Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part VII

Ava and Pegu (c. 1364–1555)

After the collapse of Pagan authority, Burma was divided. A Burman Ava Dynasty (1364–527) was eventually established at the city of Ava by 1364.

Pagan culture was revived and a great age of Burmese literature ensued.

The kingdom lacked easily defendable borders, however, and was overrun by the Shan in 1527.

There were repeated Tai raids on the capital of Ava and Ava sent military northwards to attack Tai fiefdoms such as Mong Mao. The Kingdom of Ava was involved in continuous warfare with Tai (Shan) princelings to the north on the frontier with Yunnan. The Ming dynasty that ruled China from the late fourteenth century often tried unsuccessfully to put an end to this warfare through traditional Chinese diplomacy. Ava occasionally became involved in the warfare between the Ming and Tai in Yunnan such as in the Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-49).

Ava_ Innwa (formerly Ava) is a city in the Mandalay Division of Myanmar, situated just to the south of Amarapura on the Ayeyarwady River.

It is also called Ratanapura, which means City of Gems in Pali. The name Innwa means mouth of the lake, which comes from in, meaning lake, and wa, which means mouth. Ava is also a name.

Prior to this, Sagaing had been capital, but after Sagaing fell to the Shan, the court moved across the river to Ava.

The kings of Ava set about restoring Burmese supremacy, which had disintegrated after the collapse of Pagan to the Mongol invasion under Kublai Khan that ended the First Burmese Empire founded by King Anawrahta in 1057.King Mingyinyo founded the First Toungoo Dynasty (1486–1599) at Toungoo, south of Ava, towards the end of the Ava dynasty. After the conquest of Ava by the Shan invaders in 1527 many Burmans migrated to Toungoo which became a new center for Burmese rule. The dynasty conquered the Mohnyin Shan peoples in northern Burma.By this time, the geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed dramatically.

  1. Mingyinyo’s son king Tabinshwehti (1531-50) unified most of Burma.
  2. The Shan gained power in a new kingdom in the North, Ayutthaya (Siam), while the Portuguese had arrived in the south and conquered Malacca.
  3. With the coming of European traders, Burma was once again an important trading centre, and Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu due to its strategic position for commerce. Tabinshwehti was able to gain control of Lower Burma up to Prome,
  4. but the campaigns he led to the Arakan, Ayutthaya, and Ava in Upper Burma were unsuccessful.
  5. When Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, Bayinnaung (1551-81), Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to the throne he launched a campaign of conquest invading several states, including Manipur (1560) and Ayutthaya (1569).
  6. An energetic leader and effective military commander, he made Toungoo the most powerful state in Southeast Asia,
  7. and extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok.
  8. His wars stretched Myanmar to the limits of its resources, however, and both Manipur and Ayutthaya, which had remained under Myanmar domination for 15 years, were soon independent once again.
  9. Bayinnaung was poised to deliver a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan when he died in 1581.

Faced with rebellion by several cities and renewed Portuguese incursions, the Toungoo rulers withdrew from southern Burma and founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Restored Toungoo Dynasty (1597–1752). Bayinnaung’s grandson, Anaukpetlun, once again reunited Burma in 1613 and decisively defeated Portuguese attempts to take over Burma. Encouraged by the French in India, Pegu finally rebelled against Ava, further weakening the state, which fell in 1752.

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI

Factors that influenced  

the evolution of Burma Part VI

 

Pagan Kingdom

During the time of the Pyu kingdom, between about 500 and 950, the Bamar, people of the Burmese ethnic group, began infiltrating from the area to the north into the central region of Burma which was occupied by Pyu people that had come under the influence of Mahayana Buddhism from Bihar and Bengal.

Bamar were originally of three tribes:

  1. the Pyu;
  2. the Thet;
  3. and the Kanyan.

Indeed, Pyu as a language and as a people simply disappeared soon after the Myazedi Inscription of 1113.

The word Mranma, in both Mon and Myanmar inscriptions, came into being only at about the same time, lending support to this claim that the Pyu were an earlier vanguard of southward Tibeto-Burman migration who were entirely absorbed into a newly formed identity by later waves of similar people. The Pagan Kingdom grew in relative isolation until the reign of Anawrahta (1044-77) who successfully unified all of Burma by defeating the Mon city of Thaton in 1057. Consolidation was accomplished under his successors Kyanzittha (1084–1112) and Alaungsithu (1112-67), so that by the mid-12th century, most of continental Southeast Asia was under the control of either the Pagan Kingdom or the Khmer Empire.

The Pagan kingdom went into decline as the Mongols threatened from the north.

The last true ruler of Pagan, Narathihapate (1254-87) felt confident in his ability to resist the Mongols and advanced into Yunnan in 1277 to make war upon them. He was thoroughly crushed at the Battle of Ngasaunggyan, and Pagan resistance virtually collapsed.

The king was assassinated by his own son in 1287, precipitating a Mongol invasion in the Battle of Pagan.

The Mongols successfully captured most of the empire, including its capital, and ended the dynasty in 1289 when they installed a puppet ruler in Burma.

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part V

Mon

Early History of Burma_

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Pyu although both Burman and Mon tradition claim that the fabled Suvarnabhumi mentioned in ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts was a Mon kingdom centred on Thaton in present day Mon state.

The 6th century Mon kingdom of Dvaravati in the lower Chao Phraya valley in present day Thailand extended its frontiers to the Tenasserim Yoma (mountains).

With subjugation by the Khmer Empire from Angkor in the 11th century the Mon shifted further west deeper into present day Burma. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC and had received an envoy of monks from Ashoka in the 2nd century BC.

The Mons adopted Indian culture together with Theravada Buddhism and are thought to have founded kingdoms in Lower Burma including Thaton in the 6th or 7th century and Bago (Pegu) in 825 with the kingdom of Raman’n’adesa (or Ramanna which is believed to be Thaton) referenced by Arab geographers in 844–8.

The lack of archaeological evidence for this may in part be due to the focus of excavation work predominantly being in Upper Burma.

The first recorded kingdom that can undisputedly be attributed to the Mon people was Dvaravati, which prospered until around 1000 AD when their capital was sacked by the Khmer Empire and most of the inhabitants fled west to present-day Burma and eventually founded new kingdoms. These, too, eventually came under pressure from new ethnic groups arriving from the north.Mon kingdoms ruled large sections of Burma from the 9th to the 11th, the 13th to the 16th, and again in the 18th centuries.

About the same period, southward-migrating Burmans took over lands in central Myanmar once dominated by Pyu city-states and the Tai started trickling into South-East Asia.

The Burman ( Bamar ) established the kingdom of Bagan. In 1057, Bagan defeated the Mon kingdom, capturing the Mon capital of Thaton and carrying off 30,000 Mon captives to Bagan.After the fall of Bagan to the invading Mongols in 1287, the Mon, under Wareru an ethnic Tai, regained their independence and captured Martaban and Bago, thus virtually controlling their previously held territory.

Mon kingdoms

A main body of ethnic Shan / Tai migration came in the 13th century after the fall of the Kingdom of Dali to the Mongol Empire and filled the void left by the fall of the Bagan kingdom in northern Burma forming a loose coalition of city-states.

These successive waves of Bamar and Tai groups slowly eroded the Mon kingdoms, and the next 200 years witnessed incessant warfare between the Mon and the Burmese, but the Mon managed to retain their independence until 1539. The last independent Mon kingdom fell to the Burmese when Alaungpaya razed Bago in 1757. Many of the Mon were killed, while others fled to Thailand.Hanthawaddy (or Hanthawady; in Thai หงสาวดี Hongsawadi) is a place in Burma.

Hongsawatoi ( Bago/Pegu/ Handawaddy )

Hongsawatoi, Capital city of old Mon kingdom. It was destroyed by Burman King, U Aungzeya or Aloungpaya in 1757. Hongsawatoi ( Mon language pronounce) (Pali Hamsavati) Bago is about 50 miles from Rangoon.

According to legend, two Mon princess from Thaton founded Bago in 573 AD. It was written in the chronicles that eight years after enlightenment, Lord Buddha along with his disciples went air-borne around Southeast Asian countries.

The earliest mention of this city in history is by the Arab geographer Ibn Khudadhbin around 850 AD. At the time, the Mon capital had shifted to Thaton. The area came under rule of the Burmese from Bagan in 1056.

After the collapse of Bagan to the Mongols in 1287, the Mon regained their independence.

From 1369-1539, Hanthawaddy was the capital of the Mon Kingdom of Ramanadesa, which covered all of what is now lower Burma. The area came under Burman control again in 1539, when it was annexed by King Tabinshweti to his Kingdom of Taungoo. The kings of Taungoo made Bago their royal capital from 1539-1599 and again in 1613-1634, and used it as a base for repeated invasions of Siam.  

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part IV

Pyu

Pyu, one of the three founding father of Bamar or Myanmar race was believed to be the mixture of three groups;

(i) Few insignificant local inhabitants since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) many migrants came from India bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the last group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

Pyu language started in 5AD in Southern Rakhine.

The famous Mya Zedi Pagoda stone inscriptions were written in Pyu, Mon, Bama, and Pali in 1113AD.

  1. Pyu had written records, dated from 1st century A.D.
  2. and Mon from 5th century A.D.
  3. and Bama had its own written records only in 11th century A.D.

Beikthano (Vishnu)

Beikthano (Vishnu) at the end of 4th. AD (9Khmer troops occupied 210-225 AD. (Taung Dwin Gyi) after which the Mons moved in, giving the cities names Panthwa and Ramanna pura. Religious remains show both forms of Buddhism, Mahayanism and Hinayanism, together with Vishnu worship. There are large stone Buddhist sculptures in relief in the Gupta style, bronze statuettes of Avalokitesvara, one of the three chief Mahayanist Bodhisattvas, and so many stone sculptures of Vishnu that the city was sometimes referred to as ‘Vishnu City’.

Pyu chronicles speak of a dynastic change in A.D. 94. Sri Ksetra village was apparently abandoned around A.D. 656 it was sacked by the Nan Cho Chinese Shan in the mid-9th century, ending the Pyu’s period of dominance.

Pyu Kings are Maharajas

In Chinese Chronicles they recorded Pyu as ‘P’aio’. But Pyu Called themselves Tircul..

  • There are records of Nan Cho and Tibet alliance in 755 AD to defeat Chinese.
  • Nan Cho king Ko-lo-fen communicate with Pyu. Pyu Kings were called Maharajas and Chief ministers were called Mahasinas.
  • Nan Cho conscripted Pyu soldiers to attack of Hanoi in 863 AD.
  • In 832 AD Nan Cho looted Han Lin village from Pyu.

Pyu kings named Vishnu as in Gupta, India

Inscriptions in Pyu language using a South Indian script, showed a Vikrama dynasty ruling there at least from AD 673 to 718.

  • On Pyu’s stone inscriptions, kings names with Vikrama were suffix with Vishnu. The same tradition was noticed in Gupta era India 100 BC. and in Sri Kestia, Mon in south, Thai and Cambodia.
  • Statue of Vishnu standing on Garuda with Lakshmi standing on the lotus on left.
  • And Brahma, Siva and Vishnu thrones were also found.
  • Name, Varman indicated that there was influence of Pallava of India.
  • The mentioning of Varman dynasty, an Indian name, indicated there was a neighbouring and rival city, but Old Prome is the only Pyu site so‘ far to be excavated in that area.

Indian Dravidian tribe in Panthwa

In Chinese Chronicles Chen Yi-Sein instead gives an Indian derivation for Panthwa village, as the name of a Dravidian tribe settled in Mon’s areas around the Gulf of Martaban. This group was later one of the pioneers in a ‘Monized’ occupation of Beikthano village, which also led to the village/city being called Ramanna-pura, linked to Mon areas of southern Myanmar (1999:77).

The Tagaung dynasty is explicitly incorporated into the story of Duttabaung’s mother and father; the lineage of the Queen of Beikthano is less consistent, but always intertwined with that of the Sri Kestra village rulers. In all of these, links are made between territorial control, royal patronage of Hindu or Buddhist sects and supernatural events.

Thamala and Wimala. Two princes named Thamala and Wimala (Myanmar version of Indian names-Thalma and Vimala.) established the town Bago in 573AD. Tabinshwehti (Taungoo Dynasty) conquered it in 1539 AD.

The evidence of the inscriptions, Luce warns us, shows that the Buddhism of Pagan ‘was mixed up with Hindu Brahmanic cults, Vaisnavism in particular.

 Dear darling Nan,                                                                                            

Are you tired or fed up of reading my compassionate letters?

It is your prerogative, up to you to decide whether you continue to receive my letter or not. I will stop any time if you say so. 

Kindly allow me to quote a famous saying, ‘My letters could not be written out unto their end even if all the trees on earth were pens, and if the sea eked out by seven seas were ink’.

May be my favourite song ‘Want to stay together, two of us only but  no-one else’ by Mar Mar Aye could explain my feelings. She sang about using the sky to write upon, a river as the pen and using the ocean water as ink.

But in this age of ICT, neither do we need to use pens nor ink but just ‘typing’ onto the key board is enough. So I have to change or modified these into, “My letters could not finish even if my hands suffered ‘Carpel Tunnel Syndrome’.

Dear darling, do you still remember the day you showed me the news of the fossilized remains of rhinoceros and crocodiles found in the Pontaung Ponnya regions. Padalin cave paintings are the proof that there were early dwellers in late Old Stone Age Shwe Bama village. In the new Stone Age, stones were smoothly polished to make tools and were perforated to make beads. Fire was built. There were domestications of goat and sheep, buffalo and ox and later horse and elephant. As ploughing, sowing, reaping, threshing, pounding rice, cooking rice, weaving baskets, pottery making, spinning, weaving, carrying big stone from a very far place where it was available and lifting it up to the height where they want to place it, the practice of selling and buying came into being through barter system, etc. can be imagined.

Dear darling, I was heartened because formerly, we had nothing much about the Bronze Age found in Nyaungkan, lower Chin Dwin region up to confluence with Irrawaddy. At Mon Ywa (1500-1000 BC). There are nowadays evidence of our early Shwe Bama ancestors in Samon valley south of Mandalay, Taungthaman, Amarapura Iron age 460 BC, Pyu 200BC – 900 AD.Dear Nan, most of the historians try to visualize the human characteristics from their archaeological fossils. There were savages in the Old Stone Age from 400,000 to 8000 BC and barbarians in the new Stone Age from 8000 to 2000 BC. In our Shwe Bama village tract’s Iron Age or civilization began from 2000 BC because Iron Age was recognized as a civilized age in the history of the world.In 2500 BC, in U Kala’s village tract villagers in the Indus Valley wrote in cuneiforms which could not be decoded. Later in 1500 BC, Aryan came to India and they later started writing in Brahmi script. Since then, they have had records written in alphabets and people were taken as civilized in the history. Dear Nan lets go back to our topic today to the early Pagan village, which was our first Shwe Bama empire/village tract. There is a saying in Shwe Bama village, if we want to discuss or talk about Pagan village; ‘we need to be armed with sticks and knives or rather machetes.’ Yes there is no consensus about the history of Pagan village and every argument leads to controversy and used to end with a quarrel.

Dear Nan, now I am going into the mind field with the intention to challenge the nationalists with some radical views.  I will start with Ah Yee Gyis or Aries, who were notoriously powerful in Pagan or Bagan village, before the Buddhist Religion arrived in our first Shwe Bama village. Nan, why did your face became red and try to gaze away from my letter. I know my wife, although you already got the grand children, you are still acting like a maiden. I would start a first salvo or bombardment with this fact. Ah Yee Gyis or Aries were related to one Indian sect or religion from Ko Kala’s village tract. The same Aris or Ah Yees from Ko Kala’s village were known for, swimming, martial arts, traditional medicine practice and the custom of sleeping with the brides on the first night of weddings.  

I am not revealing some ‘blue stories’ or Thousand and one nights Arabian stories. I am not sure whether Ko Kalar Aries came physically here or their ‘religion’ or practice only arrived here. Never mind don’t worry dear, I just tease you with this story. Now I would like to trace our ancestors. I hope you already knew my habit of parroting or just informing you what I happened to know by chance. Sometime I just mentioned or write about anything I heard or read in the newspapers or books. All that I mentioned are not because I supported the idea or believed that it is an irrefutable truth. I just mentioned casually, sometimes light heartedly, sometimes as a joke to irritate you or sometimes just wish to highlight a controversy welcoming a heated debate in our platform or stage, this blog. In Burmese ‘Pwe sue aung_ loke thee’. I hope that then only more people will notice or read this Blog or there may be better hits on this web page. I already knew that this web page, is visited by Shwe Bamas abroad but I hope to see more progress. Dear darling that radical ideas came into my mind because I rarely have a chance to read any feed back from our readers. If we could even attract our oppositions and radicals, of course there must be decorum, mutual respect and some politeness from all the sides, to refute what we wrote; it may be a great progress.  You had said before, “Counting the ballots is better than cracking the heads.” 

Let me modify or think beyond that, or apply this to another area. I hereby wish to propose that, ‘we better fight with our pens rather than fighting with live ammunitions’.  Fighting as a gentleman on the Internet is much better, more desirable and humane than fighting on the real battle field. Although I may be seen as a coward because of these words, after all the real battle ground is also not a level playing field for us. In the Shwe Bama village compound, anyone talking, speaking, writing or even possesses the papers against the SPDC or Daw Than Shwe would be arrested and prosecuted or more correctly persecuted.   

Do you remember the famous case of a gentleman, a representative of few western countries, arrested for using the unregistered Fax Machine? (I wrote about him in previous letter.) And on the real battle front, at the border areas our freedom fighters are outnumbered. Their ammunition, transport, organization, intelligent networks and equipments, budget and etc. are also not able to compete with SPDC’s strong forces. Guerrilla warfare in the Shwe Bama village itself is also almost impossible.  So we have only one easy option, ICT warfare or propaganda warfare on internet. And it is relatively safe and quite effective. But because of heavy censorship on Internet contents, it may be less effective inside the Shwe Bama village itself; until and unless those opposition radio stations actively promote and inform regularly on most of the opposition Internet contents. We are sad that there is some intense rivalry and competition every where among our various opposition groups. We should make all the articles bilingual, in Burmese for the general population, in English to attract and explain the foreigners to persuade them to support us. We need to translate all the information vice versa. I had seen a lot of second and third generations of our Shwe Bama Migrant’s children out of touch with our Shwe Bama language. Most of them could still speak fluently in Shwe Bama but could not read nor write in Shwe Bama well enough. Surprisingly most of them still love our Shwe Bama country, they care about our country and interested in all the things Shwe Bama. I hope if we could attract all of our people in the free outside world to participate in the open discussion, discourse, dialogue or even a heated argument, it would be beneficial for all of us as it could definitely lead to more mutual understanding. 

Nan, thank you for the valuable advice you had secretly given to me. Because of your desire to promote unity through mutual understanding and reciprocal respect and of course, as this is the official aim of this blog. Do you notice that in my letters I purposely try to put in few controversial sensitive words or ideas against some of the groups. I just wish to increase their awareness, maturity and thank you for reminding ‘to stay colour blind’, that is against all kind of racial and religious discriminations.   Please may you kindly understand me for provoking the radical ends of the spectrum like a rebel rousers in this letter and my future few letters. With each weekly letters I am probing more and more deeply into Shwe Bama village history. I hope our readers could judge and treat this blog as the one site of revolution that would sparks a thousand ideas. We all need ideas, not only moderate but even from the extreme end of the spectrum, we need all the possible views. Then we must judge or compare our notes with the universally accepted, UN recognized facts. All of us may not agree to all the facts but we have to make a consensus, and once the decisions are made, we all have to accept them as our guiding principle for the benefit of our beloved Shwe Bama country. Even if 95% of Shwe Bamas don’t get what we are writing…the remaining 5% who get it will definitely have an impact on our society. 

