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Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: August 22, 2000

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______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________August 22, 2000   Issue # 1602__________

NOTED IN PASSING:  "The whole country is constipated.  Everything has 
to come from the top."

David Mawdsley, father of imprisoned democracy activist James 
Mawdsley.  See PA News: Parents' Anger as Jailed Briton's Appeal 
*DVB: Dismissals said causing restiveness among defence personnel
*AFP: Myanmar university re-opening a fraud, says Aung San Suu Kyi 
*Reuters: Suu Kyi urges students to help Myanmar democracy
*SHAN: Wa Build-Up On the Border Continues
*MIC: Surgeons Successfully Replant Traumatically Amputated Crushed 
Forearm of Patient
*Bangkok Post:  Workers flee Burma after army clash

*Far Eastern Economic Review: Japanese Persuasion in Burma
*PA News: Parents' Anger as Jailed Briton's Appeal Fails
*Burma Debate: Mission shows Rangoon accepts need to open up
*AFP: Chinese court hands death sentence, jail terms to Myanmar 
*AP: Indian separatist leader in Thai jail seeks pardon 
*Myanmar Times and Business Review: Garment Factory Boss Replies to 
*Xinhua: New Antimony Plant Goes Into Production in Myanmar
*USCR: India's Forcible Return of Burmese Chin Refugees Condemned

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

DVB: Dismissals said causing restiveness among defence personnel

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
August 22, 2000

Dismissals said causing restiveness among defence personnel

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 20 Aug 00

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 20th August

The ongoing dismissals, removals, and purges within the top 
leadership of
the State Peace and Development Council [SPDC] army are making the 
SPDC defence services
restive and the SPDC generals are having to attend to the problem 

Recently Vice-Adm Nyunt Thein, navy commander in chief, was given
retirement and SPDC Deputy Minister for National Planning and 
Economic Development Brig-Gen Zaw Tun was dismissed. Some battalion 
and divisional commanders were dismissed during the tour of 
Tenasserim Division and the Coastal Region Command by SPDC Vice-
Chairman Gen Maung Aye last month.

These developments have caused much dissatisfaction and restlessness 
within the defence
services that the SPDC government had to issue a directive dated 18th 

The directive instructs regional commanders, divisional commanders, 
regional commanders, deputy battalion commanders, strategic 
commanders, and tactical commanders to go to the battalions and units 
in the field and hold discussions with the soldiers to make them 
understand the situation. In accordance with the directive, Maj-Gen 
Thiha Thura Sit Maung, commander in chief of the Coastal Region 
Command, met with members of battalions and units in Mergui and 
Kawthaung Districts and Deputy Commander Brig-Gen Tin Latt met with 
the soldiers in Tavoy District.

Deputy Commander Brig-Gen Tin Latt and party visited the 104th Light 
Infantry Battalion based at Tawgye village in Tavoy District at 0900 
this morning, 20th August, and met
with junior officers and soldiers.

The deputy commander blamed broadcasts from the foreign radio 
stations for
the restiveness within the defence services and strictly forbade all 
dependents and rank and file in
the battalions and units from listening to foreign radio stations 
such as the BBC, VOA, DVB, and RFA. The deputy commander issued an 
order saying that those who listen to these radio stations will be 
severely punished.


AFP: Myanmar university re-opening a fraud, says Aung San Suu Kyi 

BANGKOK, Aug 22 (AFP) - The re-opening of Myanmar's universities last 
month after a suspension in the wake of a 1996 student uprising is a 
sham aimed at defusing criticism of the regime, opposition leader 
Aung San Suu Kyi said Tuesday. 

 The leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) spoke in a 
videotaped message smuggled out of military-run Myanmar by a group of 
foreign activists who were invited to an NLD education forum in 
Yangon Monday. 

 Aung San Suu Kyi urged governments and student groups to campaign 
for education to be made freely available in Myanmar, and not to be 
used as a political tool.   "The universities have been re-opened 
because of pressure on the government but this is a mere surface job 
to make people believe there has been progress in Myanmar," she said. 

