Maj Moe Zaw Linn said, adding that the Muslim man was the
first person to be convicted.Several episodes of religious unrest - mostly targeting

Muslims - have exposed deep rifts in the Buddhist-majority country and cast a
shadow over widely praised political reforms since military rule ended two years

ago.In March, dozens of people were killed in sectarian strife in central Myanmar,
and thousands of homes were set ablaze.Ten Muslims have been sentenced to

prison terms of up to 28 years in connection with the March violence in the central
town

of

Meiktila,

where

no

Buddhists

are

yet

known

to

have

been

convicted.Communal unrest last year in the western state of Rakhine left about 200
people dead and 140,000 displaced, mainly Rohingya Muslims.

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E-book to open doors to Myanmar


The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 15, 2012

Myanmar Sunrise is a downloadable e-book available from early next month.


THE gates of the once-reclusive Myanmar have swung open, but what is happening
inside remains a bit of a mystery.Is the opening up for real? Is the much talked

about economic boom for real? And what does the man in the street make of it?
Questions swirl even as Yangon makes great strides in dismantling controls that

have held the country back.Chances are that you are already invested in the
Myanmar story - the world's newest democracy experiment and the region's last
great economic frontier.Perhaps you are intrigued by the unlikely torch-bearer in

President Thein Sein, or captivated by the understated glamour of the serene Ms

Aung San Suu Kyi.Maybe the entrepreneur in you sees Myanmar as the next Asian
tiger. Is it a window of opportunity for you? Or, if you plan to sample the unspoilt
charms of the Golden Land, what should you pack before you go?The Straits Times
brings you "Myanmar Sunrise" - downloadable on your iPad from early next
month.The Straits Times' Indochina Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh and a select team of
writers and insiders will capture the story of Myanmar's awakening in this interactive

book. You will find essays by ST Foreign Editor Ravi Velloor, ST Life! writer John Lui
and loads of pictures and videos by prize-winning photographers Sim Chi Yin and
Neo Xiaobin.

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monk

lashes

out

at

Time

magazine
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 21, 2013

Buddhist monk Wirathu sits in the library of the Ma Soe Yein monastery during an
interview in Mandalay, Myanmar on March 27, 2013. Upon seeing his photo splashed
across the cover of Time magazine with the words Face of Buddhist Terror, Myanmar's
most-talked-about monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt
him. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Upon seeing his photo splashed across the cover of Time
magazine with the words "Face of Buddhist Terror", Myanmar's most-talked-about

monk was unfazed, saying no amount of bad publicity could hurt him.The 46-yearold is accustomed to - even flattered by - the foreign reporters who steadily parade

through his monastery in the city of Mandalay to ask about religious violence that
has swept his predominantly Buddhist nation in the last year - fuelled in no small
part by his anti-Muslim rhetoric.Nearly 250 people have died and tens of thousands

have fled their homes, threatening to destabilise the quasi-civilian government that
came to power just two years ago after five decades of military rule."A genuine ruby

will shine," said monk Wirathu, "even if you try to sink it in mud." New freedoms of
speech have made it easier to disseminate radical views, while exposing deepDemocracy and Human Rights Without Borders

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seeded racism felt by much of the population towards Muslims and other
minorities.There has been almost no public outcry when Buddhist mobs have
marched into villages brandishing machetes and clubs, but the appearance of a
Burmese monk on the cover of the glossy international magazine with an
inflammatory title was apparently too much.The social networking site Facebook was
alight with criticism.Dozens changed their profiles to mock-covers of Time with the

word "Boycott". One person lamented that the image of his country - and faith - was

being tarnished."Some people misunderstood the title ... seeing it as an insult to


religion," said Dr Yan Myo Thein, a political analyst. "They believe it's equating
Buddhism with terrorism."Few took the opportunity to criticize monk Wirathu,
however, saying it was further evidence of media bias. The monk has repeatedly
called on Buddhists to unite against the "threat" Muslims pose to the country and its

culture, accusing them of breeding too fast and hijacking the business
community.The Time article quoted him as saying this was not the time to stay
calm."Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil," he said.

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Religious authoritarianism taking hold in


Myanmar?
Rise of radical Buddhist monk worries women's groups
and others
By Nirmal Ghosh in Bangkok

The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 22, 2013
NEWS ANALYSIS

Right-wing Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu spreads anti-Muslim propaganda. -- PHOTO:


ASSOCIATED PRESS
A RECENT meeting in Yangon of the National Democratic Front (NDF), a political
party, had a surprise gatecrasher - right-wing Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu.More

surprising was that NDF politicians at the June 16 meeting flocked to have their
pictures taken with the man seen as instrumental in inflaming the anti-Muslim
sentiment that has rocked Myanmar over the past year.Myanmar's leaders have

been making all the right noises about anti-Muslim violence. Speaker of the House
Thura Shwe Mann, a contender for the presidency in 2015, said during his US visit
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this month that the government remained committed to building a "more inclusive
society".But what happened at the NDF meeting shows how difficult it is for
Myanmar's society to climb out of decades of suppressed prejudice, or to challenge
the influential monkhood. With Buddhism being used as a political tool, the question,

analysts say, is whether an insidious religious authoritarianism will replace military


authoritarianism in Myanmar.And saying what Washington wants to hear means

nothing in Myanmar if there is no corresponding action. Ashin Wirathu is "being


watched", say security sources in Yangon. Yet he openly preaches around the
country, using loudspeakers to spread anti- Muslim propaganda.The violence this
year that has killed dozens of Muslims, and sent thousands fleeing their homes in
central Myanmar towns, has been linked to his message.