I wish to present you with the wise advice of the Dalai Lama, our cousin Buddhist (Mahayana) leader. I told you in my very first letter that I even wish to spend my last days of my twilight years and like to even die in your Shan Land but when I have to change my wish now after I read Dalai Lama’s words which came out from his heart and vibrated right into my heart because of harmony of the feelings:“In Tibet, I would have been a prisoner, a puppet leader. But it doesn’t mean I ever forget about Tibet. I never stop thinking about it, and I tell the refugees that if they can, they must return one day or the Chinese will have won.” “But the Tibetans always say: wherever you feel most comfortable, that is your home. Whoever shows you greatest kindness and comfort, they are your family. So I am happy to die in India.”Although we all Shwe Bamas missed home, wish to return for retirement at old age or even die or wish to breathe the last breath at the homeland, most of us have no choice but to stay away from our beloved Shwe Bama Paradise for a long time.The wise religious leader continued:” You have bigger homes, yet smaller families. You have endless conveniences — yet you never seem to have any time. You can travel anywhere in the world, yet you don’t bother to cross the road to meet your neighbours,” he said. I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have.“Too many people have given up on marriage. They don’t understand that it is about developing a mutual admiration of someone, a deep respect and trust and awareness of another human’s needs,” the Dalai Lama said.  I think the Dalai Lama is right when he said that we don’t count our blessings and realize how much we truly have. 

 SPDC is going to ICC with four main charges: (1) being a threat to regional/international stability,(2) genocide, (3) drug trade and (4) nuclear ambitions. UN Security Council could take action urgently on SPDC regime. Nowadays many people and countries around the world want justice to be done by bringing SPDC generals to International Criminal Court in The Hague on these four charges. The choice is yours. If not, once you are going to be charged in the International Criminal Court of Justice in The Hague, you would know the grave consequences. And even if you could able to avoid that fate, acting like Hitler or Milosevic by deciding to die, you all should understand that once in the hereafter, you have to face the judgment of God or your Kamma. Even at The Hague, you could still show off your colour like Saddam Hussein or Milosevic by arguing your own case with an attack, but in the hereafter you could not argue anything if your deeds are already recorded in the dog-leather book of Tha Gyar Min. (Note: Don’t angry Nan, I understand that you have no connections with SPDC but I am 101% sure that once my letter was sent through Burma Digest, the SPDC spies would definitely ‘peek’ into the letter. And I wish to request those gentlemen to translate and give the full report to their Ah Ba Senior General Than Shwe so that he could review his latest condition or position at the edge of the Ah Thu Yar Gauge.) The facts that we wish to reveal to SPDC Generals are: This is the time to seek forgiveness, to repent, to regret, for salvation and for redemption. Instead of just releasing the fish and birds, release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Tin Oo, U Khun Htun Oo and all the political prisoners. Instead of donating your ill gotten booties, give back the country you looted from the NLD and opposition. Instead of continuing governing Shwe Bama which is not yours and give back our independence. If not they would be charged soon in the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the crimes against humanity and genocide.If they still have some sense of dignity, they should bow to the discontented citizens and relinquish their posts.

Now the whole world knows that the SPDC Junta is trying to cheat the whole population of Myanmar, ASEAN, UN and the rest of the world. So we all wish and pray that the SPDC Generals would just repent, ask forgiveness from all the citizens including NLD Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, all the oppositions and prepare to retreat to the barracks, where they belong, according to the promise given by General Saw Maung, their previous leader before the election. Many of the top SPDC Junta leaders should go for retirement and spent their last precious time on earth with meditation and prayers. 

 Good-bye Yours  loving other side 

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN   

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III

 Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part III

 Settlements of Indian Migrants in Ancient Burma

Orissa

Orissa, Indian Buddhist colonists, arrived lower Burma, settled and built pagodas since 500 BC.

Andhra Dynasty

Hindu colonists, of Andhra Dynasty, from middle India (180 BC) established Hanthawaddy (Mon town) and Syriam (Ta Nyin or Than Lyin) in Burma.

Talaings or Mons

Mons or Talaings, an Ethnic Minority Group of Myanmar, migrated from the Talingana State, Madras coast of Southern India.

They mixed with the new migrants of Mongol from China and driven out the above Andhra and Orissa colonists.

Those Mon (Talaings) brought with them the culture, arts, literature, religion and all the skills of civilisation of present Myanmar.

They founded the Thaton and Bago (Pegu) Kingdoms. King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan) conquered that Mon Kingdom of King Manuha, named Suvannabumi (The Land of Golden Hues).

The conquest of Thaton in 1057 was a decisive event in Burmese history. It brought the Burman into direct contact with the Indian civilizing influences in the south and opened the way for intercourse with Buddhist centres overseas, especially Ceylon.Many Burmese dishes and breads came as a result of Indian influence, prominently reflected in the Burmese version of Indian biryani.

PYU 

The Pyu arrived in Burma in the 1st century BC and established city kingdoms at Binnaka, Mongamo, Sri Ksetra, Peikthanomyo, Halingyi (Hanlin), Kutkhaing in the north, Thanlwin coastal line in the east, Gulf of Mataban and its coast in the south, Thandwe in the southern west and Yoma in the west.

During this period, Burma was part of an overland trade route from China to India.

In 97 and 121, Roman ambassadors to China chose the overland route through Burma for their journey. The Pyu, however, provided an alternative route down the Irrawaddy  to Shri Ksetra and then by sea westward to India and eastward to insular Southeast Asia.

Pyu (also Pyuu or Pyus; in Chinese records Pyao) refers to a collection of city-states  and their language found in the central and northern regions of modern-day Burma (Myanmar) from about 100 BCE to 840 CE.

The history of the Pyu is known from two main historical sources: the remnants of their civilization found in stone inscriptions (some in Pali, but rendered in the Pyu script, or a Pyu variant of the Gupta script) and the brief accounts of some Chinese travellers and traders, preserved in the Chinese imperial history.

India and Arakan Intercourse

Wesali founded by Hindu Chandras

“The area known as North Arakan had been for many years before the 8th century the seat of Hindu dynasties.

In 788 AD a new dynasty, known as the Chandras, founded the city of Wesali (Indian name of Vaisali).

This city became a noted trade port to which as many as a thousand ships came annually;

the Chandra kings were upholders of Buddhism,

  • … their territory extended as far north as Chittagong;
  • … Wesali was an easterly Hindu kingdom of Bengal 
  • … Both government and people were Indian.
  • It seems to have been founded in the middle of the fourth century A.D.
  • Thirteen kings of this dynasty are said to have reigned for a total period of 230 years.

The second dynasty was founded in the eighth century by a ruler referred to as Sri Dharmavijaya, who was of pure Ksatriya descent.

His grandson married a daughter of the Pyu king of Sri Ksetra.

Hindu statues and inscriptions in Wesali

The ruins of old capital of Arakan – Wesali show Hindu statues and inscriptions of the 8th century AD. Although the Chandras usually held Buddhistic doctrines, there is reason to believe that Brahmanism and Buddhism flourished side by side in the capital.

Chittagong is from Tsit-ta-gung

The Arab chief was the Thuratan, in the Arakanese utterance whom the king of Arakan Tsula-Taing Tsandra (951-957 AD.), claimed to have defeated in his invasion of Chittagong in 953 AD.

  1. In memory of his victory the Arakanese king set up a stone trophy, in the conquered land. And inscribed on it the Burmese word,
  2. “Tsit-ta-gung”
  3. meaning “there shall be no war”.
  4. And from this remark of the monument, according to Burmese tradition, the district took its name, Chittagong.
Chittagong under Arakanese rule

Nearly a century, from about 1580 till 1666 AD Chittagong was under almost uninterrupted Arakanese rule. Arakanese captured and sent numbers of the inhabitants of Bengal into Arakan as agricultural and slave labours.

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II

 

    

 

Factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part II

 

2. History of Burma

The History of Burma (or Myanmar) is long and complex. Several races of people have lived in the region, the oldest of which are probably the Mon or the Pyu. In the 9th century the Bamar (Burman) people migrated from the then China-Tibet border region into the valley of the Ayeyarwady, and now form the governing majority.     

 

‘Bamars are descendants of Sakyans who are of the Aryan Race or of some other descendants of Aryans’.

Though there is ‘scarcely any race that can claim descent from exclusively one original race’, nevertheless, Burma’s proximity to India permits the claim that the Burmans have ‘an ornamental Aryan superstructure on the existing Mongoloid foundation’, resulting in some historians proclaiming that ‘Myanmars were descendants of Aryans’.

The history of the region comprises complexities not only within the country but also with its neighbouring countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand.

 

Artefacts from the excavated site of Nyaunggan help to reconstruct Bronze Age life in Burma and the more recent archaeological evidence at Samon Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice growing settlements between about 500 BC and 200 AD which traded with Qin and Han dynasty China.

India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture as the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in brahmins presiding over important ceremonies such as_

  1. weddings
  2. and ear-piercings
  3. but most notably in Thingyan, the Burmese New Year festival.

    Traditions of kingship including coronation ceremonies and formal royal titles as well as those of lawmaking were also Hindu in origin.

    In the defence of its realm, the Konbaung dynasty fought four wars successfully against the Qing Dynasty of China which saw the threat of the expansion of Burmese power in the East.  

    1. In 1769, despite his victory over the Chinese armies, King Hsinbyushin sued for peace with China and concluded a treaty in order to maintain bilateral trade with the Middle Kingdom which was very important for the dynasty at that time.

     2. The Qing Dynasty then opened up its markets and restored trading with Burma in 1788 after reconciliation.  3. Thenceforth peaceful and friendly relations prevailed between China and Burma for a long time.    

     Early history of Burma

    Humans lived in the region that is now Myanmar as early as 11,000 years ago, but the first identifiable civilisation is that of the Mon. The Mon probably began migrating into the area in about 3000 BC, and their first kingdom Suwarnabhumi (pronounced Suvanna Bhoum), was founded around the port of Thaton in about 300 BC. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BC, though definitely by the 2nd century BC when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations. By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Myanmar. From that time, Northern Burma was a group of city-states in a loose coalition.

    The ‘King’ of each city-state would change allegiance as he saw fit, so throughout history,

    much of the Shan-Tai north has been part of the_

    1. Tai countries of Nan Zhao (now Yunnan and GuangXi, China),
    2. SipSong Panna, Lanna (Chiangmai in Thailand – Siam), Ayuttaya (old capital of Siam)
    3. and even affiliated with Laos.

    Even U Pyu, one of the three founding brothers of Shwe Bama village was believed to be mixture of three groups;

     

(i) one local inhabitant since Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age,

(ii) another came from Ko Kala’s village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism along with their cultures and literatures successively

(iii) and the another group believed to came down from north, Tibeto-Burman group.

 

Daw Daw Mon was also rumoured to have two groups of ancestors:(i) One came down from above like Daw Daw Shan,

(ii) and another from U Kala’s village tract , Orrisa village and Talingna village bringing in Hinduism and Buddhism to our land.

Ko Ta Laings originated from the Talingana village of Ko Kala’s village tract and arrived to lower Shwe Bama village part, met and married with Daw Daw Mon’s children, who came down from Ko Yu Nan’s village, spreads through our village up to Ko Thai, Ko Laos and Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

They give us the Buddhism arts, culture, literature etc. You see Nan, our Shwe Bama spoken language was from Tibeto-Burman family and there are a lot of similarities with Chinese spoken language.

But our Shwe Bama writing language was from U Ka Lar’s village, Brami Script we took not from our native Daw Daw Mon but her cousin U Mon resided in U Thai Land’s village.

I am revealing this to you so that my dear Nan could accept our whole Shwe Bama villagers as the same family. Instead of dividing into numerous weak small countries we could even plan for the Future Federal Union of Burma working with ASEAN+++ formula, I proposed to you in my first letter sent together with my Valentine Music DVD.

Dear Nan, when I wrote in formal style, you complained that it was very dull, not attractive, you have to skip some lines and paragraphs, and you admitted that you even fell asleep before finishing my letter.

Now what? When Daw Khin Myo Chit wrote “The Heroes of Pagan” historians said she was playing with the history books like a child with a crayon. Now if you accuse me of attempting to imitate her, I would be glad and would felt honoured and reply with pride, “Thank you with my pleasure.” But I have to admit that my English could not even touch her toes’ level.

And in the Story of Myanmar told in pictures by the famous historian Dr Than Tun, he had attempted to simplify the Burmese History.

Dear Nan, you have to understand me that I used to and need to quote the famous personalities frequently because I have an inferiority complex. I am afraid you would not be serious if I cannot support my words or the style of writing with the world accepted great persons’ works. I have to use them at least as an excuse for my deeds or words. You know I am just a graduate and were forced to waste my precious time with my business matters but you had already got two post graduate degrees, a Master and a PhD. So I hope my darling Nan is not sneering at my letter as a show off.

Please kindly let me continue to enjoy with my false sense of grandeur by quoting those famous persons.

You see Nan, with the growing age and fading memory, I used to sway away from my primary target of answer your question.

The recent discovery of the Genetic DNA researchers’ claim of the finding of the Chinese to be migrated from Africa or “Out of Africa theory” may reveal the longer and winding trail of our great ancestors. From Africa to China and then continue to Burma. If we consider the origin of the Southern Indians from Africa and Arian Migration from the north or tall blue or brown eyed and fair people proved to be genetically related to east Europeans, some of our ancestors had endlessly marched quite a long distance.

Actually if I am allowed to sum up the above:

  1. U Pyu, U Kan Yan and U Thet were my ancestors.
  2. Most of the U Kan Yan’s descendants stayed along Chin Dwin River and between Chindwin and Irrawady rivers.
  3. As I had stated above, few groups of villagers came down from northern Ko Yu Nan’s village, one of them went and established Daw Tibet’s village.
  4. One group went further west to Ko Ya Khines village and some went further into Ko Kala’s territory.
  5. One group stayed along our mother Irrawady and formed my ancestors.
  6. One group stayed in Ko Ka Chin’s village.
  7. Actually Ko Ka Yin, Daw Mon and almost all our ethnic brother villagers came down the same path.
  8. Dear Nan, no wonder your great grandmother Daw Daw Shan was the elder sister of Ko Thai and Ko Laos’ great grandfathers. Because of the same language and culture you even cruelly planned to divorce me and go and marry with one of them. I know, I know, you just wanted to hurt me because you were angry with me and never really intended to do so.
  9. Dear Nan, because of that, there are larger number of cousins of Ko Ka Chin , Ko Chin and Ko Na Ga in Ko Ti Bet’s village and Ko Kala’s village than in Shwe Bama village.
  10. And there are a lot more of Ko Ka Yin and Daw Mon’s relatives in Ko Thai, Ko Cam Bodia’s villages.

Dear Nan, it is too late tonight to continue my letter as you know, I need to wake up early to prepare to go and work intime.

Your loving hubby

(Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

 

 

History of ASIA

 

  • Alexander the Great conquered an area from Turkey to India in the 4th century BC.

  • The Roman Empire would later control parts of western Asia. The Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires were based in Ancient Persia.

  • Many ancient civilizations were influenced by the Silk Road, which connected China, India, the Middle East and Europe.

  • The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, which began in India, were an important influence on South and East Asia.

        Middle Ages

  • The Islamic caliphate and other Islamic states took over the Middle East starting in the 7th century, and later expanded into India and Indonesia.

  • The Crusades would be fought from the 12th century, in Christian Europe’s attempt to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

  • The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe.

        Modern period

 

Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I

Basic factors that influenced

the evolution of Burma Part I

1. Geographical factor 

Burma: “The highway between India and China” India and China are the world’s biggest and ancient cradle of civilizations. High, snow peaked, rough and steep Himalaya mountain ranges block the direct interaction or travelling between the two of them except for the virtual highway through Myanmar/Burma. So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along this Burma Highway and some of them settled in Burma.

In the official Thailand History books, they even claim that all of the Tibeto-Burman groups including Tibet came down from Yunnan stressing that Tibet had made an almost U turn and climbed beck onto the Tibet Highlands.

There was the Burma Road which linked Burma and China. Its terminals are Kunming in China and Lashio in Burma. The road is about 1,130 kilometres long and runs through rough mountain country. General Merrill and General Stillwell built during the colonial times under British. When the Japanese overran sections of the Burma Road the Allies built the Ledo Road, also later known as the Stillwell Road. Ledo Road was built from Ledo in Assam into the Hukawng Valley as an alternative to the Burma Road. It was completed in January 1945 and was renamed Stilwell Road by Chiang Kai-shek. Now China and India are negotiating with Myanmar to build a modern high way liking their countries through Burma including to lay natural gas pipe line from Rakhine to India, Yunnan, China.

(Copied from my own contributions in Wikipedia)

And I would like to use data from Wikipedia and my old Dear Nan letters to continue this series of     

 

Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma.

 

 

 

A. Maps (Geography of Burma)       

 

(a) Effects of the Himalaya mountain range between China and India.

 

 

 

 

himalaya-map-3.png

 

 

 

(b) Myanmar Neighbours, China and  India separated by Himilayan mountain ranges.

himalaya-map-4.png

(c) Situation of Myanmar as a convenient highway between India and China

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-7.png

(d) Myanmar highway along the valleys with water-supply along it, connecting China and ASEAN.

Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-china-india-himalaya-map-5.png

(d) Strategic situation of Myanmar between its Neighbours (China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos)

bur-asean-map-5.png

(e) Myanmar in ASEAN.

Myanmar highway, connecting China and ASEAN. Indonesians, Malays and Polynesians were believed to be the earliest migrants came down from Yunnan through Burma to their homelands in south.

bur-asean-map-2.png

 

 

 

 (f) Orietation of Myanmar in the world map

bur-map-8.png

(g) Burma or Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bur-map-1.png

 

 

 

 

(h) Geography of Burma
Continent
Asia
Region
Southeast Asia
Coordinates
22°00′N 98°00′E / 22, 98Coordinates: 22°00′N 98°00′E / 22, 98
Area
Ranked 39th
678,500 km² (261,970.3 sq mi)
96.94% land
3.06 % water
Borders
Total land borders:
5876 km (3651.18 miles)
Bangladesh:
193 km (119.92 miles)
People’s Republic of China:
2185 km (1357.7 miles)
India:
1463 km (909.07 miles)
Laos
235 km (146.02 miles)
Thailand:
1800 km (1118.47 miles)
Highest point
Hkakabo Razi
5881 m (19,294.62 feet)
Lowest point
Andaman Sea
0 m (0 feet)
(sea level)
Longest river
Ayeyarwady River
Largest lake
Indawgyi Lake

 The Encyclopedia of World History

From early times Burma came under Indian influence. By the 3rd century C.E., expanding Hindu peoples had established commercial settlements on the Tenasserim coast and at the principal river mouths, which developed small kingdoms in contact with the Tibeto-Burman tribes of the Irrawaddy Valley. Commercial relations with China were less influential, although an embassy from a Burmese state reached Ch’ang An in 802. (See Burma (Pagan)) See The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.

Excerpts from the Dear Nan letters of my split personality to his wife.

Now China and India are negotiating with Shwe Bama villagers to build a modern high way liking their villages through our land. Recently Ko Ka Lar’s village chairman U Mus Lim went to Shwe Bama and signed an agreement to lay natural gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of our village to Ko Ka Lar’s village.

And there is already an agreement to connect the gas pipe line from Ko Ya Khine’s part of the village to Ko Yu Nan’s village. So these high ways and pipelines would become the renaissance of our forefather’s migration.

Dear Nan, why are you very sensitive, I am just mentioning the coincidences but not supporting those pipe-lines. You already know that I supported your policy of sanctions on SPDC. If you are not short sighted, you could still read our Burma Digest’s strong condemnation of TOTAL in recent issues.

It is funny that those who play with fire and burnt sometimes blamed the fire. Recently one of the ASEAN PM complaint that their state owned oil company suffered some losses because of the sanctions in the host countries they operate. Then why did they foolishly decided to follow their greed to buy the shares of TOTAL and invested more than RM 4000 million in Myanmar/Burma oil exploration and refinery?