 The Nobel laureate said political change must be achieved before the 
education system is reformed because the two were inextricably 

 "We would like governments and the student organisations of the 
world to think of education in Burma as part of our broader political 
situation," she said, using the country's former name.  At a press 
conference in Bangkok, the academics, youth workers and student union 
representatives among the group who travelled to Yangon delivered a 
damning report on the state of the universities. 

 "Burma's education system is in dire straits. The students know this 
and reject it as a sham," said Graham Bailey of the Free Burma 
Campaign in South Africa.   "Education is being used as a political 
tool and people are being prevented from learning how to think." 

 The NLD believed only 25,000 students had returned to classes, far 
fewer than the military's claim of 60,000, they said. Even worse, the 
academic year has been compressed into three months to push through a 
student backlog caused by 12 years of sporadic closures. 

 The activists said students have returned to their studies under 
unacceptable conditions, including being compelled to swear an oath 
of allegiance to the junta. 

 Campuses have been moved far out of Yangon to rural sites chosen for 
their close proximity to military barracks where any dissident 
activity can be quickly suppressed.   This was proving the main 
barrier to students resuming their studies, they said. Some students 
were forming study groups and pooling their funds to enable one 
member to travel out to the campus and take notes for the others. 

 Teachers and text books were scarce and many courses were being 
studied by correspondence. 
 Myanmar's universities have been sporadically closed since a popular 
uprising in the summer of 1988 threatened to topple the military 

 The Yangon junta imposed strict restrictions on universities in the 
wake of a student revolt in December 1996, formally suspending 
classes for all second and third-year university students. 
 The activists said the military government was forced to open the 
universities because of criticism from fellow Association of 
Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) members. 

 Norwegian Worldview Rights activist Ronny Hansen said the state of 
the education system was seen as deplorable even by ASEAN governments 
who had given their tacit approval to the regime. 

 "It's no coincidence that they announced the opening on the same day 
that the ASEAN meeting opened here in Bangkok," he said.   "Even the 
most conservative governments in this region said they would not 
accept the situation," he said, adding that the Myanmar government 
was believed to be hoping for improved diplomatic and economic 
support in return. 

 Sources within Myanmar have confirmed that despite the re-opening of 
schools, higher education there is far from functioning normally. The 
majority of students do their coursework by correspondence and 
campuses are almost always empty. 

 One bitter parent said they were "virtual schools" in which "people 
don't learn anything." 
 Myanmar authorities insist they place a high priority on education. 
The education ministry has claimed the level of higher education 
is "on a par with the developed countries of the region". 

 The claims are at odds with the fact that only 0.5 percent of 
Myanmar's Gross National Product is allocated to education, compared 
to an average of 2.7 percent in other Southeast Asian countries. 


Reuters: Suu Kyi urges students to help Myanmar democracy

By Andrew Marshall 

 BANGKOK, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Opposition leader and Nobel laureate 
Aung San Suu Kyi urged the world's students to put pressure on their 
governments to push for democracy in Myanmar in a rare interview 
released on Tuesday. 

 In a videotaped interview obtained by Reuters, Suu Kyi said during a 
forum on education in Myanmar's capital Yangon on Monday that the 
recent reopening of universities in Myanmar did not represent 

 ``The consensus of opinion is that the universities have been 
reopened because of pressure, external and internal, and this is a 
mere surface job to make people think that there has been progress,'' 
she said. 

 ``But in fact there has been no progress. The students have been 
made to give undertakings to the effect that they will not engage in 
politics, in short that they will do whatever the authorities require 
them to do.'' 

 She said there had been complaints that curricula had been changed 
and there was uncertainty about the length of university terms and 
when exams would take place. 

 ``So there are more questions than answers about the reopening of 
universities,'' she said. 


 Suu Kyi said students around the world should keep up pressure on 
their governments over Myanmar. 

 ``It's governments which are crucial in bringing about political 
change, but the people are crucial in putting pressure on their 
governments to do the right kind of things, and this is where 
students come in,'' she said. 

 ``Students everywhere, all over the world, are very very effective 
in getting their government to see what should be done, what ought to 
be done, especially with regard to such basic needs as human rights 
and education and development.'' 

 Suu Kyi said education in Myanmar would not improve until the 
country adopted democracy. 
 ``Democracy in Burma first, and everything else follows,'' she 
said.   Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won elections 
in May 1990 by a landslide but has never been allowed to govern. 