On Wednesday in Geneva, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay said: "The President of Myanmar has made some important statements
on the need to end discrimination and violence and foster mutual respect and
tolerance between people of different faiths and ethnicities."I believe that the

political will is there, but encourage the government to translate this will into

concrete actions."Community peace meetings have been held across the country and
among the Myanmar diaspora abroad. One meeting is scheduled in Mandalay

tomorrow, after men on motorcycles shouted threats at Muslim schools.But at one


meeting this month in Yangon, Buddhist monks called for a ban on interfaith
marriage, endorsing the popular notion that Muslim men marry Buddhist women,

forcing them to convert, thus spreading the Muslim faith.The monks' call only
reflected the common reality that Buddhist women marrying Muslim men often
become targets of conservative Buddhists, including monks. But turning prejudice
into law is another matter altogether.The surge of hardline views has also forced

many in Myanmar to re-examine doctrinal thinking and the authority of the monks,
and explore the nexus of organised religion with Burman nationalist politics.The
proposal to ban interfaith marriage is opposed by women's groups in Myanmar, who

have said it is not the job of monks to tell them how to live their lives.A prominent
female civil society figure, Daw Shwe Zee Gwet, at a meeting of women's networks

this month spoke of the "ignorance, bigotry and sexism" of Buddhist monks. "Our
Burmese Buddhist society has long been ill-influenced by Buddhist monks. The lay
public has been made to feel terrified to speak out," she said.
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National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi told Radio Free Asia on
Thursday: "It is a violation of women's rights and human rights."I also understand
that this is not in accordance with the laws of the country and especially that it is not

part of Buddhism."The interfaith tension is a paradox in the context of the


coexistence most evident in downtown Yangon, where temples, mosques and

churches have existed beside each other for over a century."The issues between
Muslims and non-Muslims have never been serious enough to warrant all this

violence and bloodshed. There are agitators at work - political and religious, and a
mix of the two," says Dr Khin Zaw Win, a former political prisoner now active in
training and development work."A law barring interfaith marriage would bring

disgrace upon a country that prided itself on the struggle for human rights and
democracy. You cannot have a set of laws for one ethnicity and a different set for
another community."
nirmal@sph.com.sg

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Japan unveils major aid and loan package


for Myanmar
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 26, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (centre right), and Myanmar President Thein Sein
(centre left) inspect the honour guards at Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw, Myanmar
on Sunday, May 26, 2013. Japan on Sunday announced a development aid and loan
package for Myanmar worth hundreds of millions of dollars as it boosts trade ties with
the fast-changing nation seen as a key regional emerging market. -- PHOTO: AP
NAYPYIDAW (AFP) - Japan on Sunday announced a development aid and loan
package for Myanmar worth hundreds of millions of dollars as it boosts trade ties
with the fast-changing nation seen as a key regional emerging market.Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe, who has pledged "all possible assistance" to kick-start Myanmar's long-

neglected economy, agreed the plans in talks with reformist President Thein Sein in
the capital Naypyidaw, according to a joint statement released by Japan's foreign
ministry."...in laying a new foundation for taking the relationship between Japan and
Myanmar to a higher level and establishing a lasting, friendly and cooperative
relationship, Japan and Myanmar will work together," it said, before outlining areas

of cooperation.Mr Abe's visit, the first visit by a Japanese premier since 1977,
heralds a further improvement in already warm relations between Japan and
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Myanmar, as political reforms and the removal of most Western sanctions spur
investment in the former pariah state.As part of the new deals, the Japanese
premier pledged up to 51 billion yen (S$636 million) in new loans to Myanmar.This

covers countrywide infrastructure development, including road, electricity and water


supplies; power station maintenance; and development of the Thilawa special

economic zone near Yangon, a project agreed by both countries in December.Japan


also confirmed it would forgive 176.1 billion yen of Myanmar's debts - the final
portion of the 300 billion yen that Tokyo pledged in April 2012 to cancel. The move
was contingent on further reforms."In support of the development of Myanmar and
having implemented its arrears clearance operation with Myanmar, the Government
of Japan decided to provide new yen loans as well as grant assistance," the

statement said.Japan also announced an aid package worth up to 2.4 billion yen for
water

management

in

Yangon

and

scholarship

programme

for

young

administrators overseeing the country's social and economic development.On


Saturday Mr Abe visited the Thilawa project - a 2,400 hectare site which will include

a port and industrial park - as part of efforts to promote Japanese firms and his
country's infrastructure-building expertise.A memorandum of understanding was also

signed for the project between nine Myanmar companies and three from Japan including Mitsubishi - according to the state-backed newspaper the New Light of

Myanmar.Mr Abe is accompanied by a 40-strong delegation of bosses from some of


Japan's top companies, including Mitsubishi, Mitsui and infrastructure firms Taisei
and JGC."Japan's investments in Burma are truly extraordinary, and I think have
taken many by surprise," said Myanmar economics expert Sean Turnell before the
announcement, using the country's former name.He said its investment push into

Myanmar was both economic and geopolitical, with "rivalry with China" also driving
policy.Mr Turnell said Japan had become the "dominant player" in Myanmar, with

China facing flak from communities concerned over the environmental and social
impact of several major infrastructure projects."China has been blind-sided, I think,
and has a great hole of unpopularity to climb out of. The West is interested, but
much of their money remains hovering nervously above the table as yet," he

said.Unlike its Western allies, Japan maintained trade ties and dialogue with

Myanmar during junta rule, which ended in 2011, saying a hard line could push it
closer to Beijing.Mr Abe follows in the footsteps of other world leaders who have

flocked to the country since it was welcomed back to the international community
after Thein Sein's nominally civilian government was installed two years ago.
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Japan's Abe ends Myanmar visit with aid,


debt write-off
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 26, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech at Myanmar International


