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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________ August 9, 2000, Issue # 1592 __________

Muslim Information Centre of Burma: Prisoners sent to front lines in 
Karen state 
CFC: Junta Orders Burning of 16,000 Bibles, Halts Church Construction
RSF: Burmese journalist San San Nwe starts her seventh year in 

Times of India: [Right Wing Hindu group reopens Burma office]
Amnesty International: Possible forcible return of asylum-

AFP: Myanmar uprising marked by US exiles 
Kyodo News: Myanmar dissidents ask Japan not to help junta

Xinhua: Thai Deputy PM on Trade with, Investment in Burma 
The New Straits Times: Business: Amalgamated Metal to build acid 
plant in Myanmar 
The Guardian (UK): Letter--Blind to genocide 
The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Muslim Information Centre of Burma: Prisoners sent to front lines in 
Karen state 

August,7 , 2000.

On June, 15, 2000, State Peace and Development Council(SPDC) 
authorities sent 350 prisoners from Insein jail to Shwe Gwan Porter-
recruiting camp, in Pa-an district of Karen state. These prisoners 
are being used as porters in the front lines by regional  army 
Battalions No. 210  and

 According to a porter, U Twe Han from Rangoon, who escaped with 
three others to the Thai-Burma border, two porters from his 8 man-
group were killed in the mine explosion and the other three were shot 
dead when re-arrested by the SPDC soldiers.

U Twe Han said that SPDC authorities arrested him in Rangoon on 
January, 2, 2000 when he was returning home from cinema and was 
sentenced to three years imprisonment for the so-called involvement  
in anti-SPDC activities, but he said that he did not know any anti-
SPDC party.

700 prisoners recruited as porters in Karen state of Burma

Until July, 17, 2000,  700 prisoners were recruited to the Myaing 
Galay porter- recruiting camp in  Pa-an district of Karen state. 
Among them, 200 prisoners from Mandalay jail, 300 from Pakokku 
jail and  200 from Sagaing jail.

The porters are being used in the front lines by Captain Aung Kyaw 
Moe of Battalion No.81 and Major Myo Nyunt of Battalion No. 85. Both 
Battalions are under Brigade No.22.

According to an escapee, U Tha Tun (24 years) from Pyinmana, 15 
porters were killed in the mine-explosion and seven porters died of 
ill-treatments, malnutrition and other diseases during his stay in 
the front lines.



July, 2000

In June 2000, the SPDC officials in Tamu ordered 16,000 copies of the 
Bible to be burned in Tamu, Sagaing Division that borders India. 
These Bibles, which were seized last year by the Burmese Army, are in 
Chin, Karen and other ethnic languages. Leaders of the Council of 
Churches in Tamu area are approaching the Burmese military regime not 
to burn the Bibles.  An appeal was also made in early July of this 
year by the Myanmar Baptist Convention, the organization that 
represents all Baptist Churches in Burma, to the top SPDC officials 
in Rangoon.  As of today, they received no reply from the Army. 

Early 1999, the Burmese Army also seized 30,000 copies of Bible 
written in Chinese language and which had been kept in the military 
store rooms in Kaley Wa, Sagaing Division.  Every church member was 
afraid to claim these Bibles.

In May and June, 2000, the Military Intelligence of the Burmese Army  
ordered all church building construction in Tiddim area of Chin State 
to stop. The buildings included the Evangelical Baptist Church in 
Myoma Quarter, Faith Bible Theological Seminary in Lawibual Quarter, 
Sakollam Baptist Church,  and Lawibual Baptist Church.

During first week of July 2000, worship services at the Lai Baptist 
Church on No. 41 U Aung Min Street, Ward 2, Mayangone, Bayint Naung 
Post Office, Yangoon, Myanmar. Most of the Chin people in the Rangoon 
area attend  worship services here.  At present, the congregation is 
worshipping at Myanmar Institute of Theology at Seminar Hill, Insein 
near Rangoon.  The church has been closed since June 2000 in spite of 
church leaders requests for reopening.


RSF: Burmese journalist San San Nweh, RSF 1999 prize-winner, starts 
her seventh year in detention

4 August 2000

SOURCE: Reporters sans frontieres (RSF), Paris

(RSF/IFEX) - On 5 August 1994, San San Nweh, journalist, writer and 
political activist, was arrested in Rangoon (Burma) by the military 
security police (MIS). She is currently serving a ten-year prison 
sentence for "spreading information harmful to the state" with the 
aim of "causing trouble". Since her arrest, she has been cooped up in 
a ten square  metre cell in the women's wing of Insein prison in 
Rangoon. San San Nweh is subjected to interrogations by the MIS and 
to collective harassment. Prison wardens have repeatedly refused to 
provide the medical care she requires. 