 Its members have been jailed, placed under house arrest or 
restricted by the ruling generals, who say the country is not ready 
for Western-style democracy. 

 Suu Kyi and her party have run a high-profile but so far 
unsuccessful campaign to bring change to the country and the military 
government appears as firmly in power as ever. 

 Last month around 60,000 Myanmar students restarted classes after 
the reopening of campuses shut down more than three years ago after 
pro-democracy rallies. 

 Yangon's ruling generals ordered the closure of more than 30 
universities and colleges a few days before final examinations in 
December 1996, after student demonstrations at campuses and on the 
streets of the capital. 

 More than 100,000 students were affected, and hundreds of thousands 
more who finished school since 1996 are still awaiting the chance to 
start university studies. 


SHAN: Wa Build-Up On the Border Continues

22 August 2000

No: 8-7

Shan Herald Agency for News

Reporter: Maihoong

The buildup along The Thai border by the United Wa State Army is 
despite the monsoons, according to S.H.A.N. reporter, Maihoong.

Namyoom, 7 miles from BP-1 (border pass between Shan State's Mongton 
Thailand's Chiangdao in Chiangmai province), along the road to 
Mongton, the 
township seat, has become a supply depot. It used to be a 30-
household Lahu 
village until June this year. But since then over a hundred new 
houses and 
buildings have been springing up from the main village to Nawng 
Talang in 
the southeast.

Nawng Talang (Talang Lake) is also known as Nawnghaeng (Dry Lake), 
it is usually almost waterless during the dry season. It together 
with Loi 
Kangti, the mountain in the west, was the scene of fierce fighting 
Khun Sa and the Wa in 1989.

"It is a hilly country with a stream flowing all year covered by the 
teak forest," sources told S.H.A.N. "It is therefore ideal for 
setting up 
dry refineries."

Materials for its buildings, numbering about 30, are being brought in 
Nawng Ook, Chiangdao District, Chiangmai Province, across the border.

Sources also told S.H.A.N. a motor road from Hopang (the Was' main 
center, northeast of Mongton) to Mongkhid, Namhukhoon, Namyoom and 
Talang, to be constructed in the coming dry season, is reported to 
already been surveyed and marked.

But being nearer to Thailand (only half a mile from the border), the 
question has cropped up about the rationality of establishing a drug 
factory. However, the Wa soldiers that the sources met appeared to be 
confident about their military prowess, the natural defenses and the 
powers-that-be behind them, reported Maihoong.


Myanmar Information Committee: Myanmar Surgeons Successfully Replant 
Traumatically Amputated Crushed Distal Forearm of Patient

Information Sheet (No.B-1485 (I) 19th August, 2000)

For the first time in Myanmar, surgeons have successfully replanted a
traumatically amputated crushed distal forearm of a 17 year old 
proving the nation's significant progress in health sector. In a 12-
surgical operation, surgeons led by Consultant Hand Surgeon Dr. Khin 
Myint successfully performed the replantation of the traumatically 
crushed left distal forearm of the patient, Maung Khaing Min Soe, at 
General Hospital. The operation which began at noon on 31 July, was
successfully completed at 2 am on 1 August. Replantation of a 
amputated crushed distal forearm was much difficult surgical 
operation and
the percentage of success was so thin. Though Myanmar surgeons have
successfully operated the replantation of the traumatic clean cut 
cases, they
had not any experience in replanting a traumatically amputated 
crushed distal
forearm. A group of surgeons was formed to conduct the operation. On 
1 August
at 6 pm, 16 hours after the successful completion of the operation, 
patient began to suffer from occlusion arteries. Thus he had to 
another surgical operation which lasted four hours. After the second
operation, the patient's health condition markedly improved. He began 
to move
his fingers and hand. At present he can move his hands.


Bangkok Post:  Workers flee Burma after army clash


Fifty Burmese workers and eight Thais working in a Karen National 
sawmill fled into Ban Mae Ja Rao yesterday, after Rangoon troops 
overran the factory.
The ensuing early morning skirmish drove the workers across the 
border. They were
afraid to return, fearing a second clash.

The hour-long exchange of mortar and gunfire could be heard several 
kilometres away.
A source said the KNU were outnumbered and eventually forced to 
retreat. A large
number of casualties was reported.

