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BurmaNet News: November 7, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
________November 7, 2000   Issue # 1657__________

*AFP: Myanmar junta makes last-ditch attempt to head off ILO sanctions 
*AP: Official: Three injured as Myanmar troops fight with Karen rebels  
*Myanmar Times : Dalton to leave town 
*Taipei Times: Burmese scholar drops integrity to rewrite country's 
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Junta and Wa continue buildup

*Mizzima: Chins from Burma stranded in a Pacific Island Chins from Burma 
stranded in a Pacific Island 
*Bangkok Post: Tourism hit by fighting, casino ban 

*Xinhua: Myanmar-Japan Business Committee Meeting Held in Yangon 
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Myanmar junta makes last-ditch attempt to head off ILO sanctions 

Tuesday, November 7 7:44 PM SGT 

YANGON, Nov 7 (AFP) - The Myanmar government said Tuesday it had issued 
a powerful directive banning forced labor, in a sign of its deep concern 
over sanctions threatened by the International Labor Organisation (ILO). 

The decree from the feared State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) 
represents the highest level order available in the military-run country 
and backs a Home Ministry directive on the same issue. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win said the SPDC handed down the 
directive on November 1 in line with a request from the ILO team which 
visited last month to assess Myanmar's progress in stamping out forced 

"There are some points that the ILO wanted spelled out in detail -- that 
forced labor is illegal and an offence under existing law," he told AFP. 

"This order has been circulated right down to the village level and 
posted in every police station," he said. 

"It states that all responsible persons including the armed forces, 
police and local authorities should not requisition forced labor." 

The ILO's governing body is now meeting in Geneva to consider the team's 
report and decide how far Myanmar has gone towards complying with 
recommendations it laid down two years ago. 

If Myanmar is found not to have done enough, the ILO could bring down a 
range of measures, including further sanctions from its member nations 
that could deal a mortal blow to the already decrepit economy. 

The deliberations come at a time when the junta is already under intense 
pressure from the United Nations to fall into line with the 
international community or risk being permanently branded a pariah 

By all accounts, the military government is taking the ILO's threat very 
seriously and has repeatedly said it is willing to cooperate. 

Khin Maung Win said that with the decree from the SPDC, Myanmar had now 
done everything possible to convince the ILO it was serious about 
eliminating forced labor. 
"I am convinced that the government is showing the necessary political 
will to ensure there are no more instances of forced labor," he said. 

"But how the governing body will decide is hard to forecast. We hope for 
the best but we are prepared for the worst." 

The minister said another cause for concern was that Myanmar was not 
even sure what punishment it could face if the ILO decision went against 

"No one in the ILO really knows what the implications are because there 
is no precedent for such a resolution," he said. 

Myanmar still refuses to officially admit that forced labor is a 
problem, despite reams of evidence from rights groups and a 1998 ILO 
committee of inquiry which found the practice was "widespread and 

Refugees who escape over the border in Thailand tell depressingly 
consistent accounts of military raids on villages, where even the old 
and infirm are rounded up and put to work carrying weapons and supplies. 

While their crops wither and livestock die, they are forced to work long 
hours for no pay and insufficient food. And in the worst cases, those 
who are unable to keep up are beaten or killed. 
The SPDC directive is seen as speaking directly to the powerful military 
commanders fighting insurgencies in Myanmar's north that the brutal 
practice will not be tolerated. 

Some commanders have argued that "portering" is a traditional practice 
that has been going on for centuries and which is vital to the 
operations of the cash-strapped military.

AP: Official: Three injured as Myanmar troops fight with Karen rebels  

Nov 7, 2000

MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) 

Myanmar troops attacked an ethnic Karen rebel base with artillery and 
mortar during heavy fighting that left three Karen villagers injured, 
officials said Tuesday.   A Thai official said about 20 shells landed on 
Thai soil during the fighting Monday between the rebel Karen National 
Union and Myanmar government soldiers.   The fighting occurred in a 
Myanmar border area opposite Phop Phra district of Thailand's 
northwestern Tak province, about 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of 

No Thais were reported injured, the official said, but one ethnic Karen 
women was seriously wounded and two other Karen men suffered minor 
injuries after the two sides exchanged fire throughout the evening.   
The three people were brought to Thailand for treatment, said the 
official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.   