Instead of redeeming themselves by supporting the US, UK and EU led pressure on Myanmar Generals for the rapid democratization, they are still blocking them to give protection to those killer criminals? Giving protection to killer criminal illegal cruel rulers are guilty to the Laws of the human and God.

So there were a lot of travelers, migrants, victims of disasters and famine, war refugees and etc moving along the road and some of them settled in our Shwe Bama Village as we are located along their high way through out the history.

Dear Nan, do you now accept the concept that our village was and still is a highway from west Ko Kala’s village to Ko Ta Yoke’s village in the north. People from Northwest of Ko Kala’s village came to our village through Ko Ya Khine’s village.

Since 500 BC Hindu Orrisa village colonists had migrated towards Southeast and settled in lower part of our Shwe Bama village. Later other migrant villagers from the Andhra Dynasty from Ko Kala’s village similarly migrated to our village in 180 BC. Some took the long march on land and then some had sailed here.

Your loving hubby (Ko Tin Nwe)

BO AUNG DIN

See also_

  1. Basic factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part I
  2. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part II
  3. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part III
  4. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part IV
  5. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part V
  6. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VI
  7. Factors that influenced the evolution of Burma Part VII
  8. The Golden days of the Great Mon Empire I
  9. Renascences of the Golden days of the Great Shan Empire
  10. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire II
  11. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire III
  12. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire IV
  13. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire V
  14. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VI
  15. The Golden days of the Great Shan Empire VII

Burma’s Saffron Revolution leader, Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira

Burma‘s Saffron Revolution leader

Revered Monk, Sayadaw (abbot)

U Gambira

Dr San Oo Aung 

gb-super.png

Sayadaw (abbot) U Gambira,  is a prominent Buddhist clergy, who took a leading role in the August and September peoples’ protest in Burma.

In August 2007, SPDC announces the sudden increase in fuel prices. That cause a devastating effect of Burmese people as especially the food and basic necessities prices increased along with the massive inflation but there was no increase in consumer earning power not only for the poor but even for the average ordinary citizens.

Mass peaceful protests nationwide started on 21 September 2007. At first it was led by Buddhist monks. U Gambira, 27 year old monk was the leader organizing, instigating and leading all the monks. Only after a few days only ordinary people dare to support and took part and went down into the streets, protesting against the government, calling for a reduction in commodity prices, release of political prisoners and national reconciliation.

Beginning on 21 September 2007, the numbers of demonstrators increased considerably, with estimated numbers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000. Demonstrations on this scale have not been seen since the nationwide protests in 1988, which were violently suppressed by the authorities with the killing of approximately 3,000 peaceful demonstrators.  

Bae Thu Thay Thay_ Nga Tae Mar_Pyee Yaw.

That is sheer selfishness, self-interest, self-centeredness or egocentricity. We could call in a modern term, MYOB meaning “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS” or to ‘take care of our own self first’ policy. This has been the priority culture that practices by almost all of us, nowadays. Yes this provides a great advantage to the ruling Myanmar Military government when things related to Myanmar’s affairs.

This MYOB have deeply imbedded in our thinking process daily and putting chills of fear up into our spines coupled with the prospects of rewards if we just keep quiet or nod our heads or could reap the best rewards if we could support, praise and also greased the palms of various level of military authorities.

The monks of Burma are not prepared to kill for anything or anyone nor even a tinniest of a creature. But U Gambira had managed to successfully lead them to come out on to the roads ready to sacrifice for the benefit of their people. The simple gesture of the unarmed praying monks taking to the streets and standing their ground before the bayonets and tanks of the military junta sends out a clear message to the SPDC regime that while they have the guns and tanks it is the monks and the people who now command the moral high ground.

Although I was quite young, I still remember the images of the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire in the about fifty years ago in Saigon, now renamed Ho Chin Minh city. The monks were protesting against the corrupt Vietnamese regime of that time. 

Later only I learnt that The South Vietnamese government troops had opened fire to disperse students and monks, who were banned from carrying Buddhist flags on Wesak Day. The Buddhist leadership quickly organized a protest that led to several monks burning themselves to death. 

I felt the déjà vu feeling when I saw the Burmese monks’ protests.

History always repeats itself but sometimes strangely in reverse condition. That South Vietnamese government was supported by USA and against the communists. Now the SPDC is the illegitimate children of communist/socialist General Ne Win and supported by communist China again. (China is becoming a Nga Pwa Gyi in both situations.) That Vietnamese government who shot monks was eventually toppled. We hope the same happens in Myanmar soon.  

Myanmar Tatmadaw should realize that it has lost all the remaining credibility, even if they have a few, not only in the eyes of its own people but more crucially for the world as well.

And by taking the stand that they have and keeping to it, Sayadaw U Gambira and our revered monks have shown the world that religion can also be a living dynamic force in the politics and is not a pariah faith to be locked in the sacred precinct of temples, churches, pagodas and churches. The only important fact is that the religion must be used with care and not to divide the people, races and religious followers but for the benefit of the country and humanity.

In Buddhism, Sanghas or Monks are revered in the same rank as Lord Buddha and Dharma, teachings or rules and regulations or Laws of Buddhism taught by Buddha. In Burmese, “Pha Yar_Ta Yar_Sangha” are held in the highest regard amongst the Burmese Buddhists. No one dare to insult Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, except SPDC and its thugs.

After Gautama Buddha’s Parinirvana, Sanghas maintain and preserve the teachings of the Buddha, as the guardians of Buddhism. All the Buddhists in Burma regarded Sanghas as the sons of Buddha who carry on the torch of enlightenment and march forward, continue to propagate and disseminate the Buddha’s teachings.

The protest began on Aug 19 after the government raised fuel prices. Initially, the protest involved only civilians but the impact changed dramatically when the monks took to the streets. 

Sept 26 was a sad day for Burma, when the Myanmar Tatmadaw opened fire on unarmed civilian protestors and Buddhist monks. Soldiers and police fired tear gas, clubbed protesters and arrested hundreds of monks in an attempt to quash the uprising.

ugb-2.jpg

Hundreds of deaths were reported, but the SPDC tried its best to cover-up and destroy the evidences. They did not hesitate to use force even against those unarmed Buddhist monks peacefully charting prayers. Even the very old and young monks were kicked and beaten by the ruthless soldiers and shoved them onto trucks.

Doors of their monasteries were broken; things were ransacked and taken away. Few thousands of monks were arrested. There are reports creeping out across the iron sieve reporting that many of them have been tortured and killed or died because of the wounds inflicted during the arrest and torture. Some monks go into hiding, some flee abroad, some are dead, but the fate of many more remains unknown.

Buddhist monks are greatly revered for their exceptionally humble, harmless and peaceful way of life. If the military rulers can act so ruthlessly against such defenseless spiritually inclined monks, it is frightening to imagine what more they are capable of doing to others less spiritual.Now the junta is openly hunting for four monks who it says are the ringleaders of the biggest uprising against the government in 20 years.

ugb-3.jpg

“Many monks are still hiding, at the homes of people, or on the top floors of apartment buildings,” one escaped monk, who gave his name as Vida, told reporters in northern Thailand. “It is dangerous for anyone who goes out. We are worried about our friends, especially those who have been arrested or have disappeared.”

”We saw that the military is very brutal, and we think a lot of people must have been tortured or killed. We plead with the international community to support us in any way you can.”

U Gambira, the leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, managed to speak by phone from an undisclosed location in Myanmar to a public meeting at the Asia Society in New York.

He told of daily arrests at monasteries. He told that there were many soldiers surrounding the Buddhist monasteries and also in the streets. 

Have our hopes and prayers for the rapid democratic change in Burma is totally crushed to a hopeless situation?

Have the pro-democracy protesters been defeated totally and there is no more hope left for all of us?

When a government resorts to bullets and clubs to suppress peaceful demonstrators, you know they have lost all moral authority and it is just a matter of time before the regime is dumped into the ash heap of history.

Anil Netto

The Burmese people have taken all that batons, bullets, cruelty and hard labour can give. But it is the Burmese junta that has lost all moral credibility – a long time ago. And thus, it is just a matter of time before these ruthless generals are unceremoniously booted out – with or without Asean’s help.

You see, it is no longer a worldly struggle but also a spiritual battle. That explains why the monks have been at the forefront of the struggle, the same way that priests and nuns led the People Power revolution in the Philippines that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

In the evening of 25 September 2007, the authorities began a crackdown on the protesters, introducing a 60-day 9pm-5am curfew and issuing public warnings of legal action against protesters.  Arrests of reportedly at least 700 people have followed in the former capital Yangon, the second-biggest city, Mandalay, and elsewhere.  Among those arrested in Yangon were monks, members of parliament from the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), other NLD members and other public figures.  

Websites and internets blogs carrying information and photographs of the demonstrations were blocked; internet lines were cut. Telephone lines and mobile phone signals to prominent activists and dissidents were also cut.  

ugb.jpg

U Gambira, as a leader of the All-Burma Monks’ Alliance had spearheaded the nationwide protests. He became a fugitive following the deadly Sept. 26-27 crackdown on protesters nationwide.

SPDC had arrested the family members of U Gambira, and shamelessly declared that they will not release them until U Gambira has been detained.  At first, U Gambira could successfully avoid the government authorities but had to giveup to safe his family as SPDC had cowardly arrested his family as a ransom.

  1. Ko Aung Kyaw Kyaw, the younger brother of U Gambira and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division, was arrested in Rangoon.
  2. Another brother, Ko Win Zaw, a HIV/AIDS patient, was also arrested in their hometown of Pauk.
  3.  U Gambira’s mother and sister were also arrested by the township police in Meikhtila in Mandalay division. 
  4. U Min Lwin, his father and another sister had to be on the run.   The military intelligence officer who arrested U Gambira’s family members shamelessly told them they would not be released until U Gambira is detained.

Like other detained political dissidents they were at very high risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

The following is a statement recorded by RFA:

“My situation is not good. I have slept without shelter for two nights. I am not very well now. My security is pretty bad,” he said, speaking from an undisclosed location.

“Now these fellows are trying to butcher me. Now if you are done talking, as soon as you hang up, I have to move somewhere…”

“The important thing for overseas Sanghas [monks] is to carry out the Burmese cause continuously, with unity. At the moment, as you know, we cannot do anything inside Burma. We have been assaulted very badly. A few got away, a few left. I am still trying to get away but I haven’t succeeded.”

He read the following message to_

  1. U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari,
  2. U.S. President George Bush,
  3. and to the world:

“Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari… I wish to say,

  • please do something effective and practical for Burma.
  • Measures such as economic sanctions and arms embargo will take time (years) to achieve a political solution. What is most important is for today, for tomorrow.  
  • Please tell Mr. Gambari that I am very grateful for his active participation in Burmese affairs. I have a tremendous respect for him.
  • But please tell him to implement the most effective practical measures in Burma.
  • Please try.
  • Please send U.N. representatives to Burma to carry out various ways and means to get political results now. For today.”

To Buddhists all over the world and activists and supporters of Burmese movement_

  • please help to liberate the Burmese people from this disastrous and wicked system.
  • To the six billion people of the world, to those who are sympathetic to the suffering of the Burmese people, please help us to be free from this evil system.
  • Many people are being killed, imprisoned, tortured, and sent to forced labor camps.
  • I hereby sincerely ask theinternational community to do something to stop these atrocities.
  • My chances of survival are very slim now. But I have not given up, and I will try my best.”Killings, torture, labor camp

I would like to make an appeal to President Bush:

  • Please take pride as a President who has worked hard for Burma to achieve something before his term expires.”
  • “I might not have very long to live.
  • I, Gambira, speaking by phone with you right now, have a very slim chance of survival.
  • Please try your best to relieve our suffering.
  • It will be worse in future when they [the junta] have laid down their roadmap so they can remain in power forever—it will be a blueprint to oppress us systematically.
  • Once they establish their constitution, the Burmese people will suffer for generation after generation.”
  • Reports came out of the arrest of the U Gambira on 4 November. His brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw and father Min Lwin were also arrested in October. Their current whereabouts are not known.
  • U Gambira is believed to have been charged with treason for his role in leading the demonstrations, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment or the death penalty.
  • Other members of his family were arrested as “hostages” in an attempt to force him out of hiding.
  • U Gambira was arrested the same day his article appeared on the Washington Post on November 4, the source said.
  • The source, who talked to the clergy over telephone, said,
  • “He [U Gambira] responded saying that he had been arrested and is now under detention. Then, the line was disconnected.”
  • While how his arrest came about is difficult to confirm, some activists in exile believe it is related to his article, saying it might have given the junta clues to where he was hiding.
  • He was arrested on 4 November in Singaing.  U Gambira is 27 years old and is also a spokesperson for the People’s Movement Leader Committee.
  • U Gambira was arrested from a hiding place in Kyaukse, central Burma, in early November.

According to the news published on Dec 5, 2007 by DVB:

The father of U Gambira, U Min Lwin, who was detained along with his son a month ago, has now been released, according to a family member. Min Lwin and U Gambira were arrested by officers from the police information force and other government officials in Sintgaing Township, Mandalay division, together with a third man named Ko Mondine.

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  • U Gambira, was held at Insein prison since his arrest, while his father was detained at New Mandalay prison.
  • After being held for one month, Min Lwin was released at around 11pm on 3 December. Ko Mondine and two other men from Mandalay division, Pyone Cho from Ma Hlaing Township, and Khin Maung Soe From Htone Bo Township, were released at the same time.  
  • Ko Mondine, Pyone Cho and Khin Maung Soe had been arrested for delivering money to U Gambira.
  • Min Lwin said he did not want to talk about his prison experiences in detail.
  • “I’m very happy that I can meet my family again,” he said.  He said that he would now seek justice for his sons U Gambira and Aung Kyaw Kyaw, who was arrested in Rangoon on 17 October. Both of them remained in detention.
  • Aung Kyaw Kyaw is the younger brother of U Gambira
  • and secretary of the National League for Democracy in Pauk Township, Magwe division. According to the following reports in Irrawaddy,
  • His mother told The Irrawaddy that authorities told U Gambira’s family that he is charged with treason for his leading role in the September mass demonstrations.

U Gambira was born in the town of Pauk in central Burma. He has three brothers and one sister. 

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“I am very worried,” said his mother.

  • “I am so sad for my son and my husband.
  • They might be tortured during interrogation.
  • But I am proud of him [U Gambira].
  • Since his childhood, my son has been active in helping other people.”
  • The monk’s father, Min Lwin, is believed to be in Burma’s infamous Insein Prison, said U Gambira’s mother.
  • U Gambira’s brother, Kyaw Kyaw, was also arrested in October as an exchange while the monk was in hiding.
  • But his brother has not been freed since the monk’s capture.
  • His mother and three other family members were also detained and interrogated before he was arrested.

Detaining of the fugitive political activists’ family members by the SPDC authorities calling for an exchange with the fugitive activist is regarded by the Human rights organizations as a form of criminal inhumane act of illegally “taking hostages”.

The Saffron revolution is not over yet.

  • The SPDC regime’s use of mass arrests, murder, torture and imprisonment
  • has failed to extinguish our desire for the freedom that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have taken their best punch.
  • As the famous saying, “Shwe Ba Ah Sa Nar Myee.” This is just a temporary set-back.
  • There is another Burmese saying_Htow Myi’ Sin_Nauk Ta Hlan_Sohe Thee.
  • The GOOD will always TRIUMPH over the EVIL.
  • Kindly allow me to repeat clearly and firmly again, “our uprising is not over yet!”
  • The SPDC military Junta may control the streets and monasteries,
  • but they will never be able to control the hearts and minds or determination of the Burmese people.

ugb-4.jpg 

Now it is the generals who must fear the consequences of their actions.

We adhere to nonviolence, but our spine is made of steel.

There is no turning back.

There is another Burmese saying, Ngoke Mi_Thae Taing. Tet Naing_Phar Yoke.

It matters little if my life or the lives of colleagues, comrades should be sacrificed on this journey as long as our beloved holy, revered monks are leading us.

After all, Sayardaw U Gambari had selflessly sacrificed for all of us.

Our comrade brothers, sisters, children will fill our sandals, and more will join and follow till the Saffron Revolution revolution succeed and dumped the Myanmar Tatmadaw to where they belong, barracks, as the servants and security guards of the Burmese People.

Ah Yae Daw Pone Aung Ya Myi.

Free Sayardaw U Gambari !

FREE DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI!

FREE BURMA!

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Acknowledgement

Many data obtained from_

               

To win the Hearts and Minds of the people of Burma

To win the Hearts and Minds

of the people of Burma 

Surely there must be a_

 “How-to-Govern” manual somewhere that says:

Thou Shalt Not Martyr Thy Opponents

Unless Thou Really Is Not Interested in

Winning the Hearts and Minds of Thy People’.

Marina Mahathir

Actually I just want to write two shot commentaries after reading Burma Digest but I cannot finished in few words because they moved my heart so much.  Dr. Thuria Tayza’s presentation to Wilton Parl Conference, “We Also Want to Stand on Our Own Feet” and Jim Mcnalis’ ” Creating Heroes”. After reading the following two paragraphs of the above named authors, my eyes were filled with tears because their words went directly into my heart.

Dr. Thuria Tayza wrote,”But we also want to be able to stand on our own feet. We cannot go on indefinitely living our lives on charity from around the world. We do not want our people to become regarded by the world as begging people. We do not want our next generation to have to go on begging around the world for charity and donations. We want our sons and grand sons to be able to live in their home land as proud citizens who can stand on their own feet.”

Jim Mcnalis wrote in his, Creating Heroes, “What the regime fails to understand is that they have not created prisoners, they have created heroes.  Like Daw Suu Kyi, they are unable to break down their opposition.”

Actually most of our opposition and our enemy SPDC had unsuccessfully tried to influence the “brains of our Burmese Mass, population” by presenting facts, figures and statistics. We count the number of political prisoners, number of raped ethnic minorities, number of HIVpatients, inflation figures. We had tried to influence the brains of the Burmese People but we could not or failed to mobilize the whole population to rise up against the SPDC.

And SPDC also show off the infrastructures they had built such as; roads, bridged, dams e.t.c. to influence the people including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. But they even blamed Daw Suu that they allowed Daw Suu to tour the country to appreciate the above but, “she ignored the progress of the Nation building process of the Military.”

That shows that we all are ignorant in politics, if I have to borrow the words of the famous political Analyst, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, “People decide with their hearts but not with their brains.” If we could move the heart and minds of the people, we could mobilize the masses; detailed facts and figures are not that important actually.

No wonder, politicians and leaders frequently and successfully used the “Patriotism” to push for the mass mobilization even to start a war. When blinded with Patriotism, people are willing to kill or dared to be killed.

Love for the country, race and religion are successfully used by the leaders to mobilize the whole country. Even the dictators around the world tried to threaten their citizens with bogeymen: foreign super-powers, neo-colonization, re-colonization, communists, foreigners, possible loss of the country, race or religion e.t.c.

Actually SPDC had failed badly in this Psychological and Propaganda Warfare. As Jim Mcnalis wrote in his, Creating Heroes, “What the regime fails to understand is that they have not created prisoners, they have created heroes.” If Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is free, she would not get the present support of the whole Burma and the people of the world. May be even difficult to get a Noble Prize. Even before getting the power, opposition leaders, U Nu and Aung Gyi chose to walk a different path.

If only SPDC had allowed NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to form a democratic government, the Political scenario today would be different. Please kindly allow me to use an analogy.

Parents had given their beloved daughter a piece of cake. The big brother was angry because he thought the parents had shown some favouritism. So he used his bigger strength and power to take away the cake from his helpless power sister. The parents and neighbours witnessed that and labeled the big brother as a big bully. All of them pity the poor young sister.

If only he is more diplomatic, asked nicely that he is hungry, parents could give him another piece of cake. Or his gentle kindhearted sister would definitely share her cake. After all he is the one who is brave, strong and protecting her from the bullies in school and neighbourhood.