Border patrol soldiers have been put on alert for any incursion, 
after the KNU's Special
Force Battalion 101 was reported moving to recapture the mill.
The Rangoon troops torched the mill and burned processed timber.

Tak Force's Fourth Regiment in Mae Ramad district dispatched 
reinforcements along the
border for security reasons.

Bangkok Post (August 22, 2000)

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL____________________

Far Eastern Economic Review: Japanese Persuasion in Burma

Issue cover-dated August 24, 2000.

    Burma's decision to reopen its universities last month after a 
hiatus of nearly four years has been welcomed as a small sign that 
the military junta is easing its iron grip over civic life. The move 
didn't appear to have been prompted by any specific event, but a 
senior Japanese politician says his controversial "private" visit 

    December may have helped influence the decision. "I never once 
threatened to withhold cooperation if the universities didn't open," 
former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto told the Review. "But as a 
friend, it was mentioned that would be an important way to show the 
international community that the country is stable." Hashimoto met 
top Burmese ruler Than Shwe during the trip, which came shortly after 
the first meeting between the two countries' leaders in 15 years. 
Japan has been trying to nudge Burma toward economic and political 
liberalization in return for economic assistance.


PA News: Parents' Anger as Jailed Briton's Appeal Fails

Caroline Gammell, PA News

Press Association (UK) 19 August 2000. The parents of a human rights
activist sentenced to 17 years in a Burmese jail reacted with shock 
anger today after reports that his appeal had failed.

James Mawdsley, 27, of Lancashire, was jailed last September for
distributing pro-democracy pamphlets in Burma.

He has spent the majority of his prison term so far in solitary 

"The whole country is constipated," said his father, David Mawdsley.
"Everything has to come from the top. They are very cruel people and 
is what James is trying to draw attention to."   James' mother, who is
separated from her husband, was also deeply upset  by the report.

"I am glad at least to know," she said. "But the case against James 
not possibly stand up in any decently ordered society.

"If it is true, this is the end of the legal side. There is no 
legal body."

The Foreign Office was unable to confirm the report.

A spokesperson said: "We have not got any confirmation. His lawyer 
has not got
in contact with us."

Mr Mawdsley was positive about the report, saying: "I have not been 
informed by the Foreign Office but I am sure we can take it a stage 

"We have Lord Daniel Brennan QC ready to take on James' case as long 
he is
granted a visa.  "Lord Brennan has represented people abroad before - 
understands the total  injustice of James' situation and has 
his services."

Mr Mawdsley spoke to James last month and saw him in June. He said 
his son
had been keeping fit by doing circuits and weight training.

"He looked remarkably well," he said. "He has been doing weight 
training using
water bottles as weights.

"It is the solitary confinement that is really getting to him."

Mawdsley, who also holds an Australian passport, was arrested in 
Burma twice
before, and in 1998 he served 99 days of a seven-year sentence before 
pardoned on condition he would not return to Burma. After his release 
he said
he had been tortured.

He is now imprisoned in the remote north eastern town of Keng Tung, 
390 miles
north east of Rangoon.


Burma Debate: Mission shows Rangoon accepts need to open up

[Reprinted in The Bangkok Post, August 22, 2000.]

The Thai permanent representative to the UN spoke to 'Burma Debate' 
magazine about Thailand's attitude to the International Labour 
Organisation mission to Burma in May.

Did Thailand support sending the ILO technical co-operation mission 
to Burma in May?

Yes, we did. We are still in favour of the country resolving the 
problem in a peaceful,
non-pressured way if possible. So with this view in mind, of course 
we were in favour of
a technical mission going to Myanmar (Burma) to work things out.
The only question is, how successful was this technical mission? I 
believe the mandate of
the mission was to try to assist Myanmar in implementing the 
resolution of the
International Labour Conference. And that is the way countries and 
delegations will
judge it.

Of course, we were in favour of the technical mission, but there has 
to be substantive
work too. It should not be perceived as a delaying tactic.

Why do you think the government of Burma agreed to accept the mission?