A senior KNU official, who did not want to be named, claimed 12 Myanmar 
soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the fighting. . The figures 
could not be independently confirmed. The KNU's claims in the past have 
sometimes turned out to be exaggerated.   The KNU official said two 
Myanmar battalions attacked the KNU camp at Wei Na Na Hta, using 81 mm 
and 60 mm mortars. The Karens claim to have held the base.   The Myanmar 
government was not immediately available for comment.   The end of the 
rainy season, which began in July and tails off in late October, has 
heralded a new round of fighting with the KNU, which has been battling 
for greater autonomy in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for five decades.  
 Since last week, hundreds of forces from the Myanmar army and the 
allied Democratic Karen Buddhist Army have been launching attacks on KNU 
bases near the border.   

The KNU once controlled a huge part of eastern Myanmar but in recent 
years lost its last enclaves along the border with Thailand. Its forces, 
thought to number 2,000 to 3,000, now fight in mobile guerrilla units.   
Most ethnic armies have reached cease-fires with the military regime of 
Myanmar, but the KNU has held out, saying it will only give up its armed 
struggle if its political rights are guarantee.


Myanmar Times : Dalton to leave town 

November 6-12

THE Chief Technical Advisor of the WA Alternative Development Project, 
John Dalton, is leaving his post just short of the end of his two-year 
contract.Mr Dalton was instrumental in setting up and managing the first 
phase of the Wa project. Implemented in 1998 it was the first of its 
kind in the Wa Special Region 2.

"It has been a very positive experience working with the Wa community 
and Myanmar professionals," Mr Dalton said."I think that we have laid 
the foundations of an excellent project. The team that remains is 
extremely capable and, providing that they get strong support from the 
institution involved, particularly the UNDCP, the Wa Authorities and the 
Government of Myanmar, then the project will continue to support the Wa 
objective of eliminating opium poppy cultivation in the area by 2005."

An independent evaluation of the project conducted in April determined 
that it had been well established, and should be continued. The project 
is funded by the US and Japanese governments. Additional contributions 
for the second phase of the project are currently being sought.Mr 
Dalton's contract was due to expire at the end of this year.He will be 
replaced by Frenchman Xavier Bouan.


Taipei Times: Burmese scholar drops integrity to rewrite country's 

A close friend of the country's ruling junta, academic and former 
president of Burma Maung Maung has written a revisionist take on the 
1988 uprising that rocked the world.  

By Bertil Lintner

Taipei Times, Nov 6, 2000. 

In August 1988, millions of people took to the streets of Burma's 
capital Rangoon (now called Myanmar and Yangon by its military regime), 
and every town and major village across the country.  

They demanded an end to 26 years of military-dominated dictatorship, and 
to a disastrous economic policy called "The Burmese Way to Socialism," 
which had turned what used to be Southeast Asia's most prosperous 
country into an economic and social wreck.  
What had begun as peaceful demonstrations turned into a bloodbath when 
the military stepped in, first to crush the demonstrations in early 
August and, when that failed, again on Sept.18 to reassert power.  

On both occasions, thousands of unarmed demonstrators were gunned down 
in massacres far bloodier than China's more publicized crackdown on its 
pro-democracy movement a year later.  
Dr Maung Maung, who served as Burma's president for a month during the 
upheaval of August-September 1988, purports to chronicle these dramatic 
events in this book.  

But it is more an attempt to rewrite history, a white-wash of one of the 
most brutal massacres in modern Asian history. More precisely, it is a 
blind eulogy to Burma's ageing strongman Ne Win, and Maung Maung's 
reverence for the "Old Man" is extended even to his children and 
grandchildren. For these reasons alone, Maung Maung's book is worth 
reading because it shows how far an academic sycophant is prepared to go 
to please his mentor.  

One of the worst examples of a deliberate distortion of history is Maung 
Maung's version of Ne Win's infamous warning in July 1988 to the 
increasingly restless people of Burma, who by then had begun to protest 
against the old order: "As for the control of civil disturbances, I have 
to inform the people that when the army shoots, it shoots to hit, it 
doesn't fire into the air to scare. Therefore, I warn those causing 
disturbances that they will not be spared if in the future the army is 
brought in." However, Maung Maung quotes Ne Win as saying: "Soldiers are 
trained to shoot straight on order, not overhead into the air. Let those 
inclined to anarchy be duly warned: if they have to face the troops it 
will be no laughing matter."
But then the army didn't use violence at all. In Maung Maung's bizarre 
interpretation of what happened in Rangoon 12 years ago, some Buddhist 
monks opened fire on "looters." The president at that time and Maung 
Maung's predecessor as head of state, Sein Lwin, who became universally 
known as "the Butcher of Rangoon" for his role in the killings, was "as 
soft as soft could be."  