Convention Centre in Naypyidaw on Sunday, May 26, 2013. Japan on Sunday
endorsed Myanmar's reform programme by writing off nearly US$2 billion (S$2.53
billion) in debt and extending new aid, some of which will help support an industrial

zone being developed by Japanese firms near the commercial capital, Yangon. -PHOTO: AFP

YANGON (REUTERS) - Japan on Sunday endorsed Myanmar's reform programme by

writing off nearly US$2 billion (S$2.53 billion)in debt and extending new aid, some of
which will help support an industrial zone being developed by Japanese firms near
the commercial capital, Yangon.Japan agreed a year ago to forgive 176.1 billion yen
(S$2.19 billion) in arrears owed to it by Myanmar's government and, at the end of a

three-day visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it said Myanmar had met the necessary
conditions, including a series of political and economic reforms."Since both
governments acknowledged the continuation of Myanmar's reform efforts, the
government of Japan has decided to clear the said overdue charges," the Japanese
Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
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Abe was the first Japanese leader to visit the Southeast Asian country in 36
years.Unlike many countries Japan did not impose trade and financial sanctions on
Myanmar during five decades of military rule, but it has dramatically scaled up its
engagement since the poor but resource-rich country embarked on reforms two

years ago under the quasi-civilian government of President Thein Sein.The debt

forgiveness was contingent upon Myanmar pushing ahead with reforms over the
past year that included lifting media censorship, enacting a new foreign investment
law and allowing more freedom for political activists and parties such as the National
League for Democracy (NLD).
Abe met with NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi during his
trip.On Saturday he visited the port of Thilawa, the site of the future industrial zone,
25 km south of Yangon.As part of 51.05 billion yen in new aid announced on

Sunday, Japan will provide up to 20 billion yen for the Thilawa project, repayable
over 40 years at 0.01 percent interest. The money will help with electricity

infrastructure in the area and an expansion of the port.Other projects will help
increase the power supply elsewhere in the country and develop infrastructure in

rural areas.There was no reference in the various statements to another industrial


project in Dawei, by the border with Thailand, being developed by Italian-Thai
Development Pcl.Initial funding of $8.5 billion has proved elusive and the Thai
government has sought Japanese help.Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in
Japan this week and she said in a weekly televised broadcast on Saturday that
investors there had shown strong interest. Thai officials had hoped for signs of
progress during Abe's visit to Myanmar.

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Myanmar leader starts landmark US visit


The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com

Published on May 19, 2013

Myanmar president Thein Sein prepares to leave for a state visit to the US, the first by
a Myanmar head of state in almost 47 years, at Yangon International airport,
Myanmar, on Friday, May 17, 2013. Mr Thein Sein began Saturday the first visit to

Washington by a leader of his country in nearly 50 years as the United States throws
its support behind his reforms. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Myanmar President Thein Sein began Saturday the first visit
to Washington by a leader of his country in nearly 50 years as the United States
throws its support behind his reforms.The former general, who initiated a wave of

reforms after taking office in 2011, flew into Washington and was holding a weekend
of private meetings before talks at the White House on Monday, people involved in
the trip said.The last time a leader of Myanmar, then known as Burma, visited the
White House was in 1966, as the country was entering decades of military rule that
estranged it from the United States and made China the country's main partner.US

President Barack Obama visited Myanmar in November and has suspended most
major sanctions against the country in hopes of showing benefits to reforms. Thein
Sein will meet Monday with US businesses, now free to invest in Myanmar.
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Critics say that the United States risks running out of leverage and point with alarm
to recent anti-Muslim violence, during which security forces were accused of failing
to stop - or of even supporting - sectarian attacks.Ahead of his departure to the
United States, Myanmar freed another 20 political prisoners.It was the latest

prisoner release under Mr Thein Sein, who has also eased censorship and allowed
opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi - under house arrest for most of the past two

decades - to enter parliament.Activists accuse Mr Thein Sein of headline-grabbing


gestures and say that some 200 political prisoners remain in jail.US officials contend

that Mr Thein Sein has made sincere efforts and that problems such as recent
violence have roots that predate his rule.

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Myanmar president calls for end to


communal violence
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 21, 2013

Myanmar President Thein Sein speaks during an event at the Johns Hopkins University
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC, on
May 20. 2013. Myanmar President Thein Sein urged on Monday an end to

intercommunal violence and discrimination after hearing a call from US President


Barack Obama to put a stop to anti-Muslim attacks. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Myanmar President Thein Sein urged on Monday an end to

intercommunal violence and discrimination after hearing a call from US President


Barack Obama to put a stop to anti-Muslim attacks.In a speech after his landmark

White House meeting, the leader of the former pariah nation said he wanted a
"more inclusive national identity" but did not directly mention the plight of the
beleaguered Rohingya community."Myanmar people of all ethnic backgrounds and

all faiths - Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and others - must feel part of this

new national identity," he said."We must end all forms of discrimination and ensure
not only that intercommunal violence is brought to a halt, but that all perpetrators
are brought to justice," he told Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced
International Studies.Mr Thein Sein did not directly mention the Rohingya, a

predominantly Muslim people who are not even considered citizens of the
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predominantly Buddhist nation formerly known as Burma. However, he called recent


ethnic violence "extremely tragic."Human rights groups have alleged that officials
turned a blind or worse to recent attacks on the Rohingya, with Human Rights
Watch accusing Myanmar of a "campaign of ethnic cleansing" against the group.Mr