If only the SPDC is more diplomatic, may be the corruptions and infightings amongst the opposition could definitely need for NLD and Daw Suu to even ask help from the Tatmadaw. After all, the military is needed in all the countries to fight off the enemies and to unify the country. They are at least trained, well organized and have the experience of running the country’s government machinery. Just see our neighbours, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. After bringing down the military dictators, people have to turn back to ask help from their military later.

So arresting of Daw Suu, Min Ko Naing and all the political prisoners made them hero and definitely the whole world and all the Burmese People see SPDC as mere thugs.

But we had badly failed to mobilize the opposition during the Depayin incident. I think that is our biggest weakness. God forbade, if they do any thing bad on our leaders or even if bad things accidentally happens, we must prepare to mobilize the whole population to over-throw this SPDC Government.

I hereby congratulate and wish to record the praises to the BBC. We all know and accept that BBC was the prime mover of the people’s power in 8888 movement. On the day of surfacing of the “Royal Wedding Video”, BBC World’s  the “Asia Today” successfully and effectively shown a section of the video-clip of the diamonds of that “Princess” followed by the scene of Myanmar’s poor people in the slum. The short clip showing the mother feeding her hungry daughter with rice only without any curry, followed by the following video pictures could influence the world’s opinion on SPDC. Because the mother was talking to the BBC camera, the child touched her mother to attract her attention, showed the gesture by pointing her mouth to feed her could move the audiences’ hearts. Some of my friends even cry with pity. Congratulations BBC. You have done a very good job for us.

BBC had successfully illustrated the Dr Tayza’s following words “In Burma people are poor not because there’s no money in Burma. There is money in Burma. Burmese generals are making billions of dollars every year from gas, oil, forestry and mining in Burma. But the problem is they are using that money to buy huge diamonds for very grand and very glamorous and very glittering weddings for their daughters. So you know what is the root cause of long term problems in Burma.”

Bo Aung Din

The Power of Arts Moves

The Hearts and Minds of the People

The greatest power of art is its power to shake us into revelation and rip us from our default mode of seeing. After an encounter with that force, we don’t look at a face, a colour, a sky, a body, in quite the same way again. We get fitted with new sight: in-sight. Visions of beauty or a rush of intense pleasure are part of that process, but so too may be shock, pain, desire, pity, even revulsion. That kind of art seems to have rewired our senses. We apprehend the world differently. (BBC’s Simon Schama)

The Arts have an incredible potential to heal the individual, and to heal communities at times of need and turmoil. But, perhaps even more important, the arts can empower us to become agents ourselves towards the healing and empowerment of others.  “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”- (Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, 1952)

Writing, Poetry and The Spoken Word can empower individuals and communities. Words can unite, uplift, teach, build communities, inspire, and heal. Even stone, clay canvas or a blank paper came to life with the magic touch of artists.

The whole nation or even the whole world could be motivated by the power of art. There are some words that moved our hearts so much.  

Our beloved national hero Bogyoke Aung San’s speeches had moved the whole Burma to fight for the Independence. ‘I Have A Dream’ speech given by Martin Luther King from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the August 1963 had electrified America.

No wonder, politicians and leaders frequently and successfully used the “Patriotism” to push for the mass mobilization even to start a war. When blinded with Patriotism, people are willing to kill or dare to be killed.

Former UN Special Envoy Tan Sri Razali Ismail recalls his meetings with Burma’s most famous prisoner, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.in his, One Wisma Putra.. His art of portraying Daw Suu choked my heart, and I could not even talk for a while and unable to hold my tears.

“After a period of waiting she emerged, cool and composed, in a traditional blue blouse and sarong, with bunga melor (jasmine flower) in her hair. Call it a grand entrance, if you like. She was polite and dignified, placing me on her right as she sat with me on a semicircular settee, her back ramrod straight. It was one of those settees without backs, the kind that tends to make one slouch if one is not careful, and it made me painfully aware of my own posture, sitting beside her with her back straight as a dancer. Subconsciously, I felt obliged to match her posture, losing the battle, however, and slouching as the discussion went on. There was no question about it —she looked very attractive, what with the scent of the melor in the air at close quarters. At an early part of my conversation with her, I said, “You are not only courageous but also attractive.” (I was forewarned that she was glacial). By the end of a two-hour chat, during which time she did not bend at all (perhaps symbolic of her uprightness in terms of her principles), a basis for an ongoing relationship had already developed.

She believed wholeheartedly in the rule of law and hoped that the UN would equally commit to that in helping Myanmar. Our discussions covered, obviously, issues of reconciliation, the rights of various ethnic parties, the future role of the military, etc. But the times with her were very rich. Conversation meandered to other subjects like life, culture, humanity, law and rights. The Lady (Suu Kyi is affectionately referred to thus across the country) really can talk. She impressed me, surprised me, that despite her years of detention she had managed to keep track of virtually everything, including UN developments and those in the world. She even told me that she had been re-examining the Myanmar constitution in readiness for the difficult negotiations ahead toward national reconciliation and democracy.

Marching songs and bands are used by the armies to psyche their soldiers and the public. All the people are elated, ecstatic, euphoric and excited under the charm of the marching songs. Nationalistic spirits rose to the heaven. Love of the country filled our heart. Even hearing our National Anthem abroad, especially played after winning any game or sports at the prize giving ceremony would give a goose skin to all of us. Not only at the national level but our school song, party song or company songs could unite us and give us power and love to the respective organizations.

The other powerful art forms such as movies, plays, stage performances etc also need the background music. Even before the real scene of fight, love, sadness, scary events appear, background music could psyche the audiences in the required moods. And, nowadays because of the advances in Information Communication Technology, Internet is rapidly establishing itself as the most powerful weapon of the powerless poor ordinary citizens.

So, to mobilize the people, we need to know that the people tend to decide with their hearts but not with their brains. If we can move the heart and minds of the people, we may be able to mobilize the masses for our ultimate people power movement to topple military rule in Burma..

Dr San Oo Aung

To rebuild our beloved Burma on Moral High Grounds

To rebuild our beloved Burma

on Moral High Grounds

 

Lowliness is young ambition’s ladder,

Whereto the climber upward turns his face;

But when he once attains the up most round,

He then unto the ladder turns his back,

Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees

By which he did ascend.

Shakespeare’s – Julius Caesar II.i.22.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Success put us in the higher position. Once at the top_ in Burmese ‘Auk che loot thee’_ we forgot our origin and became very proud and arrogant.

‘Pwint Kaung’ Fish paste and Fish Sauce factory was nationalized. After many years General Ne Win wanted to give back the deteriorating factory to the owner and called the owner, U Pwint Kaung three times. But U Pwint Kaung refused to go back and accept his old factory. When General Ne Win rang up and asked, he replied, “Bogyoke, I could repair the ruined machines but could not changed back the ruined workers”.

General Htun Kyi was removed from the post of the Minister of Trade for corruption but was never tried in open court or punished because of fear of exposing the involvement of the colleagues in the cabinet. He was famously or rather notoriously quoted while still as a Minister:

 “Money can buy any thing you want. If you offer the US ten Dollar note, a hand will come out even from the graveyard to accept it. US hundred Dollar note may attract the whole body to come out to reach it.” When he was removed from office and investigated by the Military Intelligence he shouted at them to go and look at Daw Kyaing Kyaing’s Kyat 200 million worth of diamond earrings which he had given as bribes. So no one dare to continue with the investigations.

Daw Kyaing Kyaing is famous or notorious for her extreme greediness in bribe-taking. Once General Maung Aye was traveling in a helicopter and saw a very long convoy of teak timber lorries. He was angry and ordered his subordinates to take action on those illegal loggers as they were responsible for the deforestation of the hills and making them look like bald-heads. He fell silent when replied that those are Daw Kyaing Kyaing’s peoples and properties.

If we use the concept or philosophy of General Htun Kyi as input into a barometer to gauge the level of corruption in Myanmar Military Rulers the result will be frightening. The corruption of Generals and Government servants spread up to abroad. Myanmar Embassies’ staffs up to the Ambassadors and their family members would go around the Burmese Business communities and use to demand buying for them the latest most expensive hand phones, laptop computers etc… Government Procedure Code 4 or in Burmese ‘Poke ma lay, meaning, Pay hma loke,” that is ‘start work (service) only when bribed’, is widely practiced in the whole Myanmar and had even spread to Myanmar Embassies abroad. It is widely believed that this corruption leads to the burning of the Myanmar Embassy in KL.

Unemployment, insufficient income or low earning power, inflation and scarcity of goods lead to: _

Mushrooming of black-marketers everywhere including smuggling across all the borders and transport to the whole country.

Sprouting of new business of selling and buying of rations, permits and goods obtained by these rights. Even the Military authorities up to the Generals and Cabinet Ministers are practicing this. The army drivers sell their petrol, and wives of ministers use to sell sugars, condensed milk tins, soaps, cosmetics, electrical, building materials like cement and zinc coated corrugated iron sheets etc.

Military authorities and their cronies get nationalized apartments and sold off later. Some of them acquired the government land or the land government had acquired by various methods from the ordinary people. They acquired the building materials, sold part of it which can not only cover the cost of building material but the labour expenses also. Later the finished buildings were sold off with exuberant prices. This circle goes on and including the various levels of Military authorities. They built buildings in every town they were posted and also in their home town with the excuse of settling later after retirement.

Corruption became rampant. All three generations of Military governments’ machinery is plagued with corruption.

There appears a special class of “Sitt, Taung Sar” a homophone in Myanmar. Sounds like the Mayor or ruler of Sittang. But the real meaning Sitt is- inspection, investigation or audit. Taung means ask or demand for bribes. Sar is taking or accepting bribery. (But the corrupt authorities failed to realize that actually that Sit Taung Sar really rhymes with Tha Daung Saar or beggars. As all the people have to work or deal with black markets and smuggling bribery became ticket of survival. Because income is not enough the corruption became essential for many government servants and Military authorities.

Drug smugglers, prostitutes and gamblers are not accepted by the public in general but their easy money some times covered up for most of misdeeds until they are exposed.

Emigration permanently or temporarily also became new phenomena.

Working as sailors or legal and illegal migrant workers in foreign country is also one of the best solutions for the people and country. They bring back hard currency and essential as well as luxury goods.

It is also a blessing in disguise for all the Myanmar people. It forced and changed Burmese into a hard working people. People are working double jobs. In the evening and nights they are taking part time or second job in addition to their regular daytime jobs.

So it is up to the person’s character, moral values and upbringings, whether he is spoilt and degenerated or improved, polished and progressed in this trying hard time.

Corruption is a general concept describing any organized, interdependent system in which part of the system is either not performing duties it was originally intended to, or performing them in an improper way, to the detriment of the system’s original purpose. 

Specific types of corruption include:

1.         Political corruption, corruption of a political system through bribery, intimidation, extortion, vote buying, destabilization, or influence peddling

2.         Police corruption

3.         Corporate crime

4.         People’s corruption

In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse of public (governmental) power for illegitimate, usually secret, private advantage.

All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, but the most common are patronage, bribery, extortion, influence peddling, fraud, embezzlement, and nepotism. While corruption often facilitates criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and criminal prostitution, it is not restricted to these organized crime activities, and it does not always support or shield other crimes.

What constitutes illegal corruption differs depending on the country or jurisdiction. Certain political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some countries, police and prosecutors have broad discretion over who to arrest and charge, and the line between discretion and corruption can be difficult to draw, as in racial profiling. In countries with strong interest group politics, practices that could easily constitute corruption elsewhere are sometimes sanctified as official group preferences.

Alexander the Great was retorted by a pirate that because he had a small boat only that he was called a thief and pirate, but as Alexander had a navy so was called an emperor.

Yes! This is an unfair world at that time. He who kills an ordinary person is the murderer and must be punished. But he who killed a king become the ruler and ascends the throne.

There was a very popular joke in Burma (Myanmar). We all know that Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yu was General Ne Win’s best friend.

Mr Lee told Ne Win, “I would be able to turn Burma in to a ‘Singapore’ if you allow me to rule Burma just for only three years”.

Ne Win retorted immediately,” I also could turn Singapore in to ‘Burma’ just in only three months, if you give me a chance.”

That satire spread like a wild fire among all Burmese citizens without the help of any media.

Sure, Ne Win can! He and Myanmar Military Generals would be able to ruin and rob Singapore, till it bankrupt in a very short period.

He already had turned the once wealthy Burma into one of poorest country in the world. Actually Burma before Ne Win was the second most developed and wealthy country in Asia after Japan. Now she is among the least developed countries in the whole world.

If the country or a company or a person is bankrupt we could safe within five years but if the people of a country bankrupt morally, we could not safe and correct back in fifty years that is about one generation.

Successive Myanmar Military Governments not only robbed and ruin the country’s wealth physically but also corrupted and destroyed the peoples’ moral values in to a shambles, shabbiness and shame.

Myanmar Military Governments repeatedly brainwashed the people, by using all his government machinery and propaganda warfare techniques that he had to take over powers because of the historical needs, to save the country from the destructive hands of democracy leaders leading into division as multiple small states.

SLORC and SPDC Generals just echoed the same theme and claimed that they have no choice but to save the country from disintegration in the hand of evil forces. Namely the foreign agents, communists, Ethnic Minorities and rebels were named just to drum up the support making use of the patriotism and nationalistic spirits of the ordinary innocent naive people.

The worst of all, Ne Win planted the corrupted ideology or seed of the ‘Right to rule’ in the mind of the Burma Army. Successive Myanmar Military rulers not only believed and accepted it as a rule but made it in to a doctrine and determined to put it in their new constitution. They conveniently forgotten that the might is neither always right nor supreme but the knowledge or the brain rules the world.

They forgot that the military is the servant and is just like the security guard of the country and the people but not the masters, as they believed. People paid from their various taxes to the Army to protect them from the internal and external enemies, but never appointed the Army Generals to be their masters. The last free and fair General Election clearly proved this. The whole world knows this but the Myanmar Generals had given lame excuses just to hold on the power against the will of the people.

It is obvious that the security guards of a bank have no legal right at all to claim that the Directors and Managers of the bank are incompetent and they, the security guards, have the right to take over and run the bank to ‘save’ it. This is much more serious than criminal breach of trust and abuse of force. It is worse than a simple robbery but a great treachery. Myanmar Military Leaders are doing exactly like these security guards of the bank. The world’s largest and most powerful armies are kept under the control of the civilian Defense Ministers’ command. Even in the communist parties and in the various rebel groups around the world including those in Burma, the political faction keeps the right to command. The Military faction has to obey the orders.

Even in the domain of the wars and battles which is the main task and work for the armies, the Great Generals have no right at all to declare and start a war, or stop the war. Traditionally Political Leaders of the country have to decide these and the Generals have to obey the command, although they may be consulted for their advice and information.

General Ne Win took over the power in March of 1962. Military coups were quite popular in those days of early sixties in Asia, Africa and in Latin America. Now it is out of fashion and most of them reverted back to the civilian rule.

And the concept of Socialism and Communism was also very popular in those countries then because they had a bitter taste of colonialism and equate their western colonial masters with Capitalism and Democracy.

Nowadays only, most of the world realized the ugly side of Socialism and Communism especially because of their associated Authoritarian, Autocratic, Totalitarian and often Tyrant Governments. While the ordinary people have to sacrifice endlessly for the sake of the country, the leaders would enjoy not only all the best in the country but by even importing all the luxuries or went around for luxury tours to those ‘Imperialist, corrupted western Democracies’.

The most important thing is that they fail to deliver their promises of Paradise on Earth. Ordinary people become poorer and there is no sign of any improvement whatsoever after all their sacrifices for the country and party. The worse of all is the fact that those rulers amassed enormous amount of wealth and are enjoying their self-made ‘Paradise’ at the expense of the people. The mother of worse for the Burmese people is the fact that the Myanmar Military rulers have no shame at all but very corrupt and amass all the wealth of the country, not like other pure Socialist or Communist leaders. Country’s political systems were just vehicles or excuses used as a cover up operation or smoke-shield for the continued rule of the army only.

Political leaders and the governments are like the control center and the brain of the country. Military is like the limbs of the body. They have the muscular power, skeletal hard ware and some rudimentary reflexes. The limbs could not take over the place of the brain just because they have the power. They could not justify their act by claiming that they are supporting and defending brain and the whole body. There will be chaos. Myanmar Military is just doing this by giving the same lame excuses.

Like the limbs’ rudimentary reflexes, the Myanmar Military Generals also have a limited education. General Ne Win had not pass the Inter A. (GCE A) And General Saw Maung was rumored to have studied up to Primary School Education, i.e. fourth standard only.

According to the Myanmar Military ‘Socialists’, educated class or intellectuals are undecided, ignorant and corrupted class not to be trusted in their ‘Socialist’ revolution or in the Military.

Actually the Military dictators knew that they could not fool the educated class easily. The intelligent class always uses their heads (brains) and use to question and analyze each and every order. The dictators and especially Military leaders never like that attitude. Subordinates must always obey the command given to them. They have no right to think whether it is right or wrong, just or not.

Command is command. All must obey. Intellectuals have no place under Military rulers. If they do not want to keep their mouth shut, they must be put into detention or leave the country to avoid the dangerous consequences.

In civilized countries the scholar is always placed above the ‘man of war’ believing that “Nations which trusted the gun perished by it earlier”.

But in Myanmar under the Military rulers the opposite of the above rule is always correct. For Myanmar Military, power comes out from the barrel of the gun only. The might is always right for them.

And all the politicians are regarded as untouchables, low class taboo. General Ne Win in earlier days always equates them with the “corrupted, degenerated Parliamentarians” but later he introduced a “rubber stamp” Parliament to support and endorse his rule. And the army and ex-army men monopolized the politics and became Royal politicians.

Myanmar Military governments openly practice Nepotism, Cronyism and never decide on meritocracy alone.

Myanmar Military government is never transparent and is never free from corruption in all the dealings.

There is no check and balance, ACA (Anti Corruption Agency) or any organizations dealing with corruption must be independent from the administrative branch of Government. Newspapers, TVs and all the media must be free and independent to probe and do investigative reports. But those are turned into eunuchs and sycophants by Myanmar Military.

NGOs and other right groups must also not free to express their views nor even allow doing their works freely. All of them and various reporters have no free access to the government and the big companies connected them. These should be allowed as long as there is no real danger of espionage or national security. There is a danger of over protection and trying to hide under the name of national security to avoid exposure of the corruption.

There is no separation of powers in the SPDC Military Government. Administrative power of the head of the government should not let to be able to influence the Judiciary, Attorney General’s office and Legislative assembly.

Governments must accept that they were elected by the people to serve the people. When people give their votes, they are not choosing the masters to whom they are going to serve as obedient slaves. The people are just choosing a servant organization to serve the people. But most of the politicians act as absolute Monarchs or Kings, once they were elected.

Dictators use to claim that people must thank them for the successful guidance of the country to progress and for the government’s use of various budget money for various projects e.g. development, social, welfare and scholarships etc. But they conveniently forgot that people have voted them and even provided with salaries and all the parks they are enjoying and the money or budget they use is not from their own pockets but the peoples’ money in the form of various taxes and revenues.

When these dictators accuse the people of biting the hand who feed, it clearly shows that they even have developed an illusion or delusion of who feeds who and even has a gall to degrade and equate the people with dogs.

There must be enough check and balance as stated above if our opposition groups got power.

And there must be a strict rule to limit the length and terms of the head of the government, for example two terms of five year each. If not, each and every top leader would definitely overstay and slowly becomes a dictator by misusing all his powers to quell and silenced all the dissents. This is just a human nature and greed only. If there is no time or term limits, overstaying of the leaders of their shelf-life is not their fault but our fault of not making the important rules and regulations.

Sometimes he may even think that his mission to build, protect and contribute for the beloved country is not yet completed even after staying in power for few dozens of years. And there is a usual delusion among those leaders that they are indispensable and the country could not exist without their leadership. They sometimes sincerely but erroneously believe that they have to stay on and on for the historical needs of the country.