According to the latest information supplied by her family, San San 
Nweh is very weak and is suffering from several diseases: high blood 
pressure which could cause a heart attack at any stage; arthritic 
rheumatism which already caused an onset of paralysis in 1998; kidney 
infection; and thrombocytopenia (an abnormal decrease in the number  
of platelets in the blood) that causes repeated haemorrhaging. Prison 
authorities recently allowed here to go to the prison infirmary alone 
during the day. This "privilege" enables her to rest on a bed and to 
have access to certain basic medicines. But the critical treatment 
she requires is still refused and she has to sleep in her unsanitary 
cell at night.

San San Nweh shares her cell with three other persons from the 
National League for Democracy (LND, an opposition party led by Aung 
San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1991), Daw San San, elected 
representative of the LND in 1990, Daw Bo Ma and Daw May Win Myint.  
The roof of the cell is very low and there is only a tiny window, so 
that air cannot circulate normally. Prisoners sleep on bamboo mats on 
the ground. The toilet - a mud bowl in the corner of the room - is 
only cleared once a day. From 6 a.m., the women are forced to sit 
cross-legged on the ground with their heads bowed. Speaking is 
forbidden and disobedience is sanctioned. San San Nweh does, however, 
have the "privilege" of being allowed to read religious books. Once a 
day, for fifteen minutes, prisoners are taken to the "shower" where 
they are allowed to talk.

In March 2000, San San Nweh's daughter, Ma Myat Mo Mo Tun, was 
released after serving a five-year jail sentence. They had been 
detained together for a long time. San San Nweh is still very 
concerned about her six children, deprived of resources since the  
death of their father and imprisonment of their mother. Her family 
has been making huge sacrifices for the past six years to collect the 
180 Francs (approx. US$25) per month needed to take food to her in 
prison (the average monthly salary in Rangoon is 350 Francs, or 
US$48, per family).

Since August 1994, San San Nweh has been regularly interrogated by 
members of the MIS, who are omnipresent in the Insein jail. According 
to a former prisoner, they sometimes go to her cell, put a cloth sack 
over her head and take her to the interrogation room. According to 
her daughter, the authorities regularly propose she sign a document 
undertaking to give up all LND activities, in exchange for her 
release. San San Nweh has always refused this blackmail.

To RSF's knowledge, the journalist has not been tortured, but 
repeated interrogations tire her enormously. Some prisoners bribe the 
guards to avoid these sessions of "psychological torture".

___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________

Times of India: [Right Wing Hindu group reopens Burma office] 

The Times of India News Service, 1 August 2000

NEW DELHI: Myanmar, ruled by the military for the past decade, may 
soon witness a different type of khaki: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak 
Sangh is about to open a shakha in Yangon, formerly Rangoon.

According to a report in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the RSS has 
decided to restart its activities in Myanmar after a gap of four 
decades. Apparently with the blessings of a section of the military 
junta, the organisation has begun to rebuild its Yangon branch. The 
organisation has apparently convinced the Burmese generals that 
Hinduism and Buddhism are ``branches of the same tree''. General 
Maung Aye - the Burmese army commander thought to be keen to play 
India off against big brother China - is said to be one of the 
patrons of the saffron brotherhood.

So is the RSS looking east as part of a plan to restore the former 
glory of Akhanda Bharat? The organisation says no, although it does 
believe that the ``cultural unity'' between Buddhism and Hinduism 
could be an ideal defence against China. 

Although New Delhi has been cultivating Maung Aye, the external 
affairs ministry knows nothing about the RSS's new geostrategic 

When contacted, RSS pracharak and BJP vice-president JP Mathur said 
RSS activity -- sometimes under the name Bharatiya Swayamsevak Sangh 
or Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh -- has been taking place regularly in many 
countries in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. ``I myself attended 
such camps in Britain and America,'' Mathur remarked.

So will the people of Burma be treated to the sight of spindly legs 
sticking out under ballooning `knickers' and angry tracts against 
Christian missionaries? Only time will tell.



Amnesty International: Possible forcible return of asylum-

 8 August 2000 

INDIA               Ethnic Chin from Myanmar

Scores of ethnic Chin are reported to have been forcibly returned to 
Myanmar from the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram, and handed 
over to the Myanmar armed forces. Hundreds more are reportedly 
detained and facing deportation. Amnesty International is concerned 
that many of those who have been detained may have well-founded fears 
of persecution and possibly torture in Myanmar, and are not able to 
claim asylum in India. 

Up to 50,000 ethnic Chin from Myanmar are estimated to be living in 
Mizoram, which borders on Myanmar. At least 87 were reportedly 
forcibly returned on 4 August, and several hundred more were 
reportedly detained in the past few days. The authorities claim the 
Chin are illegal immigrants and are working illegally.