Thein Sein also pledged to work on an elusive ceasefire with Kachin rebels after his

government made peace with other ethnic guerrillas, some of whom have been
fighting for decades."Our goal cannot be less than a sustainable peace. It will mean

compromise.It will mean further devolution of power to the state and regional
levels," he said.Mr Thein Sein, who launched a wave of reforms after taking office in
2011 as a nominal civilian, repeated his message from his White House meeting that
change was firmly on track after decades of military rule."I know how much people

of all backgrounds want this transition to succeed.I know how much people want to
see democracy take root, put behind decades of isolation, catch up with other Asian
economies and halt violence and fighting," he said.
Mr Thein Sein said that Myanmar needed "maximum international support, including
from the United States," to step up trade and educational ties with the impoverished
country.The key test for reforms will come in 2015 when the nation is to hold

elections - meaning the military could have a real chance of losing control if

opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi's forces triumph as many expect.Mr Thein Sein
repeated his insistence that the military had a strong role to play in a democratic
state, saying that the armed forces "took charge of the nation's stability."

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Myanmar monks urge peace after religious


bloodshed
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 14, 2013

Myanmars powerful Buddhist clergy sit on mats during an assembly in Hmawbi,


outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Senior monks in Myanmar
on Friday appealed for peace following a surge in religious bloodshed in the former
junta-ruled nation, in a joint statement that stopped short of condemning a wave of
anti-Muslim attacks. -- PHOTO: AP

YANGON (AFP) - Senior monks in Myanmar on Friday appealed for peace following a
surge in religious bloodshed in the former junta-ruled nation, in a joint statement
that stopped short of condemning a wave of anti-Muslim attacks.After two days of

talks between more than 200 monks at a monastery near Yangon, the Buddhist
clerics accused media of tarnishing their image with allegations that monks were at
the forefront of the violence."All Buddhist leaders and Buddhists want to live
peacefully, without any conflict," they said in a statement read out by senior monk
Dhammapiya.Describing Buddhism as one of the "best religions in the world", he

said that "all citizens of Myanmar support policies that encourage living
peacefully".Sectarian bloodshed - mostly targeting Muslims - has laid bare deep
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divides that were largely suppressed under decades of military rule which ended two
years ago in the Buddhist-majority country.Dozens of people were killed in religious
riots in March in central Myanmar, where AFP journalists saw some men in monk
robes wielding sticks and knives during the unrest.Mr Dhammapiya said that while

several monks had taken part in anti-Muslim attacks, others were mistaken for

perpetrators as they tried to intervene to halt the mob violence."We denounce


reports (in the media) that wrongly accuse and harm the dignity of Buddhists and

Buddhist monks," he said.At the same time, senior clerics distanced themselves from
a call from controversial Mandalay monk Wirathu for restrictions on inter-faith
marriage.Under the proposal, which Mr Wirathu said he plans to submit to President

Thein Sein and other officials, non-Buddhists wishing to marry Buddhist women
would have to convert with approval from the government - and gain permission
from her parents to wed - or risk 10 years in jail.

"This law is my dream. I have been dreaming of it for a decade," Mr Wirathu, whose

anti-Muslim remarks have come under scrutiny in recent months, told reporters at
the conference on Thursday."The reason I'm trying to have this law enacted is

because Buddhist girls have lost freedom of religion when they married Muslim
men," he said.Senior monks said, however, that the idea was not formally discussed
at the meeting."We are only thinking how to live peacefully. We're not thinking to

draft any law. It can cause much misunderstanding and division," said Mr Vimala, a
senior monk from Kabar Aye Buddhist University."We want to ask both sides to live

peacefully by stopping violence and conflicts," he told AFP."Muslims also do not need
to be afraid. We have laws in this country. People should not be afraid of each other
but show respect for and value each other."

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Mosque, shops attacked in fresh Myanmar


religious unrest
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Apr 30, 2013

A Muslim man, whose shop and house were vandalized, tries to do business in
Meikhtila, on April 25, 2013. Police in central Myanmar fired warning shots to disperse
a crowd after a mosque and shops were attacked on Tuesday, the President's

spokesman said, in the latest religious unrest to hit the country. -- FILE PHOTO:
REUTERS
YANGON (AFP) - Police in central Myanmar fired warning shots to disperse a crowd

after a mosque and shops were attacked on Tuesday, the President's spokesman
said, in the latest religious unrest to hit the country.The fighting was sparked in the
small town of Oakkan, around 100km north of Yangon, after a woman accidentally

bumped into a young novice monk and knocked his alms bowl onto the ground,
according to Ye Htut.It is the latest unrest to flare in the region north of Yangon,

Myanmar's main city, after a series of attacks by Buddhist mobs on Muslim homes,
businesses and mosques in March."According to the initial information received by
the Myanmar Police Force, a mosque and shops nearby were attacked... The police
force had to fire warning shots to disperse the crowd," Mr Ye Htut said in a post on

his Facebook page, adding that the situation had been brought under control. He
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said some shops were destroyed but no buildings had been burnt."There were some
attacks to the mosque by throwing with stones. No casualties were reported," a
police official told AFP.At least 43 people were killed and thousands were left

homeless in March in fighting apparently triggered by a quarrel between a Muslim


gold shop owner and Buddhist customers in the central town of Meiktila.Some
monks were involved in the unrest while others are behind a nationalistic campaign
calling for a boycott of Muslim-owned shops.
The unrest has exposed deep religious tensions in the formerly junta-run nation and
cast a shadow over reforms under a quasi-civilian regime that took power two years
ago.Last year, around 200 people were killed in clashes between Buddhists and

Muslim Rohingya - a minority treated with hostility by many Burmese who see them
as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.While the Rohingya - described by the UN as

among the most-persecuted minorities on the planet - have long been denied
Myanmar citizenship, the Muslims targeted in March's unrest are Myanmar

nationals.Human Rights Watch last week accused authorities of being involved in


"ethnic cleansing" in Rakhine - a claim the government denies.An official report into
the unrest this week suggested doubling the security presence in the state and

recommended keeping the communities apart as a temporary measure to prevent


further violence.