Even the democratically elected leaders will slowly transform into dictators in time.

Long serving leaders slowly become megalomaniacs and think that the country is there because of them. They equate themselves with the country and even have illusions that there is no one except him who is qualified to rule the country. They even believe that the sky will collapse and the country would be ruined and the chaos would set in if they were not there.

Most of those long-standing regimes try to point out some fellow long survivors to justify their overstaying. Continuity and stable government became their slogan and propaganda for the political battle to stay on in power.

According to them, their stable long serving government only could guarantee peace, bring in foreign investment, ensure continuous development and progress. They use to threaten the people with the possible political and racial riots, if they were replaced.

And many of them will slowly introduce nepotism, bringing in their own children and relatives in to the line of succession. Even if they were not to take over the power immediately, they are carefully groomed to step in later after the immediate successor, who have to warm the seat for the heir apparent.

By using the proxies, e.g. the names of other family members, the children and especially in-laws, they will accumulate wealth by hook or by crook.

Nepotism is rampant and always favours the cronies of Myanmar Army and ex- Army only. No transparency in all the government dealings and corruption have even damaged the whole population nation wide, starting from all the peons and officers of each and every government and local administrative and cooperative or semi government offices up to the Cabinet Ministers. They all will neglect the people and refuse to even entertain if not bribed. Nothing can be done without greasing their palms.

Even the peons will ignore your simple request for the basic information, the guards would not let you in, the application forms will not move from one table to another, or worst of all lost if there is no bribery.

Even in the hospitals, doors will be closed, hospital attendants refuse to push the wheel chair or trolley, no one will look after or nurse the patient. Medical officers ignore the patients if there are no presents or bribes. The consultants skipped the beds and see his own private patients. (The patients they had seen in their private clinics or the relatives have gone to send presents to their houses.) The patients were advised to send their specimens to the private labs for various investigations. Although they are in the government hospital and had paid to the various persons in that ward if they need operation their relatives have to go and see the Anesthetic at home. And they have to buy the stitches, plaster, gauze and etc. from the Operation Theater Staff. If not, no one will assist the patient in the operation. He had to engage a private nurse. Biopsy must be sent to the hospital Pathologist’s Private lab.

If you want to see an officer or a Minister, first of all you have to pay the PA then to the wife or children of the Ministers and Military leaders. You have to engage with the brokers specialized in the various fields and various ministries. And if there is a transfer of the relevant officer or the changing of Ministers, you have to start a new bid. If there is any ceremony, birthday, wedding etc. interested parties have to give expensive presents, jewelry, cars, gold bars and few thousands to millions of bank notes preferably the US dollars. To get the various contracts and permits, there are even generally agreed percentages to pay to various parties involved. Foreign investors need to pay up to millions of US dollars. If Ministers wives go for shopping to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or etc. the related foreign investors have to follow them and need to settle the bills.

We are mentioning the corrupt practices of the present government and government servants so that we could avoid those kinds of corruptions if we form a new government.

Myanmar Military rulers are reported to have organized and have even donated a lot nowadays. I hereby wish to remind all of you to please remember the teachings of our Lord Buddha. Don’t degrade your good-selves into the role of organizer, contractor or carpenters who have no chance of staying inside the pagodas and temples you built. Please do not just contempt been a gardener or farmer but enjoy the fruits yourselves.

Please enjoy the fruits of Dahma and practice what Lord Buddha taught us.

Redemption is never late.

There is a well-known saying in the Army,” (We)Do not want to know about the hole in the water bottle. We want water only.”

In the army you don’t want excuses. You want results only. That means: the order must be fulfilled without any excuse.

Please stop the excuses and give us democracy with the respect of the rights of the minorities, as promised by your predecessor General Saw Maung.

According to the Transparency International’s 2005 Corruption Perceptions Index, Myanmar is in the second last group position only because the corruptions of the politicians add up a lot on other countries. Actually 90% of politicians in most of Asia/Africa are corrupted. But most of the politicians in Burma/Myanmar are in opposition, no power; many of them in jail or outside the country, the marks of corruption of Politicians are almost nil and lost the honour of the last place in corruption Perceptions Index. If not Myanmar could get the last place and even could score 0.001. (10 =highly clean and 0 =highly corrupt, so 0.001 is very close to highly corrupt).

  “Today’s survey shows that people believe corruption is deeply embedded in their countries,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.

“When a poor young mother believes that her government places its own interests above her child’s, or that securing services like that child’s basic health care requires a hand under the table, her hope for the future is dampened. But embedded corruption can be rooted out when people join together to change the system that facilitates it.”

The Barometer indicates that corruption’s impact on personal and family life is most dramatic on poor households. In addition, citizens in low income countries tend to pay a significantly larger percentage of their income in bribes than in higher income countries.

 “Like a bad disease, corruption is often predictable, preventable and curable,” stated David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of Transparency International.

“The Global Corruption Barometer offers a harsh diagnosis, but effective treatment is at hand. Legal changes such as anti-corruption codes and conventions are being put in place. Companies are introducing anti-corruption programmes. The world is turning against the corrupt.”

Bribery is usually a hidden or tacit transaction. An illegal payment may be understood to be required in order to obtain a free service, or to speed up delivery of a required approval, such as a business permit or license, or to resolve a problem, even when a bribe is not explicitly demanded.

 “An unspoken request for payment is no less corrupt than an open demand for a bribe, especially if refusing to pay means that you may not get the medicine you need to survive,” said Huguette Labelle.

SPDC Generals could not be able to clear away the accumulated mass of rubbish of its own doing: corruption, mismanagement, and the deteriorating condition of the people’s, physical health, moral corruptions, psychological sufferings, religious intolerances, economical destruction, low GDP, low earning power, rising cost of living and legal mess. Burma as the country is financially poor economically ruined and Burmese people are physically and mentally weak nowadays. We need strong mental strength and willpower, mobilizing all the people of Burma and of course with the help of the whole world.

So if we really are patriotic, love Burma/Myanmar and wish the country to prosper, peaceful and progress, we must recruit the help of all the Burmese people residing inside and abroad, opposition parties, all the ethnic minority groups and different race and religious groups to reeducate our citizens about the good moral values.

We certainly could correctly read rampant corruption among many of us and has summed up quite accurately that many of us ignore the good moral values. We are able to deduct that even if we obtain our second independence in the not too distant future our country’s future is not very bright.

As politics is not a science but an art, very fluid and could change any time. We cannot read and predict the politics using arithmetical calculations or what we experience at present only. And surely the 8888 saga should have taught us that by now that a small spark could surprisingly trigger big political changes in a short time. Yes, in politics, expect the unexpected. Even 24 hours is a very long time in politics.

We the Reformists fight for equality, justice, transparency, good governance, an end to corruption, but all such ideals have to build on high moral grounds. If we just build our future progressive Shwe Bama country on the easy sand or shaky moral ground we are sure doomed to collapse in a very near future. We should rebuild our future paradise on the solid rock of moral ground. We were to follow and face the nature’s rules of “being in reality”, it means that we have to accept the reality of Burmese politics and we have to give a little leeway for some imperfection but could not compromise on morality.

Many Burmese “political geniuses” in opposition are prone to promote their own party only and downgrade other parties. See how “wise” and “realistic” they are when comes to Burmese Politics? We have to see the forest not the trees. And now in this globalize world, we have to see even various kind of jungles and numerous trees and not just only our way and our own party ways to see the true equation in Burmese politics.

There is a saying that if a frog is placed in a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump out to avoid death. Conversely however, if the frog is placed in cool and pleasant water and slowly heated, it would swim merrily in the increasingly warm water until it is too late to escape and is eventually cooked. But scientifically speaking, the above metaphor may be factually wrong. But the wisdom contained within it is however not. Corrupt Burmese citizens may one day awake to experience a very different melting pot, one like 1950’s. We got democracy but almost all of us are morally corrupted and we could face a lot of problems and turmoil endlessly.

Myanmar SPDC Military Generals believe that their incompetence can be covered up through an exhibition of power. Basically, there is a lack of good leadership and this has much to do with the fear culture currently prevalent within the military administration. No one dares to take a stand on his belief or for the truth. If the head of the Military Junta is rotten then what more can you expect from the subordinates?

Late PM of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto told his daughter, Benarzir Bhutto (who also later became the PM and suffer the same faith, deposed by the Military):

“Don’t be an idiot (to believe the Army Generals), armies do not take over power to relinquish it. Nor do the Generals commit high treason (Coup against the legitimate governments) to hold election and restore democratic constitutions.”

True! General Zia of Pakistan promised in July 1977 that elections would be held within three months. But he repeatedly gives excuses and postponed it for eleven years until he died in a plane crash. So we should wait for another person from Myanmar, who is doing the same thing to follow the same faith.

At the present corrupted life goes on within the Myanmar civil service without check and balance or even without a guilty consciousness. But then you must know how to lie. SPDC is hopeless. Their lie of seven steps of the road to democracy is exposed and the whole world knows that they are deceiving.

There is no central umbrella leadership in the various opposition groups so everyone seems to be doing what they like. If possible we should try to unite ourselves first.  But now anyone who dares to complain about the true situation of corruption and some of the problems in the opposition will find the entire group making his life miserable by accusing as SPDC agents or spies. If someone from within the same party has done a criticism, then he has to worry of the ‘Pushed into a Gauge’ that could even destroy his life or his peace. See what happened to ABSDF Upper Burma, hundreds of students were arrested without a substantial proof and about half of them were executed unfairly without even given them the chance to defend themselves or even showing any proof. (Relevant students’ relatives had complaint to the UN, US, UK and Japanese Embassies) Up to now, no one from ABSDF is trying to clear the air yet and future student activists would think twice before joining the rebels at the border. The truth with Politics is about the attainment of power. It is plain and simple. I would call ‘telling your version of the truth’, is very much part and parcel of the political game. A good politician, must master the art of even twisting the truth, or spin doctoring i.e. giving the people your version of the truth and we can call it a propaganda warfare or counter offensive. Because politics is about perception. It is how people perceive you that counts and not only what you really are.

As Benjamin Franklin wrote in his ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’ in 1759:

“A little neglect may breed mischief … for want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse, the rider was lost.” Here the mischief is not little!

We could not even neglect or brush aside one of the above facts as minor and not important but must consider in detail each and every facts.

So I hereby wish to request our politicians to stop playing dirty politics. We all should try to become true freedom fighters but not the opposition politicians to earn back the rewards after the revolution or to collect the money that is really meant for the opposition activities . If all of us really love our country to become a progressive wealthy secular democratic Federal Union we need to nurture good moral values.

Not only do we need to educate our citizens about the good moral values but we must also practice what we preached. And I remember one of my professors’ good advice, “Teaching is the best way to learn”. Seems awkward? In order to teach someone or a class, the teacher or lecturer has to read a lot, must understand the subject thoroughly and must be equipped with the up to date latest information. Even I my self managed to learn a lot just to be able to write this article.

Wake up all Burmese/Myanmar citizens. We need renaissance of the religions we professed to. We need strong Moral and Religious Values to cleanse ourselves. We do not need the religions to fight each other. We need religions to purify ourselves. Even if we no more have a shame or self-consciousness or guilty feelings we all should afraid of Buddha, Jesus or Allah (according to our beliefs). Religions should be used to pull us out of that corruption whirl. If not even if we get our second independence our country’s future would not be brighter.  

BO AUNG DIN 

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Comments

U Myo Nyunt, Myanmar Studies, Perth, Western Australia, said _

Dear  Bo Aung Din,

                                Emanating from your heart, the inner mind— mind mind,  Burma (Myanmar) freedom can be achieved through the “people’s will”– the people of  Burma.
Those who have once propagated  “the end of history”  and “the clash of civilizations” have now shifted their messages of perpetual domination through “new imperialism and capitalism” by their  political  agenda to combat and  wipe out  “terrorism”.

There is no end to  history, it unfolds.

The present “crisis”  in  Burma, is  the reflection of the  “value wars”  of the  twenty first century.

Back to the path— the  Noble Path. Burma (Myanmar)  peoples  life and  destiny is in our  own hands and in practicing the Buddha Dharma.  Perhaps as   Buddhists— we can accept  the existing reality in  our  country- Nation, and have faith in the  last words of The Buddha—  “strive on”. Dalai Lama in our  midst now has  also pointed out with other words :

 “all living beings form a spontaneous idea of self “

Myanmar (Burma), as a  “space” where we as Burmese democrats can  contribute to  life (human security) and peace (  even handed justice) rather than assist others attempt to Burma’s destruction and dissolution.

Towards Peace, Security  and Justice in  Myanmar (Burma)

Conla Fru said _

Good article! Successive military regime created/creates this environment of highly-corrupted society. If one gets a job, the first question his/her friend or relatives ask is “in what department?” just to know if he/she can make a lot of money from this post. The whole society is suffering from this pandemic corruption disease.

Say Young Sone Anyein, video 1 to 6

Say Young Sone Anyein,

video 1 to 6

You Tube Video source through Niknayman’s blog ( thank you Ko Niknayman for the videos)

We like to praise the courage of the Comedians after watching the Jokes of the Anyein performance , which is usually combined with the traditional dance with the jokes.

 

However the Jokes made by the famous comedians, Godzilla, King Kong,and the others make all of us laughing at the same times feel deep sorrow as we all know that these comedians were crying in their heart while making the Jokes to express the feeling for the 50 millions Burmese, who’s mouths were sealed by the Military Junta.

For the non Burmese readers I am unable to translate their jokes as they smartly and bravely used the Myanmar Language, Culture and tradition with current situation of Burma in indirect words. Myanmar Language is difficult to translate in its true essence as meaning may change with different intonation.

Following is my favourite quote regarding humor and the fight for democracy which was originally from Irrawaddy On-line.

Sit Mone

VCD Political Comedy

Draws Laughter in Rangoon

By Shah Paung
December 21, 2007
The generals who run Burma don’t like it when the joke’s on them, but political satire and humor are alive in military-ruled Burma.

A popular VCD depicting a traditional anyein performance is now selling like hot cakes in Burma. An anyein is like a variety show with comedians, singing and dancing.

The performance took place at Myaw Zin Gyun near Rangoon’s lake Kan Daw Gyi on November 24.

Well-known comedians including Godzilla, King Kong and Kyaw Htoo and four comedians known as “Thee Lay Thee” performed live in spite of a warning from authorities.

Before going on stage, Godzilla was asked to sign a document saying he would not make political jokes.

The comedian troupe is known as “Say Young Sone” (The Colorful).

The comedians quickly ignored the authorities and began cracking jokes about the military and the September uprising, drawing laughter and cheers from the audience.

The comedians targeted the September uprising, the regime’s municipal policy, the junta-backed Union Solidarity Development Association, religion and UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari.  

A VCD of the performance is now widely available in Rangoon despite a ban imposed by the government.
 
One youth in Rangoon said that since last week the VCD has been on sale on the streets. He said he bought 10 copies to share with his friends.

One of the most popular bits is when two comedians portray UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari and Minister of Information Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan, who is dubbed as “Comical Ali.”

Kyaw Hsan begins touching the legs of Gambari—the duo then gradually begin to touch mouths, eyes, ears and heads.

Gambari finally says he knows what Kyaw Hsan’s up to.

“This man does not know about “Myanmar!” [Burma],” says Kyaw Hsan.

Finally, the two stand up and can not touch each other any more.

“Your dollars are falling out!” says Kyaw Hsan, pointing to the floor. 

Gambari quickly bends over and picks up a US dollar. Kyaw Hsan kicks Gambari in the rear, shouting “This is Myanmar!”

Recently, the UN special envoy’s budget of more than $800,000 was approved for 2008 to work toward national reconciliation. The Nigerian diplomat has a Burmese nickname, “kyauk yu pyan,” which means “one who takes gems and then leaves.”

The performance also touched on Bagan Airline, which is  owned by Burmese business tycoon Tay Za.

Snr-Gen Than Shwe was satirized as a man who acted like a king and who treated his “servants” (comedians) like slaves. The servants finally punished the king by beating him. 

The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma began broadcasting the VCD performance on its satellite television network on Thursday.

Our Islamic roots in China

china_map.pngchina_ethnolinguistic_83.jpg  Our Islamic roots in China

We hereby want to mention the propagation of Islam in China.

Facts taken and summarized from_

1. “The Root of Islam in China”  by Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong, from the article in Islamic Herald, PERKIM.

2. And Wikipedia China and Islam articles.

3. My article, Panthay Muslims or Myanmar Chinese  Muslims

In China many Muslims are said to be from Huis and some are from Hans. Islam went to China through the ‘Silk Road’, a transcontinental pas­sage from Turkey in Europe across Asia right into Sin-kiang province of northwestern China, the homeland of the Huis.

The word ‘Hui’ is actually an abbreviation derived from three Chinese characters pro­nounced as ‘Hui vu er’ which means Huighur or Uighur; the name of a nomadic tribesmen.

When China became a republic, President Dr. Sun Yat­sen classified the fifty-six differ­ent races of people into five major categories i.e. the Hans, the Mans, the Mongs, the Huis and the Chuangs, with its first five-colour national flag (Red’, yellow, blue, white and black) representing them.

The Hans are the ‘Children of Yan Huang’ (Emperor Yan and Emperor Huang), living on the southern side of the Great Wall of China and right down to the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.  The Mans are the Manchurians of northeast­ern China.  The Mongs are Mongolians of Inner-Mongolia Province of China.  The Chuangs are the Tibetans of Tibet Province of China. 

The Huis; the collective name for the various tribesmen such as Huighurs, Kazaks, Salars, Tajiks, Tatars etc, lived along the Chinese-Russian border and beside the ‘Silk Road’ in Sin­kiang Province of China which the westerners refer it as Eastern Turkistan.

Long before the advent of Islam in Saudi Arabia the Arabs were already brave seafarers and excellent navigators.  Arab mer­chants were trading well with China and Southeast Asia. 

Our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. knew that China was a civilized and prosperous nation and so advised, “Seek knowledge even as far as unto China”. 

The historical records the arrival of Islam in China varies with dates ranging from 571 A.D. during the Sui Dynasty to 651 A.D. the Tang Dynasty.  According to a Muslim legend, Islam was first preached in China as early as the Sui Dynasty by a maternal uncle of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. for his reputed tomb at Canton is highly venerated by Muslims there until now.  Ano­ther popular legend, Islam went to China in 628 AD brought by three companions of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.

In the history of China, Islam first arrived at the Port of Canton (now Guangzhou) in southern China during the early Tang Dynasty in 651 AD. by the ‘Silk-voyage’.  Muslim mis­sionaries sailed through the Red Sea, across the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean; through the Straits of Malacca and across the South China Sea.  They traded with the countries along the shores of this sea route as well.

The third Caliph Osman of the Kingdom of Tasik, the Kingdom of Arabia then, dispatched an emissary to Chang Ann; the Capital city of the Tang Dynasty, to pay homage to the emperor and also introduced the social, cultural ethnic and religion of Islam to him. There were many Muslims residing in China at that time.

In fact the first Masjid outside the sacred land Makkah; The Prophet’s Memorial Masjid or the Kwang-ta Qi (the Bright-tower Masjid) was built in Canton. Arab maritime traders stayed mainly in Canton. Special residence areas and cemeteries were allotted for Muslims where-by tombstones with Arabic inscriptions can still be found there. They inter-married with local Hans and adopted Chinese surnames and even Chinese names. Some of the prominent ones were awarded Chinese surnames by the emperor. They preached Islam to the Hans, especially some of the intellectuals quietly embraced Islam.

The Huis were at those time still wanderers in the wild steppes of northwestern China.  But somehow the western and non-Muslim writers linked Islam, Hui and the ‘Silk Road’ together and thought the Huis were the prime and only Muslims in China.

