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Indian papers (r)
The Asian Age,
May 16, 1999
"Suu Kyi defies junta pressure"
By Stephen Coates
Rangoon, May 14: A defiant Ms Aung San Suu Kyi instated on Friday her
democratic Opposition was stronger than ever but admitted that intense
pressure from Burma's military junta had exposed internal rifts in the party.
In an interview, the Noble laureate said the government crackdown was a
kind of "test" which would ultimately strengthen her National League for
"We have stronger public support than ever." she told reporters in her
rundown party headquarters in Rangoon.
"Our official apparatus has been affected by the government, in the sense
of forcing our offices to close down. But in some ways this is, how shall I
put it, a kind of test." Ms Suu Kyi said her party had always had internal
difficulties but acknowledged that many members had found the going "too
tough" following a renewed crackdown in recent months.
Most recently a group of dissident MPs harshly criticized her hardline
approach to the junta, criticism which she dismissed as the result of
"collaboration with the military intelligence."
Thousands of NLD members have been detained since the NLD issued a call
last year for a meeting of the Parliament elected when the party swept a
1990 general election. The junta never recognized the results.
Ms Aung San Suu Kyi said the crackdown had taken a toll on the party's
membership and infrastructure but the NLD would emerge stronger. "from this
it emerges who are the really dedicated members, who are the really strong
ones," she said, launching an attack on a handful of party members who have
publicly said her approach has resulted in a stalemate.
"I think one would have to admit there were a certain number of opportunist
in the NLD," she said. "This is not a bad way of weeding them out. The ones
who are left are really dedicated ones, who are committed to the cause of
democracy and not to their own cause. I think one dedicated member is worth
a thousand wishy-wishy ones," she said.
For months the official press has printed regular lists of party workers
whom it says have left the NLD because of disillusionment with the