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What's in a name? US starts using


Myanmar as well as Burma
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 21, 2013
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma

has received further backing from the White House in its campaign to be called
Myanmar.Successive US governments have refused to acknowledge the name
change made in the late 1980s by the country's military rulers. The United States for
years deliberately referred to the nation of 60 million people as Burma, so as not to
give legitimacy to military governments.But in a nod to political reforms made by

President Thein Sein, the White House on Monday acknowledged it is now employing
the name Myanmar more often than before.
"We have responded by expanding our engagement with the government, easing a
number of sanctions, and as a courtesy in appropriate settings, more frequently

using the name Myanmar," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.Mr Thein Sein
met with US President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on Monday in the first visit

to the White House by a president of Myanmar, or Burma, in 47 years. Mr Obama


used the name Myanmar, not Burma, throughout his comments to reporters.
But his spokesman employed both names. "Burma has undertaken a number of
positive reforms, including releasing over 850 political prisoners, easing media
restrictions, permitting freedom of speech, assembly and movement," Mr Carney
said.In their meeting, Mr Obama urged the president to take steps to halt violence
against Muslims in his country and move ahead with economic and political reforms.

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Myanmar leader talks peace with Shan


ethnic rebels
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 10, 2013
NAYPYITAW (AP) - The Myanmar government's effort to make peace with ethnic
minorities has taken another step forward as representatives of the country's biggest

minority group, the Shan, met with the country's reformist president in the
capital.Shan State Army (South) leader Yawd Serk said after the talks Monday that

President Thein Sein had agreed with his proposal to form a committee to work
toward peace. Since independence in 1948, Myanmar has faced rebellions from a
number of minority groups seeking autonomy. Sporadic fighting continues with

several groups, including the Shan and the Kachin.President Office's Minister Aung
Min said the main obstacle to ending the fighting was the need for the sides to agree
on where their troops are allowed to be stationed.

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U Win Tin - Veteran activist says Myanmar


still needs opposition
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jun 10, 2013
YANGON (AFP) - Jailed for nearly two decades for his struggle against the junta,
veteran dissident Win Tin says Myanmar's pro-democracy movement must not forget

its role as the opposition, despite the country's dramatic political changes. Since he
was released from prison in 2008, the National League for Democracy (NLD) party
which he co-founded 25 years ago with Aung San Suu Kyi has been transformed into

a legitimate political force in the fledgling parliament. Suu Kyi, who is eyeing a run
for the presidency in 2015, has adopted a more cooperative approach with the
country's two-year-old reformist government, and was even seen sitting alongside

top generals at a military parade in March. Win Tin, 84, says the NLD remains firmly
united behind the Nobel laureate, but alluded to some doubts within the party about

her strategy. "She is the supreme leader and a very capable leader. She is the only
one that can keep Myanmar united and who could bring democracy," he said in an

interview with AFP at his home in Yangon. "We must support her but we must not
forget we are in the opposition," he added. "She wants to be the president after the
elections," Win Tin said."People seem to think there is no opposition... I cannot

accept that idea." President Thein Sein's government took power in March 2011 after
a carefully calibrated and peaceful transition from decades of authoritarian military

rule. Suu Kyi was released a few months earlier after a total of 15 years of house
arrest and now, as an elected lawmaker, sits beside some of her former captors in
parliament without any obvious bitterness. "She is a political animal and she has
always been," said Win Tin, who served much of his sentence in solitary

confinement. "She wants to lead (the country) with the military... she has a very
high opinion of them," he added. Suu Kyi's father Aung San founded the army and
won independence from British rule in 1948, when the country was known as

Burma. The opposition leader has said that, despite its brutal rule, she remains fond
of the military even today. Suu Kyi has been criticised by rights groups for her
perceived silence over deadly violence against the country's Muslims.
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A confidante of the NLD leader for many years, Win Tin defends her reticence in the
face of divisive issues. "She wants to remain careful... she does not want to
antagonise the Buddhists," he said, accepting the need to "find a real solution

against discrimination". Her tactics may ensure her support at the ballot box in 2015,
but Win Tin, a former journalist and a tireless activist, remains cautious about the

future. If she is to become president, parliament must amend the 2008 militarydrafted constitution, which bans Myanmar nationals whose children or spouses are

foreign citizens from running for high office. Suu Kyi's two sons have British
nationality. To revise the constitution, Suu Kyi needs the support of more than
three-quarters of the lawmakers in parliament, one-quarter of whom are unelected
military officials. Win Tin is confident democracy will one day be achieved in
Myanmar, but he is less sure whether he or Suu Kyi, now 67, will be around to see

it. "Our struggle will not be not over in five or 10 years," he said. While projections
are risky in a rapidly changing political landscape, the NLD looks likely to win the

2015 polls, if they are free and fair, after trouncing the ruling Union Solidarity and
Development Party in by-elections last year.
At the same time some observers question the NLD's ability to govern as long as a
cabal of ageing former dissidents dominate the party's top ranks, and with younger

party members afraid to speak out. "The only dissent comes from me," Win Tin said
with a laugh. "I do not think we have the capacity to run the country ourselves," he
conceded."But we have enough friends willing to work with us." Yet criticism of the

party - and Suu Kyi - does not diminish the loyalty forged during years fighting for
freedom, which saw Suu Kyi held under house arrest while Win Tin languished in
Yangon's infamous Insein Prison. "I have disagreements with her but she is the
leader and soul of Burma's democracy," he said.