Western historians also stressed that thousands of Muslims had already rushed into China by the ‘Silk Road’ in 751 AD, after the Tang Empire lost Central Asia to the Abbasids in the war at Taraz.  The Tang emper­or seek help from Samarkand (Samarkand was Timur’s royal city, celebrated its 2500th anniversary in 1970. It is an ancient site, located in modern-day Uzbekistan.)  and Abbasid soldiers to crush the revolt of his general Ann Lu-shan  of Turkey origin.  All these sol­diers stayed back in Sin-kiang and were later assimilated into the Hui race.  These events hap­pened during the sixth emperor of Tang, i.e. two hundred years after the Arab-Muslims settled down in Canton, Chuanahou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou, Emgzhou and other southern cities of China and developed good relation­ships with the Hans.

During the Song Dynasty 960AD-1279AD, the govern­ment then was very liberal and allowed its subjects to practice in whatever religions they be­lieved.  Islam expanded fast into the interior of China. The import and export trades of China were almost in the hands of the Muslims; they monopolized the beef and mutton; the precious stones and carpets business as well.  Islam spread fast and became another major reli­gion with more and more Hans embracing it.

In 1250 AD Islam was so popular that an Arab merchant who won the Chinese name from the Emperor as Pu’ Shou-keng, was even appointed as the Superintendent of Merchant shipping at the Port of Chuan­zhou in southerrn China.  He owned great wealth and con­ducted a mercantile fleet bet­ween China and Saudi Arabia. 

In 1270 AD Sayyid Edjill Chams ed-Din Omar a great grandson of our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W of the 31 st. generation, was made the governor of Yunan Province in southern China. 

In 1279 AD China was invaded for the first time by the Mongolians from outside the Great Wall of China and had its name changed to Yuan Dynasty.

During the Yuan Dynasty 1279 AD – 1368 AD, after Ghengis Khan conquered the whole of Asia and part of Europe; as far as the plain of Hungary, he returned with his multiracial military hordes of Turks, Persians, Babylonians Syrians and other middle-east mercenary soldiers to China. 

Besides ensuring his relations and kins in positions along the ‘Silk Road’ he stationed warriors and fighters in various cities and major towns of China to assist him to rule the Hans who out­numbered the Mongols many times.  The Mongol Empire was so powerful that the ‘Silk Road’ was completely under its control. Some Arabs migrated to Central Asia with many residing in Sin Kiang Province of China.

The Yuan dictator divided his people into three classes.  Of course the first class were the Mongols themselves.  The sec­ond class was his loyal and faithful foreign Muslims and their families and the third class were the defeated Hans of vari­ous religions.

The Huis embraced Islam in very large numbers.  Subsequently Hui-Muslims grew tremendously and Islam was eventually named after them as ‘Hui Chiaw’ the Hui-rehgion.  Till today there are less than ten per­cent of Huis who are not Muslims.  As in the Chinese language ‘Hui Chiaw’ is more easier to pro­nounce than’Yi Si Lan Chiaw’, ‘Hui Chiaw’ automatically became the official name for Islam in China.  Furthermore some Han Muslims (the descendants of the intermarriage between Hans and Arabs also called themselves Huis for the sake of not to be despised by the authority. The Yuan Government lasted for only ninety over years (the shortest dynasty in Chinese history) and was overthrown by the Hans again and named it the Ming Dynasty.

During the Ming Dynasty 1368AD-1644AD, Islam flourished; because its first em­peror Chu Hoong-vu was a Muslim himself. 

There are sever­al distinguish features to support this claim such as:

 

(i)    his empress was a well known Muslim as stated in the Chinese history;

 

(ii)      all his daily food and drinks were under strict supervision and scruti­nized by the empress her-self.  In other words he ate only halal meals;

 

(iii)     he wrote a ‘One Hundred Words Praise’ poem in Chinese to honour our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, the first and only emperor in China to have written such an inscription while the calligraphy of the poem was carved on a wooden board carefully preserved in the Nanking Masjid until now; and

 

  • (iv) he entrusted the life of his son to a Muslim soldier Cheng Ho.

But there is nothing written about his faith in Chinese history, because he knew very well that his subjects, mostly belonged to other religions,  would not like to be ruled by a Muslim emperor.

Muslims then, no matter of whatever origins, were treated equally and lived peacefully and harmoniously with each other.  Foreign Muslim settlers were easily assimilated into the Han’s way of life, absorbed into the Chinese civilization.  In every major port and city Muslims community set up its own coun­cil headed by kadis and imams. 

According to a Muslim mer­chant, Sayyid Akbar; in the city of Kenjanfu alone, there were as many as thirty thousand Muslim families.  They were exempted from paying taxes by the emper­or, enjoyed complete toleration in exercising their religion and any­one on his own free will be per­mitted to embrace Islam.

Besides, Muslim charity-homes and welfare centers shel­tered and nestled Han orphan in time of famine and disaster.  When famine occurred in other tropical countries, peo­ple there can at least eat roots of bushes or barks of trees, but in China its lands are so barren that when disruptions in nature occurred, people can only filled their stomachs with ‘Kwanin Tu’ (the mud of the Goddess of Mercy).  One example, during a famine that devastated the province of Kwangtung left more than ten thousand homeless Han children seeking refuge in these institutions.  These youngsters were brought up and taught to be good Muslims.  Furthermore mil­itary officers reverted most of their soldiers serving under them to Islam and they took advantage of the their authorities to win new brothers.  Thus the number of conversion to Islam through this were countless.

The most remarkable thing was that the emperor even gave Islam a new name i.e. ‘Ching Cheng Chiaw’ which mean Pure and True Religion to replace ‘Hui Chiaw’. The name for Islam written in Chinese had been regularized but then changed for more than thirty times from the first one ‘Ah La Bi Chiaw’ to ‘Hui Chiaw’ (‘Chiaw’ in Chinese means religion).

He also assigned a young Muslim soldier, Muhammad Cheng Ho to protect his prince, the heir to his throne.  When this prince succeeded him to be the second Ming emperor, he pro­moted this faithful bodyguard to the rank of Admiral and sent him set to the sacred land Makkah and south east Asia to search for his long lost brother as many as seven times. 

Each time Admiral Cheng Ho led a fleet of about one hundred ocean-bond vessels carrying more than twen­ty-five thousand soldiers and sailors.  Its flagship alone was fifty feet wide, four hundred feet long weighing one thousand five hundred tons. (This fleet when estimated at that time is compa­rable with the Seventh Fleet of the United States of America).

Muhammad Cheng Ho was a Muslim from the Yunan Province of Southern China.  But the Chinese media named him as ‘Eunuch Sam Poh’ sarcastically or may be mistakenly due to he was circumcised during childhood, and others take for granted that he was castrated.  When he was young he joined the army and fought and served his way up from an ordinary soldier to the imperial guard and at last became the famous ‘Admiral Cheng Ho’.  He took charge of the greatest expedition of that era, sailed half way round the world to as far as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa eighty years before Colombus accidentally discovered America and wrongly named its natives as Indians.

According to the ‘Malay Annals’ (Sejarah Melayu) it was also during this period that Sultan Mansur Shah of Malacca married one of the daughters of the Ming Emperor, Princess Hang Li Po.  Through this mar­riage Malacca gained Chinese protection against attacks and threats from Siam (Thailand), Sumatra, Java, India etc.

  Ming dynasty was the hey-day of Islam in China. 

The Golden Age of Islam in China lasted almost one millenium from the Sui Dynasty 571 A.D. to the Tang Dynasty, the Song Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty right to the Ming Dynasty in 1644 A.D.

Nevertheless after surviving for nearly three centuries, it fell to the Manchurians outside the great wall for the second time. The Manchus named its kingdom as the Qing Dynasty, 1644AD – 1911 AD. They adopted the ‘Divide and Rule’ tactic in China by creating vengeance and hatred between the Hans and the Huis. 

The Manchus, however regarded Muslims as the lowest caste of people in China and exercised strict and stem control over them.  They raised sensitive religious issues and even kindled quarrels and skirmishes among the two major races

In 1912 China was freed again from outsider’s control. Dr. Sun Yat-sen pro­claimed China a Republic and one of his ‘Doctrine of Nationality’ stat­ed that as most of the Huis were actually of Han stock who only practiced the Islamic faith and were thus different only in reli­gious beliefs from the other non­-Muslim Hans.

By right they should be absorbed back into the Han race just like the other Han Christians, Han Catholics Han Buddhists etc.  Unfortunately he passed away before his wise and just decision could materialized.

The Chinese Constitution Article 135, was amended in 1946 to differentiate and isolate Han ­Muslims from the rest of the Hans.  They were then labeled as “people in China who have their own conditions of living and habits”.  Therefore, Han Muslims were driven out of their own peo­ple. The original Muslim Turkish Huis and Han Muslims casting doubts on each other could not mix thoroughly together. 

After the Communists took over China in 1949, they banned all religious activities because they considered that these were the opiate of the people.  Worst of all under the Agrarian Reform they confiscated all land belong­ing to ancestral temples, monas­teries, churches and Masjids and redistributed the land to the peas­ants.

 After Premier Zhou Eng-lai attended the first Afro-Asian Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955, the Maoist regime wanted to gain support and goodwill from the Asian­ African Muslim countries, because the Islamic World has a strong political influence between the East and the West. He then permitted Islamic practices in China again.  Apparently it seem good for Islam, but the Communists had passed a bill in 1954 enforcing that all Muslims in China must be called ‘Hui mins’ (Hui people).

With this Red ultimatum ‘Hui min’ capped on all Muslims in China the term “Han Mus­lims” was completely wiped off.  At this juncture Muslims of the Han stock had no choice, either they forget about the Holy Qur’an and read the Mao’s Quotations or abandoned their Han-ancestry and pray side by side with the Huis.  Han Muslims after having suffered cruel perse­cutions, discriminations and elimination for several centuries resulted in them not knowing their roots. Fortunately their physical appearances, living habits, the Chinese staple food that they eat, the Chinese archi­tect Masjids that their forefa­thers constructed, their Chinese surnames and Chinese names with good meanings, remain.  Most important is that their mother tongue and the words they write are the Chinese Language.  They even read the Holy Qur’an printed in Chinese.

 

In the name of ‘The Cultural Revolution’ Mao, the ‘Gang of Four’ and the Red guards made all out attack on all Muslim areas. Wall­ posters appear all over the major cities demanding – the closures of Masjids, to disperse all religious institutes, abolish Qur’an classes, permit free and mix marriage etc.  Fortunately, the  Mao Tze-tung died in 1976 .

Veteran Deng Xiao-peng allowed the revival of all religions, including Islam.  Muslims can now per­form the five Islamic rituals again, their youths were allowed even to go oversea for further studies and there are many Chinese Muslim students in the International Islamic University of Malaysia.

The actual number of Muslims in China forever remains a conundrum.  The earli­est record in 1910, the mincheng­fu (Ministry of Interior) of the Qing government conducted a census with a total of 342.6 mil­lion people and the population of Muslims was between fifteen to twenty million.  After twenty-­eight years’ the 1938 Year Book of China printed a figure of forty ­eight million Muslims.  Then in 1950 The China Handbook stated fifty million Muslims.  After the Nationalist government retreat­ed to Taiwan it quoted in the 1957 Year Book of China with fifty million Muslims.

            According to the latest Communist government’s report, the figure declined to hardly thirty

million.  With its break-up as follows:

Five mil­lion Huighurs including all those of the Turkic-stock; five Hundred thousand Kazaks; four hundred

thousand Khirgizs, Tadjiks, Uzbeks, and Tartars; all these live in Sin-kiang province of  China and speak the

Turkish Language.

 Four hundred thou­sand Dongxians, Bao’ans and Mongolian Muslims living in the Kansu, Ningsia and Inner

 Mongolia provinces of China whose language belong to the Mongolian group. 

One hundred thousand Salars live mainly in the Tsinghai province of China with about fifty thousand

 Muslims in the provinces of Tibet and Manchuria. 

The remaining sixty per cent are Hui Muslims of the Han lineage, scattered all over China and Taiwan writing

 And  speaking mainly the Chinese language and adopting the Chinese habit­ual traditions and cultures.

After five decades Muslims in China should have increased but instead it decreased.  Where have the remaining Muslims gone?  The propaganda of the past Taiwan government stres­sed that they have been massa­cred, but the truth is that; besides those who had fled the mainland of China to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Kashmir, Pakistan and other neighbouring countries many Muslims of the Han lineage were frightened to expose their real identity to the Communist.  Therefore the size of Muslim population in China has been a controversial subject for more than half a century.

Retired General Omar Pei Chung-Si was a Muslim born in Kwee-lin of the Kwangsi province of southern China.  After the Second World War General Pei became the first Minister of Defence of the Nationalist China and the Chief Commander of the Southern Chinese Army fighting the Communists.  The Mao’s Liberation Army charged him as the third greatest war crimi­nal after Chiang Kai-shek and Lee Chung-ren, the Vice presi­dent of China.

Another confidential affair was that when Chiang was losing all the battles to Mao’s Red Army in central and northern China, General Omar Pei was tempted by the separatists to revolt against Chiang and lead the few north­west provinces to form the, ‘Chinese Islamic Republic’.  But this faithful general gave his undivided loyalty to his presi­dent as a very truthful Muslim, rejected the offer and instead he followed Chiang with his batons of soldiers mostly Muslims to Taiwan.  Since then they formed the first Chinese Muslim Association in Taiwan as there were already few Muslims in Taiwan before.

 

 

Turkic-Huis wanted to get the Sin­kiang province out of China. Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, the 30th. ruler, Sultan Abdul-Hamid 11 (1842-1918 AD.) had been influ­encing and spiritually assisting the Turkic-Huis in Sin-kiang to form a Turkish government. In 1870 AD the British established a protec­torate in Sin-kiang.  However .seven years later the Russian intervened and after signing the Treaty of St. Petersburg the British withdrew from Sin-kiang and returned it to China but with a great portion of it annexed by the Russian.  Later in 1933-1944 AD, with the sup­port of the U.S.S.R, Sin-kiang was proclaimed as ‘The Republic of East Turkestan’, but unfortunately after the second world war it was returned to China. 

This article ‘The Root of Islam in China’ is the first of its kind presented by a Malaysian Han Muslim, Haji Kahar Hoh Kok Hoong. He wrote it, based on his nearly forty years of vast experience and crucial researches done in and out­side China.

 

 

 

 

Islam first arrived in China after the 7th century CE, only a few years after the Prophet Muhammad’s death, during the Tang Dynasty. Islam was later spread by merchants and craftsmen as trade routes improved along the Silk Road.

The Emperor of China took Islam highly, and the first mosque in China, the Huaisheng Mosque was built in Canton, Guangzhou in 630 AD.

 

In 1271, the Mongol leader and the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty.

 

In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia itself.

 

The civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least twenty million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the First World War), with some estimates up to two-hundred million. In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed the Taiping Rebellion such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855-1867), Nien Rebellion (1851-1868), Muslim Rebellion (1862-1877) and Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873).

 

The Dungan Revolt is also known as the Hui Minorities’ War and the Muslim Rebellion. The term is sometimes used to refer to the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan as well. It was an uprising by members of the Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.

 

The uprising was directed against the Qing Dynasty and actively encouraged by the leaders of the Taiping Rebellion. When it failed, it instigated immigration of some of the Dungan people into Imperial Russia. In Shaanxi province, once-flourishing Hui Muslim communities fell from 700,000 or 800,000 to between 20,000 and 30,000 in ten years.

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.

 

Rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi

 

Background

 

Chinese Muslims had been traveling to West Asia for many years prior to the Hui Minorities’ War. In the 18th century, several prominent Muslim clerics from Gansu studied in Mecca and Yemen under the Naqshbandi Sufi teachers.

 

Two different forms of Sufism were brought back to Northwest China by two charismatic Hui sheikhs: Khafiya (also spelt Khafiyya or Khufiyah; Chinese: 虎夫耶, Hǔfūyē), associated with the name of Ma Laichi (马来迟, 1681-1766), and a more radical Jahriyya (also spelt Jahriya, Jahariyya, Jahariyah, etc.; Chinese: 哲赫林耶, Zhéhèlínyē, or 哲合忍耶, Zhéhérěnyē), founded by Ma Mingxin (马明新 or 马明心, 1719(?)-1781). The coexisted with the more traditional, non-Sufi Sunni practices, centered around local mosques and known as gedimu (格底目 or 格迪目). The Khafiya school, as well as non-Sufi gedimu tradition, both tolerated by the Qing authorities, were referred to by them as the “Old Teaching” (老教), while Jahriya, viewed as suspect, became known as the “New Teaching” (新教).

 

Disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted risings by Hui and Salar followers of the New Teaching in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed.

 

 

The course of the rebellion

As the Taiping troops approached south-eastern Shaanxi in the spring of 1862, the local Han Chinese, encouraged by the Qing government, formed tuanlian (trad. 團練, simplified 团练) militias to defend the region against the Taipings. Afraid of the armed Han, the Muslims formed their own tuanlian units.

 

According to modern researchers (Lipman (1998), p. 120-121), the Muslim rebellion started in 1862 not as a centralized planned uprising, but as coalescing of many local brawls and riots triggered by seemingly trivial causes. The prestige of the Qing dynasty being low and their armies being busy elsewhere, the rebellion that started in the spring of 1862 in the Wei River valley was able to spreadly rapidly throughout the southeastern Shaanxi. By late June 1862, the organized Muslim fighter bands were able to besiege Xi’an, which was not relieved by the Qing general Dolongga (Chinese: 多隆阿, Duo Long-a) until the fall of 1863.

 

A vast number of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu. Some of them formed the “Eighteen Great Battalions” in eastern Gansu, intending to fight back to their homes in Shaanxi.

 

While the Hui rebels took over Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg, who had fled from Kokand Khanate in 1865 or 1866 after losing Tashkent to the Russians, set himself up as the ruler in Kashgar, soon taking over the entire Xinjiang.

 

In 1867 the Qing government sent one of their best officials, Zuo Zongtang, a hero of the suppression of the Taiping Rebellion, to Shaanxi. His forces were ordered to help put down the Nian Rebellion and he was not able to deal with the Muslim rebels until December 1868. Zuo’s approach was to rehabilitate the region by promoting agriculture, especially cotton and grain as well as supporting orthodox Confucian education. Due to the poverty of the region Zuo had to rely on financial support from outside the North-West.

 

After suppressing the rebellion in Shaanxi and building up enough grain reserves to feed his army, Zuo attacked the most important Muslim leader, Ma Hualong (马化龙). Zuo’s troops reached Ma’s stronghold, Jinjibao (Chinese: 金积堡, Jinji Bao, i.e. Jinji Fortress) in what was then north-eastern Gansu[1][2][3] in September of 1870, bringing Krupp siege guns with him. After a sixteen months’ siege, Ma Hualong was forced to surrender in January of 1871. Zuo sentenced Ma and over eighty of his officials to death by slicing. Thousands of Muslims were exiled to different parts of China.

 

Zuo’s next target was Hezhou (now known as Linxia), the main Hui people center west of Lanzhou and a key point on the trade route between Gansu and Tibet. Hezhou was defended by the Muslim forces of Ma Zhan’ao (马占鳌). Not a Jahriya (New Teaching) adherent, he was a pragmatic member of the Khafiya (Old Teaching) movement, ready to explore avenues for peaceful coexistence with the Qing state. After successfully repulsing Zuo’s offensive against Hezhou in 1872, he offered to surrender his stronghold to the empire, and offered his assistance to the Qing for the duration of the war. His diplomatic skills are evidenced by the success he managed achieved in preserving his community: while Zuo Zongtang pacified other areas by moving the Muslims elsewhere (in the spirit of the 洗回 (xi Hui), “washing off the Muslims” approach that had been long advocated by some officials), in Hezhou it were the non-Muslims whom Zuo relocated out of the area. The Hezhou (Linxia) area remains heavily Muslim to this day, achieving the status of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture under the PRC.