This problem of forced labour has been on the table for some years. I 
think the
government of Myanmar has only lately begun to think of it as a 
serious problem that it
has to solve. We, in the region, have strongly urged them to do 
something about it.
We don't want to isolate them. We want to bring them into the 
international community. I
think all of us in the region have encouraged them to work this out. 
So I believe that this
invitation was part of an understanding on the part of the government 
of Myanmar of the
need to accommodate the international community, and of course more 
importantly, to
live up to their own commitment under the ILO Convention.

Do you think there could sincerely be some change within the 
government regarding
their views on this issue?

I think they will have to change, but the question is how fast. I 
think there is a feeling
with the regime that: "We have to change, but we are going to change 
in our way." That
is my perception. A non-democratic regime is used to deciding things 
for itself, and
interaction with outsiders is one of the things that it has to learn.

At the conference, the government of Malaysia and some other Asian 
countries co-
sponsored an alternative to the resolution of the governing body. 
Would Thailand have
been a co-sponsor given the opportunity?

When you co-sponsor something in an international forum it must be 
something that you
agree with 100%. Politically you should also do everything you can to 
convince other
countries to support it.

"Co-sponsor" means two things: first that you agree 100% with the 
text and secondly that
you want to be politically involved in advancing it. We did not agree 
100% with the text
of that resolution.

Basically, on this matter, I think the Myanmar delegation should have 
done more to
defend itself, rather than having others do it for them. The reason 
that we did not agree
with the alternative resolution was because the text did not 
encourage Myanmar enough
to abide by the resolution.

The Asean labour ministers held a meeting before the ILO conference. 
What position did
Thailand take at that meeting regarding the ILO recommendations?

Basically, I think the labour ministers wanted to give political 
encouragement to
Myanmar for them to implement the ILO resolution. Since it was held 
before the ILO
meeting, I know the Myanmar government wanted a show of political 
support. And it got
political support.

I believe the trend at that meeting was to urge Myanmar to have a 
meeting with the ILO
and to urge the ILO to accept the invitation to send a team there-to 
encourage Myanmar
and the ILO to work together, which of course we supported.

When it came to the vote on the final resolution at the ILO meeting 
in Geneva, Thailand
chose to abstain. It did not vote against the resolution, as many of 
the Asean governments
did. Why was that?

You could look at it two ways. First of all, we abstained because we 
thought the
resolution was too strong. But at the same time, we didn't vote 
against it because we also
think that Myanmar should do more to follow through on the 
recommendations of the

In your view, what does the Burmese government need to do between now 
November in order to prevent the points in the resolution from being 

It has to show a definite commitment that it's willing to work out a 
programme with the ILO to completely eliminate forced labour. It is 
not a question of:
"Okay, we will do this, we will do that." The ILO needs a road map, 
in detail, not just a
simple agreement.

One of the things the ILO suggested to the government of Burma as a
result of its technical mission was to establish an ILO presence in 
Burma. Is this
something that the Thai government would support?

This is something for the ILO and Myanmar to work out. If Myanmar 
agrees, of course
that would be very good because it would show a definite sincerity. 
In the minds of many
countries, you cannot properly observe the situation if you don't 
have a presence there,
and you cannot really supervise something from outside. But I heard 
that they are not
very agreeable to a permanent ILO presence. So I think this is, to 
some degree, a test.
What type of parameters or conditions do you feel would have to be in 
place for such a
presence to be effective?

The host country should respect the immunities and privileges of the 
ILO as an
international organisation. The ILO must be able to implement its 
work plan-it needs
freedom of movement and access to workplaces. Eventually where 
everything is worked
out to mutual satisfaction, the ILO's permanent presence should not 
be needed.
Before concluding, I would like to make a general remark. Thailand's 
attitude towards the
ILO situation is a little different from the other Asean countries, 
geo-politically and also
on social issues.

We are right next door to Myanmar. Other countries are farther away. 
They enjoy the
luxury of distance, but we the burden of proximity. Thus the first 
thing that comes to our
mind regarding Myanmar's internal policies and activities is their 
effects, especially
negative ones, on Thailand.

Look at the almost one million illegal workers from Myanmar in 
Thailand, and the large
number of displaced people on the Thai side of the Thai-Myanmar 
border. There is also
the huge production of amphetamine tablets on the Myanmar side of the 
border by ethnic Wa and their illegal distribution into Thailand. In 
this regard, forced
labour in Myanmar, among other things, is linked to these movements 
of people from
Myanmar to Thailand.