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PM Abe visit to Myanmar, 1st to country by


Japan leader in 36 years
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 24, 2013

Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and his wife, Akie, wave before boarding a plane
at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, on Friday, May 24, 2013. Mr Abe is travelling to Myanmar
for a three-day trip, the first visit to the country by a Japanese leader in 36 years. -PHOTO: AP PHOTO / KYODO NEWS
TOKYO (AP) - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is travelling to Myanmar on the first visit to
the country by a Japanese leader in 36 years, as Tokyo bids to reassert its position

as a top economic partner after decades of frosty relations with the previous military
regime.Travelling with a delegation of business leaders, PM Abe was to arrive in
Yangon on Friday evening for a three-day trip, and will meet President Thein Sein on

Sunday in Naypyidaw, officials from his office said.The last Japanese premier to visit
Myanmar was Mr Takeo Fukuda in 1977 during the Socialist regime of the late

dictator General Ne Win.Japan will cooperate in Myanmars reforms with both


public- and private-sector assistance, PM Abe told reporters before departure,
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according to Kyodo News agency.PM Abe will also meet Myanmars democracy icon
and lawmaker Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he met during her visit to Japan in
April.Japanese companies are eager to invest in Myanmar after it started to open up

when President Thein Sein took office in 2011. With the US and European Union
relaxing sanctions, Japan has moved quickly to capitalise on Myanmars resources
and its new economic environment.At least 35 Japanese investment projects are

under way in Myanmar, the biggest being plans to develop the 2,400 hectare (5,900
acre) Thilawa Special Economic Zone near Yangon Zone led by trading companies

Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp and Sumitomo Corp.PM Abe is scheduled to sign
agreements to provide Japanese grant money for human resources development

and to extend the first Japanese government loan to the impoverished but resourcerich country since it cancelled US$3.58 billion (S$4.46 billion) in debt in
January.Japan, Myanmars largest aid donor, helped clear part of its unpaid debt in

an effort to boost Myanmars democratic reforms and open ways to resume fresh
loans for infrastructure building and major development assistance that will support
Japanese business interests in the Southeast Asian nation.
Japan had close ties with Myanmar before the junta took power in 1988, prompting
Tokyo to suspend grants for major projects. Although it scaled back most business
activity and cut government aid when the US and other Western nations imposed
sanctions in 2003 after the military regime put ms Suu Kyi under house arrest, Japan
did not impose sanctions on Myanmar.But with no major development grants or

Japanese loans, major Japanese corporations maintained branch offices in Myanmar


with minimal business operations during the previous regime, while neighbouring
China gradually became Myanmars major trade partner and investor after Thailand

and Singapore.Japans investments and involvement lag far behind those of China
and India, but that is fast changing after Tokyo forgave about half of Myanmars

more than US$6 billion dollars in debt. A high-powered delegation of business


leaders, including top executives from Toyota Motor Corp, Hitachi Ltd and Sumitomo

Chemical, toured Myanmar, also known as Burma, in February and pledged to


cooperate in encouraging more investment.
As of late February, Japan was the 11th largest investor in Myanmar, with US$270
million in overall investments, way behind the US$14.2 billion committed by China
and US$9.6 billion by Thailand, the top two sources with 33 per cent and 23 per cent
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respectively of total foreign direct investment.The Japanese business community


views PM Abes visit as a sign of reinvigorating ties.We welcome Prime Minister
Abes visit which is actually long overdue. The Japanese government should help
Myanmar develop and return the goodwill Myanmar had shown during the war, said

Mr Kazuto Yamazaki, deputy managing director of Famoso Clothing Co, who has
worked in Myanmar for 23 years.

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Kachin rebels sceptical over Myanmar


ceasefire
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on Jan 19, 2013

In this file photo taken on Dec 15, 2012, and released on Monday, Jan 7, 2013, by
Free Burma Rangers, Kachin rebels display the ammunitions they seized from
Myanmar soldiers in Laiza, northern Myanmar. Kachin rebels cast doubt on Saturday,

Jan 19, 2013, over a Myanmar government pledge to end a military offensive after
weeks of intense fighting that sparked international concern, amid reports of fresh
shelling. -- PHOTO: AP

NAYPYIDAW (AFP) - Kachin rebels cast doubt on Saturday over a Myanmar


government pledge to end a military offensive after weeks of intense fighting that

sparked international concern, amid reports of fresh shelling.The government move


on Friday came after the country's fledgling parliament called for a halt to the

fighting, which has left dozens reported dead in northern Kachin state and marred

optimism about the country's political reforms.The conflict between government


troops and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has escalated in recent weeks with
the use of air strikes by the military, prompting the United States and the United
Nations to speak out.A KIA official, requesting anonymity, said the military had

gained "the upper hand" by surrounding the rebel stronghold of Laiza and was
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therefore able to declare an end to the offensive from a position of strength.But he


cautioned that the rebels would "wait and see" if military operations ceased.The
political wing of the KIA said attacks had continued near Laiza, which borders

China."The Burmese ... never keep promises," Thailand-based spokesman James


Lum Dau said, adding that "several minutes of shelling" had taken place on Saturday
near Laiza, the rebel's base since the resumption of fighting in 2011.