 

Zuo’s troops being reinforced by some of the Hezhou Muslims that have changed sides, he now planned to proceed westward, along the Hexi Corridor toward Xinjiang. However, he felt it necessary to first secure his left flank by taking Xining, which not only had a large Muslim community of its own, but also sheltered many of the refugees from Shaanxi. After three months’ resistance, Xining fell to Zuo’s commander Liu Jintang in the late fall of 1872. The defenders’ commander Ma Guiyuan was captured, and thousands of armed defenders was killed. The Muslim population of Xining was spared, however; the Shaanxi refugees sheltered there were resettled or arable lands in eastern and southern Gansu, isolated from other Muslim areas.

 

Despite repeated offers of amnesty, many Muslims continued to resist at their last Gansu stronghold in Suzhou (now known as Jiuquan), which sits astride the Hexi Corridor in the western part of the province. The defence of the city was commanded by Ma Wenlu, originally from Xining; many Hui that had retreated from Shaanxi were there as well. After securing his supply lines, Zuo besieged Suzhou the city in September 1873 with 15,000 troops under his personal command. The Huis’ rifles were no match to Zuo’s siege guns, and the fortress fell on October 24. Zuo had 7,000 Muslims executed, and resettled the survivors in southern Gansu, to ensure that the entire Gansu Corridor from Lanzhou to Dunhuang would remain Muslim-free, preventing a possibility of future collusion between the Muslims of Gansu and Shaanxi and those of Xinjiang.

 

 

Rebellion in Xinjiang

 

Shooting exercises of Yakub Beg’s Dungan and Chinese taifurchi (gunners)

 

Pre-rebellion situation in Xinjiang

By the 1860s, Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century. The entire Xinjiang was administratively divided into three parts (“circuits”; Chinese: 路, lu):

 

The North-of-Tianshan Cirucit (天山北路, Tianshan Beilu), including the Ili basin and Dzungaria. (This region roughly corresponds to the modern Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, including prefectures it controls and a few smaller adjacent prefectures).

The South-of-Tianshan Circuit (天山南路, Tianshan Nanlu). Ir included the “Eight cities”, i.e. the “Four Western Cities” (Khotan, Yarkand, Yangihissar, Kashgar) and the “Four Eastern Cities” (Ush, Aqsu, Kucha, Karashahr).

The Eastern Circuit (东路, Donglu), in eastern Xinjiang, centered around Urumqi.

The General of Ili, stationed in Huiyuan Cheng (Ili), had the overall military command in all three circuits. He also was in charge of the civilian administration (directly in the North-of-Tianshan Circuit, and via local Muslim (Uyghur) begs in the South Circuit). However, the Eastern Circuit was subordinated in the matters of civilian administration to the Gansu province.

 

Trying (not always successfully) to prevent repetition of incursions of Afaqi khojas from Kokand into Kashgaria, such as those of Jahangir Khoja in the 1820s or Wali Khan in 1857, Qing government had increased the troops level in Xinjiang to some 50,000. There were both Manchu and Chinese units in the province; the latter, having been recruited mostly in Shaanxi and Gansu, had a heavily Hui (Dungan) component. A large part of the Qing army in Xinjiang was based in the Nine Forts of the Ili Region, but there were also forts with Qing garrisons in most other cities of Xinjiang as well.

 

The cost of maintaining this army was much higher than the taxation of the local economy could sustainably provide, and required subsidies from the central government – which, however, became infeasible by the 1850-60s due to the costs of fighting Taiping and other rebellions in the Chinese heartland. The Qing authorities in Xinjiang responded by raising taxes and introducing new ones, and selling official posts to the highest bidders (e.g. that of governor of Yarkand to Rustam Beg of Khotan for 2,000 yambus, and that of Kucha to Sa’id Beg for 1,500 yambus). The new officeholders would then proceed to recoup their investment by fleecing their subject population.

 

Increasing tax burden and corruption only added to the discontent of the Xinjiang people, who had long suffered both from the maladministration of Qing officials and the local begs subordinated to them and from the destructive invasions of the khojas. The Qing soldiers in Xinjiang, however, still were not paid on time or properly equipped.

 

With the start of the rebellion in Gansu and Shaanxi in 1862, rumors started spreading among the Hui (Dungans) of Xinjiang that the Qing authorities are preparing a wholesale preemptive slaughter of the Huis in Xinjiang, or in a particular community. The opinions on the veracities of these rumors differ: while Tongzhi Emperor described them as “absurd” in his edict of September 25, 1864, Muslim historian generally believe that massacres were indeed planned, if not by the imperial government, then by various local authorities. Thus it was the Dungans that usually were to revolt in most Xinjiang towns, although the local Turkic people – Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, or Kazakhs – would usually quickly join the fray.

 

 

Multi-centric rebellion

The first spark of the rebellion in Xinjiang was small enough for the Qing authorities to extinguish easily. On March 17, 1863, some 200 Dungans from the village of Sandaohe (a few miles west of Suiding), supposedly provoked by a rumor of a preemptive Dungan massacre, attacked Tarchi (塔勒奇城, Taleqi Cheng), one of the Nine Forts of the Ili. The rebels seized the weapons from the fort’s armory and killed soldiers of its garrison, but were soon defeated by government troops from other forts and killed themselves.

 

It was not until the next year that the rebellion broke out again – this time, almost simultaneously in all three Circuits of Xinjiang, and on a scale that made suppressing it beyond the ability of the authorities.

 

On the night of June 3-4, 1864, the Dungans of Kucha, one of the cities South of Tianshan, rose, soon joined by the local Turkic people. The Chinese fort, which, unlike many other Xinjiang locations, was located inside of the town, rather than outside of it, fell within a few days. Government buildings were burnt and some 1000 Chinese and 150 Mongols were killed. Neither of the Dungan or Turkic leaders of the rebellion having enough authority in the entire community to become commonly recognized as a leader, the rebels instead choose a person who had not participated in the rebellion, but was known for his spiritual role: Rashidin (Rashīdīn) Khoja, a dervish and the custodian of the grave of his ancestor of saintly fame, Arshad-al-Din (? – 1364 or 65). Over the next three years, he was to send military expedition east and west, attempting to bring the entire Tarim Basin under his control; however, his expansion plans were to be frustrated by Yaqub Beg.

 

Just three weeks after Kucha, the rebellion started in the Eastern Circuit. The Dungan soldiers of the Urumqi garrison rebelled on June 26, 1864, soon after learning about the Kucha rebellion. The two Dungan leaders were Tuo Ming (a.k.a Tuo Delin), a New Teaching ahong from Gansu, and Suo Huanzhang, an officer with close ties to Hui religious leaders as well. Large parts of the city were destroyed, the tea warehouses burned, and the Manchu fortress besieged. Then the Urumqi rebels started advancing westward through what is today Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, taking the cities of Manas (also known then as Suilai) on July 17 (the Manchu fort there fell on September 16) and Wusu (Qur Qarausu) on September 29.

 

On October 3, 1864, the Manchu fortress of Urumqi also fell to the joint forces of Urumqi and Kuchean rebels. In a pattern that was to repeat in other Chinese forts throughout the region, the Manchu commander, Pingžui, preferred to explode his gunpowder, killing himself and his family, rather than surrender.

 

The Dungan soldiers in Yarkand in Kashgaria learned of the Manchu authorities plan to disarm or kill them, and rose in the wee hours of July 26, 1864. Their first attack on the Manchu fort (which was outside of the walled Muslim city) failed, but it still cost 2,000 Qing soldiers and their families their lives. In the morning, the Dungan soldiers entered the Muslim city, where some 7,000 Chinese were massacred. The Dungans being numerically few compared to the local Turkic Muslims, they picked a somewhat neutral party – one Ghulam Husayn, a religious man from a Kabul noble family – as the puppet padishah.

 

By the early fall of 1864, the Dungans of the Ili Basin in the “Northern Circuit” rose too, encouraged by the success of Urumqi rebels at Wusu and Manas, and worried by the prospects of preemptive repressions by the local Manchu authorities. The Ili General (the Ili Jiangjun, 伊犁将军) Cangcing, hated by the local population as a corrupt oppressor, was sacked by the Qing government after his troops had been defeated by the rebels at Wusu, and Mingsioi was appointed to replace them. His attempts to negotiate with the Dungans were in vain though; on November 10, 1864, the Dungans rose both in Ningyuan (the “Taranchi Kuldja”), the commercial center of the region, and Huiyuan (the “Manchu Kuldja”), the military and administrative center of the region. Kulja’s Taranchis (Turkic-speaking farmers who were to form later part of the Uyghur people) joined in the rebellion. When the local Muslim Kazakhs and Kyrgyz felt that the rebels are gained the upper hand, they joined it as well; on the other hand, the Buddhist Kalmyks and Xibe mostly stayed loyal to the Qing government.

 

Ningyuan fell to the Dungan and Uighur rebels at once, but the strong government force at Huiyuan made the insurgents retreat after 12 days of heavy fighting in the streets of the city. The local Hans, seeing the Manchus winning, joined forces with them. However, the Qing forces’ counter-offensive failed. The imperial troops lost their artillery and the “Ili General” Mingsioi barely escaped capture. With the fall of Wusu and Aksu, the Qing garrison, entrenched in the Huiyuan fortress, was completely cut off from the rest of empire-controlled territory; Mingxu had to send his communications to Beijing via Russia.

 

While the Qing forces in Huiyuan successfully repelled the next attack of the rebels (12 December 1864), the rebellion kept spreading through the northern part of the province (Dzungaria), where the Kazakhs were glad to take revenge on the Kalmyks that used to rule the area in the past.

 

 

“Ruins of the Theater in Chuguchak”, painting by Vereshchagin (1869-70)For the Chinese New Year of 1865, the Hui leaders of Tacheng (Chuguchak) invited the local Qing authorities and Kalmyk nobles to assemble in the Hui mosque, in order to swear a mutual oath of peace. But once the Manchus and Kalmyks were in the mosque, the Huis seized the city armory, and started killing the Manchus. After two days of fighting, the Muslims were in control of the town, while the Manchus were besieged in the fortress. However, with the Kalmyk help, the Manchus were able to retake the Tacheng area by the fall of 1865. This time, it was the Huis turn to be locked up in the mosque. The fighting resulted in the utter destruction of Tacheng and the surviving residents fleeing the town.

 

Both the Qing government in Beijing and the beleaguered Kulja officials asked the Russian for assistance against the rebellion (via Russian envoy in Beijing, G.A. Vlangali, and via the Russian commander in Semirechye, General Gerasim Kolapakovsky (Колпаковский) respectively). The Russians, however, were diplomatically non-committal: on the one hand, as Vlangali wrote to Saint Petersburg, a “complete refusal” would be bad for Russia’s relations with Beijing; on the other hand, as Russian generals in Central Asia felt, seriously helping China against Xinjiang’s Muslims would do nothing to improve Russia’s problems with its own new Muslim subjects – and in case the rebellion were to succeed and form a permanent Hui stete, having been on the Qing’s side would do nothing good for Russia’s relations with that new neighbor. The decision was thus made in Saint Petersburg in 1865 to avoid offering any serious help to the Qing, beyond agreeing to train Chinese soldiers in Siberia – should they send any – and to sell some grain to the defenders of Kuldja on credit. The main priority of Russian government was in guarding its border with China and preventing any possibility of the spread of the rebellion into Russia’s own domain.

 

Considering that offense is the best defense, Kolpakovsky suggested to his superiors in February 1865 that Russia should go beyond defending its border and move in force into Xinjiang’s border area, seizing Chuguchak, Kuldja and Kashgar areas and colonizing the area with Russian settlers – all to better protect the Romanovs’ empire’s other domains. The time was not ripe for such an adventure, however: as Foreign Minister Gorchakov noted, such a breach of neutrality would be not a good thing if China does recover its rebel provinces, after all.

 

Meanwhile the Qing forces in the Ili Valley did not fare well. In April 1865, the Huining (惠宁) fortress (today’s Bayandai (巴彦岱), located between Yining and Huiyuan), fell to the rebels after three months’ siege. Its 8,000 Manchu, Xibe, and Solon defenders were massacred, and two survivors, their ears and noses cut off, sent to Huiyuan – Qing’s last stronghold in the Valley – to tell the Governor General about the fate of Huining.

 

Most of the Huiyuan (Manchu Kulja) fell to the rebels on January 8, 1866. Most of the residents and garrison perished; some 700 rebels died as well. Mingsioi, still holding out in the Huiyuan fortress with the remainder of his troops, but having run out of food, sent a delegation to the rebels, bearing a gift of 40 sycees of silver[4] and four boxes of green tea, and offering to surrender, provided the rebels guarantee their lives and allow them to keep their allegiance to the Qing government. Twelve Manchu officials with their families left the citadell along with the delegation. The Huis and Uyghurs received the delegation and allowed the refugees from Huiyuan to settle in Yining (“the Old Kuldja”). However, the rebels would not accept Mingsioi’s condition, and required instead that he surrender immediately and recognize the authority of the rebels. As Mingsioi rejected the rebels’ proposal, the rebels proceeded to storm the citadel at once. On March 3, the rebels having broken into the citadel, Mingsioi assembled his family and staff in his mansion, and blew it up, dying under its ruins. This was the end, for the time being, of the Qing rule in the Ili Valley.

 

 

Yaqub Beg in Kashgaria

 

Yakub Beg’s “Andijani” taifurchi (gunners)As reported by Muslim sources, the Qing authorities in Kashgar did not just intend to eliminate local Dungans, but in fact managed to carry out such a preemptive massacre in the summer of 1864. Perhaps this weakening of the local Dungan contingent resulted in the rebellion been initially not as successful in this area as in the rest of the province. Although the Dungan rebels were able to seize Yangihissar, neither they not the Kyrgyz of Siddiq Beg could break into either into the Manchu forts outside of Yangihissar and Kashgar, nor into the walled Muslim city of Kashgar itself, held by Qutluq Beg, a local Muslim appointee of the Qing.

 

Unable to take conrol of the region on the own, the Dungan and Kyrgyz turn for help to Kokand’s ruler Alim Quli. The help arrived in the early 1865, in the form both spiritual and material. The spiritual part consisted of Buzurg Khoja (also known as Buzurg Khan), member of the influential Afaqis family of khojas, whose religious authority could be expected to raise the rebellious spirit of the populace. He was a fine heir of the long family tradition of starting mischief in Kashgaria, being a son of Jahangir Khoja and brother of Wali Khan Khoja. The material part – as well as the expected conduit of Kokandian influence in Kashgaria – consisted of Yaqub Beg, a young but already well known Kokandian military commander, with an entourage of a few dozen Kokandian soldiers, who became known in Kashgaria as Andijanis.

 

Although Siddiq Beg’s Kyrgyz had already taken the Muslim town of Kashgar by the time Buzurg Khoja and Yaqub Beg arrived, he had to allow the popular khoja to settle in the former governor’s residence (the urda). Siddiq’s attempts to assert his dominance were crushed by Yaqub Beg’s and Buzurg’s forces. The Kyrgyz then had to accept Yaqub’s authority.

 

With his small, but comparatively well disciplined and trained army, made of the local Dungans and Kashgarian Turkic people (Uighurs, in modern terms), their Kyrgyz allies, Yaqub’s own Kokandians, as well as some 200 soldiers sent by the ruler of Badakhshan, Yaqub Beg was able not only to take the Manchu fortress and the Chinese town of Kashgar during 1865 (the Manchu commander in Kashgar, as usual, blowing himself up), but to defeat much larger force sent by the Rashidin of Kucha, who was trying to dominate the Tarim Basin region himself.

 

While Yaqub Beg was asserting his authority over Kashgaria, the situation back home in Kokand changed radically. In May 1865, Alim Quli lost his life while defending Tashkent against the Russians; many of his soldiers (primarily, of Kyrgyz and Kipchak background) deemed it advisable to flee for comparative safety of Kashgaria. They appeared at the borders of Yaqub Beg’s domain in early September 1865.

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

The number of deaths in the war is estimated at several million,[5] making it one of the bloodiest wars in China and the world.

 

 

The flight of the Dungans to Russian Empire

The failure of the uprising led to some immigration of Hui people into the Imperial Russia. According to Rimsky-Korsakoff (1992), three separate groups of the Hui people fled to Russian Empire across the Tian Shan Mountains during the exceptionally severe winter of 1877/78:

 

The first group, of some 1000 people, originally from Turfan in Xinjiang, led by Ma Daren (马大人), also known as Ma Da-lao-ye (马大老爷), reached Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The second group, of 1130 people, originally from Didaozhou (狄道州) in Gansu, led by ahong A Yelaoren (阿爷老人), were settled in the spring of 1878 in the village of Yardyk some 15 km from Karakol in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. They numbered 1130 on arrival.

The third group, originally from Shaanxi, led by Bai Yanhu (白彦虎; also spelt Bo Yanhu; 1829(?)-1882), one of the leaders of the rebellion, were settled in the village of Karakunuz (now Masanchi), is modern Zhambyl Province of Kazakhstan. Masanchi is located on the northern (Kazakh) side of the Chu River, 8 km north from the city Tokmak in north-western Kyrgyzstan. This group numbered 3314 on arrival.

Another wave of immigration followed in the early 1880s. In accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Saint Petersburg signed in February 1881, which required the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the Upper Ili Basin (the Kulja area), the Hui and Taranchi (Uighur) people of the region were allowed to opt for moving to the Russian side of the border. Most choose that option; according to the Russian statistics, 4,682 Hui moved to Russian Empire under the treaty. They migrated in many small groups between 1881-83, settling in the village of Sokuluk some 30 km west of Bishkek, as well as in a number of points between the Chinese border and Sokuluk, in south-eastern Kazakhstan and northern Kyrgyzstan.

 

The descendants of these rebels and refugees still live in Kyrgyzstan and neighboring parts of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. They still call themselves the Hui people (Huizu), but to the outsiders they are known as Dungan, which means Eastern Gansu in Chinese.

 

 

 

The war in Xinjiang, and the Russian involvement

 

V.A. Moiseev, “Muslim Rebellion in Xinjiang and Russia’s policy (1864-1871)”, in “Россия и Китай в Центральной Азии (вторая половина XIX в. – 1917 гг.)” (Russia and China in Central Asia (second half of the 19 c. thru 1917). Barnaul, Azbuka Publishers, 2003. ISBN 5-93957-025-9(Russian)

“Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier”, by Sarah C. M. Paine (1996) ISBN 1563247232

The Dungan emigration

 

Svetlana Rimsky-Korsakoff Dyer. Karakunuz: An Early Settlement of the Chinese Muslims in Russia, with an English translation of V. Tsibuzgin and A.Shmakov’s work. “Asian Folklore Studies”, Vol. 51 (1992), pp. 243-279.

The “Shaanxi Village” in Kazakhstan (Chinabroadcast.cn)

 

Panthay Rebellion

 

 

The Panthay Rebellion (known in Chinese as the Du Wenxiu Qiyi 杜文秀起义, 1856 – 1873) was a separatist movement of the Hui people and Chinese Muslims, against the imperial Qing Dynasty in southwestern Yunnan Province, China, as part of a wave of Hui-led multi-ethnic unrest.

 

 

Causes

Between 1648 and 1878, more than twelve million Hui and Uyghur Muslims were killed in ten unsuccessful uprisings against the Qing Dynasty.[1] The unfavorable discrimination with which the Hui were treated by the Han and by the imperial administration was at the root of their rebellions. The Panthay Rebellion began out of a conflict between Han and Muslim tin miners in 1853, which degenerated into rebellion. In the following year, a massacre of Muslims was organized by the Qing officials responsible for suppressing the revolt. One of the leaders of the insurrection was Ma Dexin. Anxious to increase his own influence, Ma Dexin finally agreed to submit to the Qing in 1861.[2] He was succeeded by a man called Du Wenxiu (杜文秀; pinyin: Dù Wénxiù) (1823 – 1872), an ethnic Hui born in Yongcheng.