So when Asean solidarity is invoked in the International Labour 
Conference, we will
have to take into consideration these movements of people to Thailand 
and other related
negative problems, and of course their solutions. This does not mean 
good relations with
neighbours are unimportant, but there are other goals in our foreign 
policy, and when
goals contradict one another, we must know how to balance them.

Bangkok Post (August 22, 2000)

AFP: Chinese court hands death sentence, jail terms to Myanmar 

BEIJING, Aug 21 (AFP) - A court in south China's Guangxi region 
Monday handed down sentences ranging from death to prison terms to 14 
Myanmar pirates, the official Xinhua news agency reported. 

 They were charged with raiding a Taiwanese cargo ship and setting 
its 21 crew members adrift in the Andaman Sea. 

 The head of the pirate gang, Maung Htay Aung, received the death 
sentence with a two year reprieve, Xinhua said. Two others were 
handed life terms in jail, and all their personal property was 

 Eleven other pirates were sentenced to prison terms from three to 
ten years. They were also fined and deported from China. 

 Xinhua said they hijacked the Marine Master cargo ship which was 
sailing through the Andaman Sea south of Myanmar, on March 17, 1999, 
heading from China's eastern port of Zhangjiagang to Calcutta, India, 
when the pirates boarded the ship. 

 Armed with guns and knives, the pirates hijacked the ship and seized 
the cargo of alkali as well as crew members' valuables with a total 
value of more than 5.8 million yuan (more than 680,000 dollars), 
Xinhua said. 

 The crew was forced into a lifeboat, which floated for 10 days, 
before being rescued by fishermen from Thailand. 

 Meanwhile, the pirates disguised the cargo ship and sailed it to the 
port of Shantou in south China's Guangdong Province, where they sold 
the alkali, Xinhua said.   When the ship arrived at Fangchenggang in 
Guangxi for repairs on June 8, local police arrested the pirates, it 


AP: Indian separatist leader in Thai jail seeks pardon 

August 22, 2000

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ An Indian separatist leader jailed here for 
using a fake passport apologized Tuesday to the Thai government and 
asked for a pardon ``right away'' so that he may pursue peace with 
India.   ``I fully admit that all those acts of mine violate the law 
of the country of Thailand, and certainly I deserve to be punished 
accordingly,'' Thingaleng Muivah, 66, wrote in a letter to Prime 
Minister Chuan Leekpai. ``I am so sorry.'' 

 A copy of the letter was released by supporters after Muivah 
appeared in court in the resumption of his trial on charges of 
traveling on a forged document. 

 Muivah was arrested Jan. 19 at Bangkok's international airport for 
traveling on a fake South Korean passport. Two immigration officers 
who arrested him testified Tuesday. After the three-hour session, the 
trial was adjourned until Sept. 22. 

 Muivah's Maoist group, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, 
has been fighting since 1980 for a separate homeland in Nagaland, an 
Indian state on the border with Myanmar, also known as Burma. The 
group reached a cease-fire with the Indian government in 1997. 

 In July this year, with Muivah in detention in Thailand, the Naga 
separatists and Indian negotiators extended the cease-fire by a year 
after secret talks in Bangkok. 
 Muivah's supporters say that meaningful negotiations for a 
sustainable peace cannot continue as long as he is in jail. 

 Muivah used the same argument in his letter to the prime minister. 

 ``I am absolutely constrained to implore the mercy of your honor to 
come to my rescue and pardon me right away, so that I may safely 
pursue the course of the peace process,'' he wrote. 
 An official from Chuan's office observing the trial said the prime 
minister cannot interfere with judicial proceedings. He spoke on 
condition of anonymity. 

 After his arrest at Bangkok's airport, Muivah jumped bail but was 
recaptured in the southern Thai town of Songkhla in February, where 
he was arrested and convicted on a separate passport violation and 
sentenced to a year in prison. 

 Apam Muivah, the separatist leader's nephew, said hope for his 
uncle's early release is all but exhausted but the trial has given 
his group a chance to publicize its cause. 

 ``I do not have much hope that he will be released because it is 
very difficult for Thailand to help us when it may jeopardize its 
relationship with India,'' he said. 