The people of all ages who in 1988 risked their lives to demand 
political and economic change are called "hooligans, looters, arsonists, 
headhunters" and the only reason why the world paid any attention to the 
upheavals was because "sensational news was not breaking out elsewhere 
in the world in 1988."  

But despite such far-fetched interpretations, the book contains precious 
little about the events of 1988. Nearly three quarters of the text is a 
glowing account of Ne Win and his efforts to build up Burma's armed 
forces to a formidable and "responsible" institution. It is even 
questionable whether the title of the book, "The 1988 Uprising in 
Burma," is Maung Maung's own. Nowhere in the text does he call the 
events of 1988 an "uprising." Instead, he uses "the disturbances" and 
similar terms to describe the events of 1988, echoing the military 
regime's own description of the popular uprising.  

It is far more likely that the title was given by the American scholar, 
Franklin Mark Osanka, who met Maung Maung in Burma in the mid-1990s and 
then obtained the original manuscript. Osanka's foreword to the book 
also reveals some astonishing ignorance about Burma and Maung Maung. 
Osanka, for instance, believes that Maung Maung was elected President of 
the Union of Burma on Aug. 18, 1988. Maung Maung was appointed -- not 
elected -- president on Aug. 19 by the inner circle of the then besieged 
ruling party, the Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP).  

This is a very sad book. Under different circumstances, an obviously 
intelligent and well-educated person such as Maung Maung could have been 
an outstanding scholar. But he decided to adjust his scholarship to 
please one of Asia's cruelest dictators and, in the process, to become a 
defender of mass murder. It is perhaps even more astonishing that Yale 
University's Southeast Asia Program, a respectable institution, chose to 
publish this book without a serious and objective commentary. 

Shan Herald Agency for News: Junta and Wa continue buildup

6 November 2000

No: 11 - 5

Rangoon and Wa forces are building up their positions along the border,  
said sources coming across the border.

On Saturday (4 November), 100-strong unit from LIB 330 (Mongphyak) 
arrived  in Khailong, opposite Pang Mapha District of Maehongson. LIB 
329 (also  Mongphyak) at least 100 - strong, was already there in the 
area in order to  check the movements of Yawdserk's Shan State Army that 
was reported to be  active in the area.

Since 26 October, minor clashes have been reported, prompting the local  
junta command to force the local populace to stand sentinel over the  
Nakawngmu-Homong road, west of Mongton.

It was also confirmed by another source close to the Wa army that Gen 
Khin  Nyunt, the powerful Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development 
Council  (SPDC), has assigned the United WA State Army to cooperate in 
the border  security and "development" during the meeting with Pao 
Yuchang, the Wa  commander-in-chief in mid October. (Gen. Khin Nyunt was 
attending the joint  military drills at the time, according to S.H.A.N. 
report # 10 - 11). 
The Wa leader was reported to have asked Gen Khin Nyunt whether he was  
trying to destroy both the Shans and Was indirectly to which the latter  
denied saying his motive was sincere.

The source from the Wa said, "No matter what the agreements are between  
Rangoon and Panghsang, it is up to the SSA that will decide whether or 
not  the Wa should declare war on them. So far the SSA has not managed 
to  convince the UWSA that its intentions towards the latter are not 

The source confirmed the Wa actively took part in the 22-23 September 
fight  that erupted between the junta and Shan forces near Loihtwe, 
between  Thailand's Chiangdao District and Shan State's Mongton 
Township. "We lobbed  most of our grenades against them, but they were 
lucky that few exploded,"  he said. "The reason is we are still equipped 
with our arsenal of the  Loilang Battle(1982 - 96)."

The Wa would henceforth be jointly responsible for security from Mongton 
in  the east to Mae Aw in the west, where Shan State, Thailand and the 
Karenni  meet, he said.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Mizzima: Chins from Burma stranded in a Pacific Island Chins from Burma 
stranded in a Pacific Island 

New Delhi, November 7, 2000 
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

Hundreds of Chin who fled from military repression in Burma are stranded 
in a small island in the Pacific Ocean, where they continue to face 
uncertain future, said Canada-based Chin Human Rights Organization 

About three hundreds Chins are taking shelter in Guam, a small island of 
United StateÆs territory in the Pacific Ocean. They claim that they fled 
from the brutal repression in Burma, a South East Asian country 
presently ruled by the military.
The Chin asylum-seekrs, which include Church leaders, doctors, teachers 
and political activists, are waiting for their application for refugee 
status to be determined by the United States Immigration and 
Naturalization Service (USINS).  