Some experts have questioned the level of control President Thein Sein, a former
general, exerts over army units in Kachin after an order to end military offensives in
December 2011 was apparently ignored.The exact number of casualties from the

conflict is unknown, but the government said on Friday that 35 soldiers had been
killed and 190 injured in a series of ambushes by the rebels since 2011, in the first
official death toll for the military side.The quasi-civilian government in Myanmar,

formerly known as Burma, has reached tentative ceasefires with a number of ethnic
rebel groups since taking power in early 2011, but talks with Kachin rebels have
shown little progress.The reform-minded president on Saturday re-stated his
government's desire for peace with the rebels."I have ordered the Tatmadaw

(Myanmar's army) ... to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict. I believe the Kachin
Independence Organisation will soon join us in the peace process," he said in a
statement, referring to the rebels' political arm.

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Japan PM Abe holds talks with Myanmar's


Thein Sein
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 26, 2013

In this handout photo released by Myanmar News Agency (MNA) on May 26, 2013
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (front left) speaks with Myanmar President Thein
Sein (front right) during their meeting at the president's residence office in
Naypyidaw. Japan's premier met Myanmar's President Thein Sein on Sunday for talks

at which he is expected to unveil huge aid and investment deals as he promotes trade
with the fast-changing nation. -- PHOTO: AFP

NAYPYIDAW (AFP) - Japan's premier met Myanmar's President Thein Sein on Sunday
for talks at which he is expected to unveil huge aid and investment deals as he
promotes trade with the fast-changing nation.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has
pledged "all possible assistance" to kick-start Myanmar's long-neglected economy,
went into talks with Mr Thein Sein after touching down in Naypyidaw earlier on
Sunday, according to a Myanmar government official.The meeting with Mr Thein

Sein, a former general turned reformer, heralds a significant uptick in already warm
relations between Japan and Myanmar as reforms and the removal of most Western
sanctions spur investment in the former pariah state.

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Mr Abe said in Myanmar's state media on Saturday that the first visit by a Japanese
premier since 1977 would see "further assistance" to Myanmar.Mr Abe is tipped to
unveil almost US$1 billion (S$$1.3 billion) in development aid and a plan for a

nationwide electricity grid as he looks to cement a role for his country in resourcerich and strategically key Myanmar, formerly called Burma.Tokyo has already made
huge strides, last year vowing to forgive 300 billion yen (S$3.74 billion) of the 500

billion yen owed by Myanmar."Japan's investments in Burma are truly extraordinary,

and I think have taken many by surprise," said Myanmar economics expert Sean
Turnell, adding he expected an announcement during the trip without giving
details.He said Japan's investment push into Myanmar was both economic and

geopolitical, with "rivalry with China" also driving policy.Unlike its Western allies,
Japan maintained trade ties and dialogue with Myanmar during junta rule, which
ended in 2011, saying a hard line could push it closer to Beijing.

Mr Abe on Saturday visited the Thilawa project - a 2,400 hectare site which will

include a port and industrial park - as part of efforts to promote Japanese firms and
infrastructure-building expertise.The project and associated special economic zone

was agreed by the two countries this year and Set Aung, Myanmar's deputy minister
of National Planning and Economic Development, said it would create "quick wins"
both for local people and Japanese business.A memorandum of understanding was

signed on Saturday for the project between nine Myanmar companies and three
from Japan - including Mitsubishi - according to English language state-backed
newspaper the New Light of Myanmar.Mr Abe is being accompanied by a 40-strong

business delegation of bosses of some of Japan's top companies including Mitsubishi,


Mitsui and infrastructure firms Taisei and JGC.He follows in the footsteps of other
world leaders who have flocked to the former pariah state since it was welcomed

back to the international community after a nominally civilian government was


installed in 2011.

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China CNPC to complete key Myanmar oil


storage facility in 2 months
The Straits Times

www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 28, 2013
BEIJING (REUTERS) - Top state energy group China National Petroleum Company has
completed six oil storage tanks on an island off western Myanmar from which two pipelines

will carry fuel to China, and will soon finish six more, an industry official said on

Tuesday.The crucial strategic link will allow China to bypass the Malacca Strait, one of the
world's busiest shipping lanes, and ship in oil from the Middle East and Africa via the Indian

Ocean and a port on Maday island, off the coast of Myanmar.The island, just 10 sq km in

area with almost no infrastructure, is the origin point for both a crude oil pipeline planned to
carry 440,000 barrels per day and a natural gas pipeline intended to ship 12 billion cu m

annually to China's land-locked southwestern province of Yunnan.The oil pipeline is set to

begin operation in 2014 and the gas pipeline was originally due to start up at the end of
May, CNPC has said. CNPC's Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering Corp unit has built six

crude oil tanks with capacity of 100,000 cu m each and is expected to complete six more
similar tanks in about two months' time, a Huanqiu official told Reuters. "The island basically

didn't have anything, so we need to ship in all the building materials using a small
port...CNPC is building a big terminal there," said the official, who declined to be identified,

as he is not authorised to speak to the media.The additional tanks would double the facility's

storage capacity to 1.2 million cu m, or about 7.6 million barrels. CNPC is building the
terminal to moor big oil tankers on the island as China seeks to cut its dependence on

energy supplies traversing the narrow Malacca Strait between Malaysia and Indonesia.The
project has sparked protests by islanders, who say land has been confiscated for the deep
sea port.The gas pipeline will bring gas from the Shwe fields off the coast of Rakhine, a

western state bordering Bangladesh, to China's Yunnan province. But it could be delayed

over security concerns as it runs across territories controlled by ethnic militia groups, a
Myanmar energy official said this month. China has long worried about its ties with

Myanmar, where there has been a history of resentment of China among the Burmese

population and fierce public opposition to a US$3.6 billion (S$4.5 billion) Chinese-built dam
at Myitsone. President Thein Sein shelved that project in 2011, in a move that stunned
Beijing.