 About three dozen supporters were in court Tuesday. 

 ``We hope Thailand will understand the political situation that 
forces (Muivah) to travel on a false passport,'' said Gina Shangkham, 
president of the Naga Women's Union, based in the Indian state of 

 She and other members of her group traveled to Thailand to observe 
the trial. 


_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Myanmar Times and Business Review: Garment Factory Boss Replies to 

 August 14, 2000

RANGOON -- Myanmar's garment industry is attracting increasing 
numbers of
foreign investors who are drawn by one key factor: the availability of
skilled labour at a regionally competitive price.  Myanmar Guston 
runs a factory employing more than 300 workers in Hlaing Tharyar 
Zone, about 20 km west of downtown Yangon.Its administrative manager, 
Kyaw Win, said Myanmar textile workersÆ wages were marginally lower 
those of their Vietnamese counterparts, and had a productivity rate 
was ôalmost equalö.

He said Guston Molinel workers were offered a range of incentives and
bonuses additional to their base wage because the company realised it 
was important to keep staff turnover low.  And like its competitors, 
company understood that its clients expected Guston to provide its
employees with a good working environment, he said.  Myanmar Times
approached the privately-run company after claims by a United States
workersÆ union, reported by the Reuters news agency, that the local 
industry used forced labour (ôUSÆ forced labour claims irresponsible, 
SPDCö, MT, 7-13 August).

ôLabour is recruited through the offices of the Labour Department 
which has
branches in all the townships in Yangon as well as in other towns
throughout the country,ö U Kyaw Win said.  ôA worker from our 
line earns K7000-K9000 per month.  Supervisors receive the 
remuneration of
K18,000-K23,000 per month.  They are entitled to free general medical 

ôThe company arranges daily commuting between the factory and homes 
of the
employees and snacks are given free in the afternoon,ö he added.The 
uses a system designed to both retain its workers, and enable them to 
some portion of their wages,ö he said. ôBonuses are given at the end 
every month for those who have had no days of absence during the 

ôA separate bonus is handed out for good performance at the start of 
a new
calendar year.ô  Most companies provide their workers with long-term
benefits like year-end bonuses and high performance bonuses to 
provide them
with a greater incentive.öôOur clients want to make sure that no
controversial issue arises on account of labour,ö he said.ôWe have to 
sure that we adhere to the standard rules and regulations.ôOur 
clients want
a continuous supply of products from us and they make sure we are 
to certain conditions from the outset.ôSometimes, they come and see 
themselves the real working conditions of our employees. 

ôWhatÆs more, we hold a general meeting once a month where anyone can
present his or her difficulties and desires,ö he said.  ôThis is 
unique to
Myanmar Guston Molinel.ö  Asked about the Reuters allegations, U Kyaw 
said:   Journalists of those media do not try to gain real access to 
work environmentö.  If a worker wants to resign, we have no right to 
him,ö  he said.  MT spoke to one worker who had left another company 
work for Guston.

ôI quit my former job to join Guston as more benefits, like casual 
are available to me,ö said Khin Khin Kyaw, a line supervisor of
Guston.ôAnother advantage is that a worker of any level can talk 
to the management.öAnother employee said his wages were adjusted 
to the price index. "Our employer cares about our welfare," said Ko 
Zaw. ôThe salaries are reviewed from time to time to be commensurate 
our performance and to be in line with the price index.ö á


Xinhua: Myanmar to Promote Export of Beans, Pulses
Xinhua, Rangoon, 19 August 2000.Myanmar is making efforts to
promote the export of quality beans and pulses since the country
enjoys the status of being the largest beans and pulses exporter
among member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN)

The remark was made here on Friday by Myanmar Minister of Agriculture
and Irrigation Major-General Nyunt Tin at a workshop on promotion of 
and pulses production and trade being held since Friday under the 
cooperation program.

Speaking at the two-day workshop sponsored by the Myanma Agriculture
Service, Nyunt Tin said Myanmar is also striving to become the second 
exporter of beans and pulses in the world while the country is 
standing the
third now.

He disclosed that Myanmar will host national focal point meeting in 
representatives of ASEAN member nations will take part.