Among those detained are reported to be relatives of a member of the 
political opposition in Myanmar. Amnesty International believes that 
they would be at risk of torture and imprisonment if they were 
There are fears that there will be further arrests and deportations, 
and many Chin have reportedly gone into hiding.

Those detained are reportedly held in several jails and police posts 
in the state, under the Foreigners Act (see below), which makes no 
provision for refugees and does not allow those detained to seek 


__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________

AFP: Myanmar uprising marked by US exiles 

WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (AFP) - Exiled Myanmar activists on Tuesday held 
protests and vigils in the United States in memory of hundreds of pro-
democracy demonstrators gunned down in a 1988 revolt against the 
junta in Yangon.   Around 150 activists, according to organisers' 
estimates, held a demonstration outside Myanmar's embassy here, 
calling on the country's ruling core of generals to hand over power 
to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.   

"The activists' campaign keeps going and is getting stronger and 
stronger," said Steven H Moe, spokesman for the National Coalition 
Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), which considers itself a 
government in exile.   Protestors on Tuesday targeted Japan, which 
Aung San Suu Kyi suspects of preparing to resume commercial links 
with Myanmar, the former Burma, severed after the uprising, on August 
8 1988.   

"We are very concerned about ongoing labor rights absuses in Burma, 
including forced labour," said Jeremy Woodrum of the Free Burma 
coalition.   "We are also concerned about the financial and political 
assistance being offered Burma by the Japanese government."   Japan 
said it is willing to increase a humanitarian aid program to Myanmar, 
but only if it embraces reform.   

US activists also planned to hold a candlelit vigil outside the home 
of the Myanmar ambassador to the United States.   Their 
commemorations followed a series of events in Thailand and around the 
world to mark the 12th anniversary of the uprising.   Hundreds of 
democracy demonstrators were gunned down on August 8, 1988, paving 
the way for a junta to take power the next month from longtime 
military strongman General Ne Win.   The junta allowed free elections 
in 1990, which Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for 
Democracy (NLD) won convincingly, but the military still refuses to 
recognise the result. 


Kyodo News: Myanmar dissidents ask Japan not to help junta

Tokyo Aug 8, 2000.

A group of Myanmar dissidents on Tuesday asked the Japanese 
government to "cease all aid" to Myanmar and urge Japanese companies 
not to invest there until the military junta hands over power to 
elected parliamentarians. 

About 50 Myanmar dissidents staged a rally in front of the  Foreign 
Ministry in Tokyo to mark the 12th anniversary of the junta's 
suppression of a pro-democracy uprising. They said similar protests 
were planned Tuesday at Japanese embassies around the world. 

The protesters sumitted a statement to the ministry calling for Japan 
to end all financial support for Myanmr. The statement also accused 
Tokyo of "overtly trying to resume help" to the junta folowing its 
suspension of official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar in 
They also asked Japan to withdraw its financial support for the 
Salween River dam project in their country, to release detained 
political asylum seekers, and to investigate a case in which they 
said two Myanmar dissidents were beaten by Myanmar officials at a 
junta-sponsored concert in Tokyo in 1999. 

Japanese officials attending a two-day workshop in Yangon in late 
June on Japanese support  for economic reforms in Myanmar, reportedly 
said they were considering resuming ODA to the country as part of 
humanitarian assistance to countries surrounding the Mekong River. 
The forum, comprising government, industry and university delegates 
from the two sides, reportedly plans to agree at its next meeting 
this fall in Tokyo on specific short-term targets for Myanmar's 
reforms and to hammer out technical assistance measures that Japan 
may take. 

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

The New Straits Times: Business: Amalgamated Metal to build acid 
plant in Myanmar 

Wednesday, August 9 6:31 PM SGT 

AMALGAMATED Metal Corporation Bhd will construct a US$8.9 million 
(RM33.82 million) sulphuricacid plant in Myanmar making it the 
largest investment from Malaysia since the economic slowdown in 1997. 
Business Development manager Kenny Teoh said the plant will become 
one of the largest sulphuricacid plants in Myanmar with a capacity to 
produce 100 tonnes a month.  "There are many small sulphuric acid 
plants in Myanmar but none as large as the one we are going to 
build," he said. The company will handle the project together with 
its local partner Serge Pun and Associates with AMC holding a 60 per 
cent stake in the project.  
"We are in the process of completing the engineering design of the 
plant. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin next year," he 
said, adding that the plant would be operational by the end of 2001.  

Teoh said the product manufactured will be for domestic use only.  