The Guam authority detains some of them for illegal entry into the 
territory. Majority of them survive only with the help of local 
Christian Churches and support from Chin community around the world, 
said CHRO in its Rhododendron Human Rights News Letter issued in 
ôWe have nowhere to go. We faced rampant human rights violations in our 
home country. We canÆt even conduct worship service without their (the 
military authority) permission. The people are living in constant fear 
of the Military Intelligence Serviceö, said a Chin asylum-seeker from 
Guam, who is being charged with illegal entry by the Guam authorities.  
It is not known clearly how they landed in this remote island of Pacific 


Bangkok Post: Tourism hit by fighting, casino ban 

November 6, 2000 

Local tourism has dropped by two-thirds because of fighting across the 
border in Burma and strict measures to prevent Thais from visiting a 
casino in Myawaddy.  
Samart Loyfa, Mae Sot district chief, said 500-600 tourists used to 
visit the weekend Ban Rim Moei market, near the Thai-Burmese Friendship 
Bridge. Last weekend there were only about 200.  

He blamed the decrease on a clash last month between the army and 
Burmese soldiers in Umphang district, which claimed the life a Thai 
A battle between Burmese troops and the Karen National Union opposite 
Phop Phra district was another cause for concern.  

A National Security Council ban on Thais from outside Tak crossing the 
border in Mae Sot, to prevent people visiting the casino, was also 
having an effect.  
Pol Capt Sombat Phannarong, owner of Umphang Hill Resort, said 200 
tourists have cancelled trips to the area because of the fighting.  

Only 70 people had confirmed their bookings. 

"Some tourists have cancelled bookings to visit Thi Lor Su waterfall 
because they believe it is near the war zone. "They are actually 30km 
apart," he said.  
Junta troops attack Karen strongpoint 

Tak - Burmese soldiers from the 2nd infantry battalion attacked a Karen 
National Union position at Waley Khee, about 10km from the Thai border, 
yesterday afternoon. 
A KNU source said four Burmese soldiers were killed and one Karen 
trooper wounded in the clash, opposite Phop Phra district.  

About 500 Burmese soldiers moved against the strongpoint under the 
protection of an artillery barrage, the source said. The Karen were 
commanded by Maj Nada, son of Gen Bo Mya, the KNU military leader.  

The source said the Burmese recruited villagers from Palu Camp, opposite 
Mae Sot district, to transport weapons and supplies during the 
Supamart Kasem 


_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Xinha: Myanmar-Japan Business Committee Meeting Held in Yangon 

Xinhua, Rangoon, 4 November 2000. A business cooperation
committee of Myanmar and Japan Federations of Chambers of
Commerce and Industries (CCI) reviewed their cooperation in the last few 
years at a coordination meeting held here.

The third meeting, attended by officials of the two federations of CCI, 
discussed issues on trade and investment, nurturing of small-and 
medium-sized businesses, human resources
development and previous agreements reached between them.
The meeting will also lay down future plans for their cooperation. 
Speaking at the opening session of the coordination meeting on Friday, 
Myanmar Minister of Hotels and Tourism and Acting Minister of Commerce 
Major-General Saw Lwin said Myanmar is inviting investment and 
technology of Japan to develop the country by exploiting its rich 
natural resources, adding that profits will be shared equally among the 

The business cooperation committee of the Myanmar-Japan federations of 
CCI was established in February 1998, aimed at enhancing bilateral 
economic cooperation between the two countries.

During the past four years, Japan's investment in Myanmar dropped from 
72.148 million U.S. dollars in fiscal year 1996-97 to 26.85 million in 
1997-98, to 4.69 million in 1998-99 and to 5.095 million in 1999-2000 
which ended in March, according to official statistics.

However, Japan's total investment injected into Myanmar so far amounted 
to 232.88 million dollars since late 1988  when Myanmar opened to 
foreign investment, ranking the ninth in foreign investor line-up. 

Meanwhile, Myanmar-Japan bilateral trade was valued at 321.92 million 
dollars in 1999-2000, accounting for 8.44 percent of Myanmar's total 
foreign trade in the year.

Japan stands as Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner after 
Singapore, Thailand and China.


_____________________ OTHER  ______________________



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