The workshop covers discussions on means to develop the yield and 
of beans and pulses, research programs, cross-breeding of the crops 
and on
disease-resistant crops.

Beans and pulses are one of Myanmar's four pillar crops earning huge 
exchange income. The others are paddy, cotton and sugarcane.

According to official statistics, in fiscal year 1999-2000 which 
ended in
March, Myanmar exported a total of 650,700 tons of various beans and 
pulses including
Matpe and Pedesein, the two popular items of the crops.

Foreign exchange, earned through the export of beans and pulses, 
16.76 percent of the total export value.


Xinhua: New Antimony Plant Goes Into Production in Myanmar

Xinhua, Rangoon 19 August 2000.An antimony concentrate plant in 
southern Shan state, originally owned by the state and was privatized 
in last
November, went into production Friday after it was upgraded, official 
The New Light of Myanmar reported Saturday.

Taken over by the Myanmar Mayflower Mining Company under the country's
privatization scheme, the antimony concentrate plant will produce 
4,500 tons
of antimony ores annually.

The new plant was built beginning March this year and completed in 

Myanmar's mining sector is growing by 19 percent every year. However 
contribution to the gross domestic product is rather small.

In Myanmar, over 11 percent of the mining sector is owned by the 
state and
over 86 percent by the private sector.

Besides engagement in the mining sector by local private 
there is also foreign investment in the development of the sector.

According to official statistics, about a dozen foreign firms, 
those from Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore 
and the United States, are engaged in prospecting and exploration of 
resources as well as feasibility study in Myanmar since the country 
enacted the
New Mining Law in 1994.

The statistics also show that foreign investment in Myanmar's mining 
so far amounted to 522.24 million U.S. dollars in 49 projects.


USCR: India's Forcible Return of Burmese Chin Refugees Condemned

On August 18, for the third time in less than three weeks, the Indian 
authorities forcibly returned a group of Burmese Chin refugees to 
According to U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR) senior policy analyst 
A. Ruiz, the Indian governmentÆs actions are ôa clear and inexcusable 
of refoulement (the forced return of refugees).ö  Ruiz adds, ôForcing 
refugees back into the hands of a regime known for human rights abuse 
against ethnic minorities demonstrates the Indian governmentÆs gross 
disregard for the UN refugee convention and the basic human rights of 

Since late July, when the Indian authorities began arresting ethnic 
Chin refugees in living in Mizoram state in Northeast India, refugee 
advocacy groups have called on the government of India not to 
return the Chin to Burma.  The Indian authorities have ignored these 
They deported 87 Chin on August 3, another 27 on August 8, and, most 
recently, 82 on August 18.  Hundreds of Burmese Chin refugees remain 
Indian jails.

USCR first wrote to the government of India about the Chin on August 
3.  At 
that time, USCR expressed concern over reports that local authorities 
Mizoram State had detained hundreds of Burmese Chin and were planning 
deport them.  USCR said, ôMany of these persons fled to India because 
feared persecution in Burmaà. Deporting members of this group to 
Burma could 
constitute refoulement.ö  The Indian authorities did not respond.

On August 12, USCR wrote again to the Indian government.  We said, 
ôDeporting members of this group to Burma couldàput their lives at 
The Burmese authorities are known to have arrested, and according to 
unconfirmed reports by Chin human rights groups, killed other Burmese 
whom your government has forcibly returned to Burma in the past.  We 
you in the strongest terms possible to refrain from forcibly 
deporting these 
refugees.ö  The Indian authorities did not respond.

Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, 
it is a 
member of UNHCRÆs Executive Committee, and hosts several large 
populations, including Tibetans, Sri Lankans, and Afghans.  However, 
Indian government does not recognize the estimated 40,000 Burmese 
Chin who 
have fled to Northeast India over the past decade as refugees.  It 
has not 
permitted the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to visit 
Mizoram in 
order to ascertain whether the Chin would fall under its mandate.  
the Chin fled Burma for reasons similar to those of Burmese who are 
considered refugees in other countries, however, USCR considers them 
to be 
refugees.  In the past, UNHCR has also said that the Chin in Mizoram 
qualify as refugees.-

Embargoed until August 22

For further information contact:
Hiram A. Ruiz
(202) 347-3507


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