Sulphuric acid is mainly used to manufacture urea, ryons, and to 
extract copper.  
"This is AMC's first investment in Myanmar. The company plans to 
further invest in the country when the opportunity arises," he said, 
adding that whatever profit realised by the plant will be reinvested 
in Myanmar.  

AMC is invloved in engineering and fabrication activities. The 
company has been actively involved in the petrochemical as well as 
the oil and gas industries.  

In fact, the company has participated in the construction of many 
chemical plants in Peninsular 

Malaysia is the fourth largest investor in Myanmar, among 23 investor 

Out of total investment of over US$7 billion, investment by Malaysian 
companies as of December 1998 was over US$580 million. 


Xinhua: Thai Deputy PM on Trade with, Investment in Burma 

RANGOON (Aug. 6) XINHUA - Bilateral trade between Burma and Thailand 
is progressing well in spite of the fact that both countries' 
economies suffered from certain crisis in the last couple of years, 
said Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Supachai 
Panitchpakdi Saturday.

Meeting with the press at the end of the second session of the Burma-
Thai Joint Trade Commission (JTC) here Saturday evening, Supachai 
noted that like last year, the positive trade expansion for some 
years exceeded 20 percent, pointing out that highly commendable 
improvement was brought about which is tremendous jump in the export 
from Burma to Thailand of more than 76 percent in 1999.

It helps to narrow the gap of trade between the two countries, he 
said, hoping to see that the bilateral trade be more balanced.

Thailand has large surplus in trade with Burma. He believes that 
there will be more import demand of goods from Burma to Thailand, 
emphasizing that the Thai government has placed the highest priority 
to cross-border trade with Burma. 
He disclosed that Thailand has set up a Cross-Border Trade Promotion 
Committee, which he chairs.

He stressed the need for both sides to improve the payment system and 
banking relations to expedite the implementation of banking 
agreements and memorandums of understanding signed in the last few 

He recommends more banks to be involved in the MOUs in addition to 
the existing only one Thai bank in the banking process dealing with 
the private sector of the two countries.

He said Thailand would help Burma solve its trade deficit which is 
likely brought about by allowing more open trade.

On investment, Supachai went on to say that Thailand encourages more 
Thai investment into Burma, saying that Thailand is now the third 
largest investor in the country and agreeing that there would be more 
rooms for investment between the two countries. At the moment 
Thailand is on the verge of signing an agreement on investment 
promotion and protection, especially in the areas of propagation of 
seeds for various types of agricultural products and agro-industry.

As to tourism, he said Thailand would help Burma promote tourist in-
flow by upgrading coastal Dawei area in Southern part of the country 
to a tourist spot. 
With regard to fishery, he said that Thailand has been providing 
assistance to Burma in the marine shrimp propagation project until 
its completion, adding that the implementation has been quite 

The two-day second session of the Burma -Thai JTC, which began on 
Friday, was attended by Burmese delegation, led by Commerce Minister 
Brigadier-General Pyi Sone, and its Thai counterpart, headed by 
Supachai who arrived here on Thursday for the session.


The Guardian (UK): Letter--Blind to genocide 

Blind to genocide 

Saturday July 29, 2000
The Guardian

I read with anguish Maggie O'Kane's admirable article on the tragedy 
of Burma (The generals, G2, July 27) for a very personal reason: my 
dear son, James, is almost one year into a savage 17-year sentence to 
be served in solitary confinement and foul conditions. 

His "crime" was to peacefully express his concern for the suffering 
of the Burmese people. 

James saw at first hand the result of the junta's atrocities. He 
lived for months in a camp for the internally displaced before it was 
torched by the Burmese army. Burma remains a signatory to the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet tolerates no dissent and 
practises genocide. It remains a member of the International Labour 
Organisation and practises the brutality of slavery. Mr Jamieson of 
Premier Oil denies any accountability for the ethnic cleansing 
required to keep the oil pipeline. James met him last year and 
received the same answer as your newspaper - "he is unaware of any 
abuse". There are none so blind as those who will not see. 

Diana Mawdsley 
Brancepeth, Co Durham 

*Maggie O'Kane's article on the genocide against the Karen people 
brings much-needed publicity to the plight of this suffering 
minority. I secured a debate in parliament in April on this subject 
and urged the British government to ban all new investment in Burma 
by UK companies, as the US has done. Sadly, the British government 
continues to hesitate. The fact that Premier Oil has ignored the 
Foreign Office's calls for disinvestment proves that nothing short of 
a ban will stop their involvement. 

The Karen people were our faithful allies during the second world war 
when the Japanese invaded Burma. Many were brutally tortured and 
killed for their loyalty to the British. How have we repaid them? By 
allowing British companies to get rich on their backs.

Edward Leigh MP

_____________________ OTHER  ______________________



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