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UN observes Myanmar peace talks with


Kachin rebels
The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on May 28, 2013
YANGON (AFP) - A senior United Nations (UN) envoy on Tuesday attended the first

talks on home soil between Myanmar's government and Kachin rebels since a deadly
ethnic conflict flared up nearly two years ago, an official said. The bloodshed in the
northern state of Kachin bordering China has - along with sectarian unrest elsewhere

in the country - overshadowed widely praised political changes as Myanmar emerges


from decades of military rule. Representatives of the Kachin Independence Army
(KIA) and President Thein Sein's reformist government met on Tuesday in the

Kachin state capital Myitkyina for the first time since the conflict resumed, a
government official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Previous rounds of talks had

been held across the border in China. This time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's
special adviser on Myanmar, Mr Vijay Nambiar, also joined the meeting as an
observer, the official said, along with representatives of China and other ethnic

minorities. UN officials in Yangon declined to comment on his role. Dr Min Zaw Oo, a
director of the European Union-funded Myanmar Peace Centre who also attended,

described the meeting as "very good". "We mainly discussed the process of starting

political dialogue. Also we talked about how to cooperate with the observer groups
to enable a ceasefire and the relocation of IDPs (internally displaced persons)," he
said. The talks were expected to last three days, according to participants. Tens of
thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin since June 2011, when a 17-year

ceasefire between the government and the rebels broke down in the remote,
resource-rich northern region. The military's use of air strikes against the KIA in
December caused an international outcry.While the rebels reacted cautiously to

subsequent government pledges to end the military offensive, fighting has eased in
recent months. The Kachin, who are fighting for greater autonomy, say any
negotiations should address their demands for more political rights.

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Xinjiang

()

Xinjiang

Xinjiang
Uighur


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Cultivation

&

Politics

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General of the Army Sergey


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(Cobra

Gold)

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(SSPP/SSA)


(SSPP/SSA)


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-

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SSPP/SSa

SSPP/SSA

SSPP

SSPP/ SSA


(KIO)

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M.()

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()
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(RCSS/SSA)
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SSPP

SSPP/SSA

SSPP

SSA

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UWSA

UWSA

14.07.2013 VOA

UWSA


UWSA
UWSA


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UWSA

()



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397

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"

UWSA

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398

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..

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PUBLIC ENEMIES OF MYANMAR



KIO/KIA
KACHIN STATE AND KIO/KIA


KIO/KIA

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Public Enemies

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BURMA: BATTLE FOR DEMOCRACY

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MYANMAR FOREIGN POLICY 1948 2010

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The Calm ( ) The Dignity (


) The ability ( ) The Grace (

) The Order ( ) The


Sacrifices ( ) The Kindness
() The Conscience (

Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders


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Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders


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( )
EDITOR THAKHIN VACAKA ( RIT RANGOON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY )

POLARIS BURMESE LIBRARY


2013
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Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders


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INDEX

()
()
SSPP -
v z

v wv

SSPP/SSA v w w z v v
w | z z v } | z  z
{z
w | z z v | | wv
{ v wv --wv w
- wz | z z  z { | z z
w | 
wv { v v v | z v
- z SSPP/SSA w z v
z 

| z

{ v z
w { v z z

- z { { v z
- v z v { v { z 
v  v

{ v {

{ v v { | |

z z z {

z z - { {
SSPP
SSPP - 13.7.2013

SSPP - 14.7.2013
(SNLD)
(SNDP)

(UNFC)

UNFC

z { wz v z { (ANC) wz (CNF) v wz
w (KIO) v z { (KNU)
v

w (PNLO)

 v /

(SSPP/SSA) z wz  v  (ALP)  z
v z {/  (RCSS/SSA)

/ () RCSS/SSA

Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders


412

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KNPP - (KNPP)

() 1.


2.


3.

(Guide

monitoring committee)

KNPP

4.

5.
(Technical Team)

6. IDP

7.
8.
- Thursday, 20 June 2013
(KNU)

Tomas Ojea Quintana


(SSPP)
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The Fight For Freedom in Burma

(ALD) - (ALD)
(RNDP) RNDP
ALD



..

(RNDP) - (ALD)
(RNDP)
RNDP

ALD

..

UWSA
(UWSA) -
UWSA ,
,

()
()

UWSA ()

MTA UWSA
()

UWSA UNFC

UWSA KIA SSA




Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders

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The Fight For Freedom in Burma

(NDAA)

UWSA
UWSA
..
UWSA
UWSA
UWSA
- 13.7.2013

UWSA - 13.7.2013
UWSA


1.

2.

''

()

3.

UWSA

4. '' ()

''

()

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The Fight For Freedom in Burma

5. '' ()
'' ()
- 13.7.2013
TNLA - TNLA

(UNFC) TNLA KIA
TNLA
AHRC

i i

y n
i m

{


(DKBA) - DKBA ()
-

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.


7.
8.
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- Monday, 17 June 2013
()
(TNLA) - TNLA


- PNF

P.S.L.A ()


()

P.S.L.F


T.N.L.A ..
(NBF) - National Brothers Federation-NBF (NBF)

Nationalities

Brotherhood

Federation)


..

(AAPP)
(KBC)
(PCG)
(MPC)
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The Fight For Freedom in Burma

(PWO)

PSLF - PSLF
TNLA

(UWSP)
(CNF)
(PNLO)-


- 23.5.2013
(NMSP)
(SSPP)
(NDAA)
(KBC)
(PNA) -

PNO


PNA
PNA
PNA PNO ..
(PNO) -

PNO

PNA

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PNA
PNA PNO ..

z
w | z  v
z
{ z z z z
z

z
w v {

 { -

z z

z | {v

Democracy and Human Rights Without Borders


419