 

 

Course of the war

The rebellion successfully captured the city of Dali, which became the base for the rebels’ operations, and declared themselves a separate political entity from China. The rebels identified their nation as Pingnan Guo (平南国 The Pacified Southern Nation); their leader Sulayman ibn `Abd ar-Rahman, known as Du Wenxiu [originally Yang Xiu]) (d. 1873) was styled Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin (‘Leader of the Community of Muslims’), but is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan) and ruled 1856 – 26 December 1872.

 

The rebellion sieged the city of Kunming multiple times (in 1857, 1861, 1863 and 1868). Ma Rulong, a Hui rebel leader from southern Yunnan, sieged the city in 1862 but through the offers of a military post joined forces with the imperial officials. His decision was not fully accepted by his followers who took the opportunity of his absence to kill the Governor-General (Pan Duo), wrest control of the city from the Qing in 1863, and intended to hand the city over to Du Wenxiu, but before Du’s forces could arrive, Ma Rulong with the assistance of a rising Qing military officier, Cen Yuying, raced back to Kunming and regained control of the provincial capital.

 

Later, as imperial troops began to gain the upperhand versus the rebellion, the rebels sent a letter to Queen Victoria, asking the British Empire for formal recognition and for military assistance; the fledgling state was turned down by the British. The rebellion was eventually suppressed when Qing troops killed and decapitated the ‘sultan’. His body is entombed in Xiadui.

 

 

Aftermath

 

Atrocities

Though largely forgotten, the bloody rebellion caused the death of up to a million people in Yunnan.[3] Many surviving Hui refugees escaped over the border to neighboring countries, Burma, Thailand and Laos, forming the basis of a minority Chinese Hui population in those nations.

 

 

Impact on Burma

The rebellion had a significant negative impact on the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty. After losing lower Burma to the British, Burma lost access to vast tracts of rice-growing land. Not wishing to upset China, the Burmese kingdom agreed to refuse trade with the Panthay rebels in accordance with China’s demands. Without the ability to import rice from China, Burma was forced to import rice from the British. In addition, the Burmese economy had relied heavily on cotton exports to China, and suddenly lost access to the vast Chinese market.

 

 

Yusuf Ma Dexin, a prominent Muslim scholar in Yunnan at the time of the rebellions

List of wars and disasters by death toll

 

 

History of Islam in China

History

Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty

Yuan Dynasty

Ming Dynasty

Qing Dynasty

Islam in China (1911-present)

 

 

Architecture

Chinese mosques

Niujie Mosque

 

Major figures

Yusuf Ma Dexin • Zheng He • Liu Zhi

Haji Noor

 

People Groups

Hui • Salar • Uygur

Kazakhs • Kyrgyz • Tatars • Bonan

Uzbeks • Tibetans • Dongxiang

Tajiks • Utsul

 

 

Islamic Cities/Regions

Linxia • Xinjiang

Ningxia • Kashgar

 

Culture

Islamic Association of China

Cuisine • Calligraphy • Martial arts

 

China have some of the oldest Muslim history, dating back to as early as 650, when the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad, Sa`ad ibn Abi Waqqas, was sent as an official envoy to Emperor Gaozong. Throughout the history of Islam in China, Chinese Muslims have influenced the course of Chinese history.

 

History

Main article: History of Islam in China

 

The Great Mosque of Xi’an, one of China’s oldest mosquesIslam was first brought to China by an envoy sent by Uthman, the third Caliph, in 651, less than twenty years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The envoy was led by Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, the maternal uncle of the Prophet himself. Yung Wei, the Tang emperor who received the envoy then ordered the construction of the Memorial mosque in Canton, the first mosque in the country. It was during the Tang Dynasty that China had its golden day of cosmopolitan culture which helped the introduction of Islam. The first major Muslim settlements in China consisted of Arab and Persian merchants.[1] In the region, the Hui Chi tribe accepted Islam, and the name was the beginnings of the reference to the huihui or the Hui as they are know today.

 

By the time of the Song Dynasty, Muslims had come to dominate the import/export industry.[2] The office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.[3]In 1070, the Song emperor Shenzong invited 5,300 Muslim men from Bukhara, to settle in China in order to create a buffer zone between the Chinese and the Liao empire in the northeast. Later on these men were settled between the Sung capital of Kaifeng and Yenching (modern day Beijing).[4] They were led by Prince Amir Sayyid “So-fei-er” (his Chinese name) who was reputed of being called the “father” of the Muslim community in China. Prior to him Islam was named by the Tang and Song Chinese as Ta-shi fa (“law of Islam”). He renamed it to Hui Hui Jiao (“the Religion of Double return”).[5] It was during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, (1274 – 1368), that large numbers of Muslims settled in China. The Mongols, a minority in China, gave Muslim immigrants an elevated status over the native Han Chinese as part of their governing strategy, thus giving Muslims a heavy influence. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims immigrants were recruited and forcibly relocated from Western and Central Asia by the Mongols to help them administer their rapidly expanding empire.[6] The Mongols used Persian, Arab and Uyghur administrators to act as officers of taxation and finance. Muslims headed most corporations in China in the early Yuan period.[7] Muslim scholars were brought to work on calendar making and astronomy.

 

During the following Ming Dynasty, Muslims continued to be influential around government circles. Six of Ming Dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang’s most trusted generals were Muslim, including Lan Yu who, in 1388, led a strong imperial Ming army out of the Great Wall and won a decisive victory over the Mongols in Mongolia, effectively ending the Mongol dream to re-conquer China. Additionally, the Yongle Emperor hired Zheng He, perhaps the most famous Chinese Muslim and China’s foremost explorer, to lead seven expeditions to the Indian Ocean, from 1405 and 1433. However, during the Ming Dynasty, new immigration to China from Muslim countries was restricted in an increasingly isolationist nation. The Muslims in China who were descended from earlier immigration began to assimilate by speaking Chinese dialects and by adopting Chinese names and culture. Mosque architecture began to follow traditional Chinese architecture.

 

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.[8] The Qing rulers belonged to the Manchu, a minority in China, and employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other. These repressive policies resulted in five bloody Hui rebellions, most notably the Panthay Rebellion, which occurred in Yunnan province from 1855 to 1873, and the Dungan revolt, which occurred mostly in Xinjiang, Shensi and Gansu, from 1862 to 1877.

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat Sen, who established the Republic of China immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. Conditions for the Muslims worsened during the Cultural Revolution. The government began to relax its policies towards Muslims in 1978. Today, Islam is experiencing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organized to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.[9]

 

 

People

See also: Hui people, Uyghur people, Kazak, Dongxiang, Kyrgyz, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Bonan, Tatar, and Tibetan Muslims

 

Ethnic Groups

Muslims live in every region of China. The highest concentrations are found in the northwest provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, and Ningxia, with significant populations also found throughout Yunnan province in southwest China and Henan Province in central China. Of China’s 55 officially recognized minority peoples, ten groups are predominately Muslim. The largest groups in descending order are Hui (9.8 million in year 2000 census, or 48% of the officially tabulated number of Muslims), Uyghur (8.4 million, 41%), Kazak (1.25 million , 6.1%), Dongxiang (514,000, 2.5%), Kyrgyz (161,000), Salar (105,000), Tajik (41,000), Uzbek , Bonan (17,000), and Tatar (5,000).[10] However, individual members of traditionally Muslim ethnic groups may profess other religions or none at all, while sizable Muslim communities exist among ethnicities whose members typically belong to other religions, as in the case of the Tibetan Muslims. Muslims live predominantly in the areas that border Central Asia, Tibet and Mongolia, i.e Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai, which is know as the “Quran Belt”. [11]

 

 

Number of Muslims in China

 The neutrality of this section is disputed.

Please see the discussion on the talk page.

This section has been tagged since December 2007.

 

China is home to a large population of adherents of Islam. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 1%-2% of the total population in China are Muslims,[12] while the offical figures show that Muslims constitute about 1.5% of the Chinese population.[13] The various censuses asserted that there may be up to 20 million Muslims in China.[14]

 

The BBC gives a range of 20 million to 100 million (7.5% of the total) Muslims in China.[15] The figure of 100 million is based on a 1938 statistical yearbook placing the number of Muslims at 50 million, as well as census data from the 1940s, which showed roughly 48 million Muslims.[16] Demographers at the University of Michigan contend in contrast that the only way the Muslim population of China could be substantially higher than the officially counted 20.3 million in the 2000 census is if there were a very large hidden or uncounted number of Muslims in China; but a large undercount of Muslims has not been documented and remains speculative.[17] However, the accuracy of the religious data in the census is questioned. While official data estimated 100 million religious believers in China, a survey taken by Shanghai University declared a dramatically different 300 million believers, three times the government’s estimate. The survey also found that Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity are the country’s five major religions. The number of followers of Buddhism, Taoism and Christianity in the survey had radically higher numbers than in the census.[18]

 

 

Religious Practice

The vast majority of China’s Muslims are Sunni Muslims. A notable feature of the some Muslim communities in China is the presence of female imams.[19]

 

 

Chinese Muslims and the Hajj

Some Chinese Muslims may have made the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca on the Arabian peninsula between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, yet there is no written record of this prior to 1861.

 

Briefly during the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Muslims were not allowed to attend the Hajj,and only did so through Pakistan, but this policy was reversed in 1979. Chinese Muslims now attend the Hajj in large numbers, typically in organized groups.

 

A record 9,600 Chinese Muslim pilgrims from all over the country attended the Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2006[20]

 

 

Representative bodies

 

Islamic Association of China

Main article: Islamic Association of China

The Islamic Association of China claims to represent Chinese Muslims nationwide. At its inaugural meeting on May 11, 1953 in Beijing, representatives from 10 nationalities of the People’s Republic of China were in attendance.

 

 

China Islamic Association

Main article: China Islamic Association

In April 2001, the government set up the China Islamic Association, which was described as aiming to “help the spread of the Qur’an in China and oppose religious extremism”. The association is to be run by 16 Islamic religious leaders who are charged with making “a correct and authoritative interpretation” of Islamic creed and canon.

 

It will compile and spread inspirational speeches and help imams improve themselves, and vet sermons made by clerics around the country. This latter function is probably the key job as far as the central government is concerned. It is worried that some clerics are using their sermons to spread sedition.

 

Some examples of the religious concessions granted to Muslims are:

 

In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs is not allowed, in deference to Muslim sensitivities

Muslim communities are allowed separate cemeteries

Muslim couples may have their marriage consecrated by an Imam

Muslim workers are permitted holidays during major religious festivals

Chinese Muslims are also allowed to make the Hajj to Mecca, and more than 45,000 Muslims have done so in recent years.[21]

 

Islamic education in China

Over the last twenty years a wide range of Islamic educational opportunities have been developed to meet the needs of China’s Muslim population. In addition to mosque schools, government Islamic colleges, and independent Islamic colleges, a growing number of students have gone overseas to continue their studies at international Islamic universities in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran, and Malaysia.[22]

 

 

Culture and heritage

The Mongol conquest of the greater part of Eurasia in the 13th century brought the extensive cultural traditions of China, central Asia and western Asia into a single empire, albeit one of separate khanates, for the first time in history. The intimate interaction that resulted is evident in the legacy of both traditions. In China, Islam influenced technology, sciences, philosophy and the arts. In terms of material culture, one finds decorative motives from central Asian Islamic architecture and calligraphy, the marked halal impact on northern Chinese cuisine and the varied influences of Islamic medical science on Chinese medicine.[citation needed]

 

Taking the Mongol Eurasian empire as a point of departure, the ethnogenesis of the Hui, or Sinophone Muslims, can also be charted through the emergence of distinctly Chinese Muslim traditions in architecture, food, epigraphy and Islamic written culture. This multifaceted cultural heritage continues to the present day.[23]

 

 

Islamic Architecture

Main article: Chinese mosques

 

The Niujie Mosque in BeijingThe first Chinese mosque was established in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty in Xi’an. The Great Mosque of Xi’an, whose current buildings date from the Ming Dynasty, does not replicate many of the features often associated with traditional mosques. Instead, it follows traditional Chinese architecture. Mosques in western China incorporate more of the elements seen in mosques in other parts of the world. Western Chinese mosques were more likely to incorporate minarets and domes while eastern Chinese mosques were more likely to look like pagodas.[24]

 

An important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur; this applies to everything from palaces to mosques. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden’s composition is to create enduring flow; to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself.

 

Mosques of ChinaChinese buildings may be built with either red or grey bricks, but wooden structures are the most common; these are more capable of withstanding earthquakes, but are vulnerable to fire. The roof of a typical Chinese building is curved; there are strict classifications of gable types, comparable with the classical orders of European columns.

 

 

Id Khar MosqueAs in all regions the Chinese Islamic architecture reflects the local architecture in its style. China is renowned for its beautiful mosques, which resemble temples. However in western China the mosques resemble those of the middle east, with tall, slender minarets, curvy arches and dome shaped roofs. In northwest China where the Chinese Hui have built their mosques, there is a combination of east and west. The mosques have flared Chinese-style roofs set in walled courtyards entered through archways with miniature domes and minarets (see Beytullah Mosque). [25] The first mosque was the Great Mosque of Xian, or the Xian Mosque, which was created in the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century.

 

 

Halal food in China

 

A package of halal-certified frozen food (steamed cabbage buns) from Jiangsu province, ChinaMain article: Chinese Islamic cuisine

Due to the large Muslim population in western China, many Chinese restaurants cater to Muslims or cater to the general public but are run by Muslims. In most major cities in China, there are small Islamic restaurants or food stalls typically run by migrants from Western China (e.g., Uyghurs), which offer inexpensive noodle soup. Lamb and mutton dishes are more commonly available than in other Chinese restaurants, due to the greater prevalence of these meats in the cuisine of western Chinese regions. Commercially prepared food can be certified Halal by approved agencies. [26]

 

 

Calligraphy

Main article: Sini (script)

Sini is a Chinese Islamic calligraphic form for the Arabic script. It can refer to any type of Chinese Islamic calligraphy, but is commonly used to refer to one with thick and tapered effects, much like Chinese calligraphy. It is used extensively in mosques in eastern China, and to a lesser extent in Gansu, Ningxia, and Shaanxi. A famous Sini calligrapher is Hajji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang.

 

 

Martial arts

Main article: Muslim Chinese martial arts

Muslim development and participation at the highest level of Chinese wushu has a long history. Many of its roots lie in the Qing Dynasty persecution of Muslims. The Hui started and adapted many of the styles of wushu such as bajiquan, piguazhang, and liuhequan. There were specific areas that were known to be centers of Muslim wushu, such as Cang County in Hebei Province. These traditional Hui martial arts were very distinct from the Turkic styles practiced in Xinjiang.[27]

 

 

Chinese terminology for Islamic institutions

Qīngzhēn (清真) is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions. Its literal meaning is “pure truth.”

 

In Chinese, halal is called qīngzhēn cài (清真菜) or “pure truth food.” A mosque is called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or “pure truth temple.”

 

 

Famous Muslims in China

 

Explorers

Zheng He, mariner and explorer

Fei Xin, Zheng He’s translator

Ma Huan, a companion of Zheng He

 

Military

Founding generals of the Ming dynasty: Chang Yuchun, Hu Dahai,Lan Yu, Mu Ying

The leaders of the Panthay Rebellion: Du Wenxiu, Ma Hualong

The Ma clique of warlords during the Republic of China era: Ma Bufang, Ma Chung-ying, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Hongkui, Ma Hongbin, Ma Lin, Ma Qi, Ma Hun-shan

Bai Chongxi, general in the Republic of China army

 

Scholars and writers

Bai Shouyi, historian

Tohti Tunyaz, historian

Yusuf Ma Dexin, first translator of the Qur’an into Chinese

Muhammad Ma Jian, author of the most popular Chinese translation of the Qur’an

Liu Zhi, Qing Dynasty author

Wang Daiyu, Master Supervisor of the Imperial Observatory during the Ming Dynasty

Zhang Chengzhi, contemporary author

 

In politics

Hui Liangyu, vice premier in charge of agriculture in the People’s Republic of China

Huseyincan Celil, Uyghur imam imprisoned in China

Xabib Yunic, Education Minister of the Second East Turkistan Republic

Muhammad Amin Bughra, Vice-Chief of the Second East Turkistan Republic

 

Other

Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang, calligrapher

Ma Xianda, martial artist

Ma Menta, organiser of Russia’s Wushu Tongbei Federation

 

 

^ Counting up the number of people of traditionally Muslim nationalities who were enumerated in the 1990 census gives a total of 17.6 million, 96% of whom belong to just three nationalities: Hui 8.6 million, Uyghurs 7.2 million, and Kazakhs 1.1 million. Other nationalities that are traditionally Muslim include Kyrghyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Tatars, Salar, Bonan, and Dongxiang. See Dru C. Gladney, “Islam in China: Accommodation or Separatism?”, Paper presented at Symposium on Islam in Southeast Asia and China, Hong Kong, 2002. Available at http://www.islamsymposium.cityu.edu.hk. The 2000 census reported a total of 20.3 million members of Muslim nationalities, of which again 96% belonged to just three groups: Hui 9.8 million, Uyghurs 8.4 million, and Kazakhs 1.25 million.

 

^ There are in China 48,104,241 Mohammedan followers and 42,371 mosques, largely in Sinkiang, Chinghai, Manchuria, Kansu, Yunnan, Shensi, Hopei, and Honan. “Ferm, Vergilius (ed.). An Encyclopedia of Religion; Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (1976), pg. 145. [1st pub. in 1945 by Philosophical Library. 1976 reprint is unrevised.]

^ Based on a post-enumeration survey and related studies, the 2000 census undercounted China’s population by 1.81%. This would amount to some 23 million persons. It is unlikely that any such undercount would consist primarily of members of Muslim nationalities. Instead, the undercount is most often attributed to the floating population of rural to urban migrants (who are not officially registered) and to rural populations in central China – not to minority populations or areas. For discussion of the undercount, see Barbara A. Anderson, “Undercount in China’s 2000 Census in Comparative Perspective,” PSC Research Report Report No. 04-565 (September 2004), Population Studies Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Available at: http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/abs.html?ID=1872; and Guangyu Zhang, “Very Low Fertility in China in the 1990s: Reality or An Illusion Arising from Birth Underreporting?,” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, April 2004.

 

Islamic Chinese Art (Dru C. Gladney’s photo album on Flickr.com)

The Tibetan Muslims, also known as the Kachee (Kache), form a small minority in Tibet. Despite being Muslim, they are classified as Tibetans, unlike the Hui Muslims, who are also known as the Kyangsha or Gya Kachee (Chinese Muslims). The Tibetan word Kachee literally means Kashmiri and Kashmir was known as Kachee Yul (Yul = Country).

 

Owing to their small population, the Tibetan Muslims are scattered throughout Tibet, much of whom can be found in Lhasa and Shigatse. If those not living in the Tibet Autonomous Region are not excluded, ethnic groups such as the Balti and Burig, who are also of Tibetan origin and consider themselves to be ethnically Tibetan, are Muslims as well. These groups, however, are predominantly found in the Indian-controlled Ladakh and the Pakistani-controlled Baltistan.

 

Ancestry

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Muslims are unique in the fact that they are largely of Kashmiri and Persian/Arab/Turkic descent through the patrilineal lineage and also often descendants of native Tibetans through the matrilineal lineage, although the reverse is not uncommon. Thus, many of them display a mixture of Aryan and indigenous Tibetan features.

 

Owing to Tibetan influence, they have adopted Tibetan names while retaining Persian or Urdu surnames. However, this is not as common as those among the Burig and Balti. In Baltistan or Baltiyul as the natives call it, youngster Muslims have started naming themselves in local Tibetan language like Ali Tsering, Sengge Thsering, Wangchen, Namgyal, Shesrab, Mutik, Mayoor, Gyalmo, Odzer, Lobsang, Odchen, Rinchen, Anchan, and so forth. Among Khaches, although the majority uses Tibetan for daily communication, Urdu or Arabic are used for religious services.

 

After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, Muslims were granted Indian citizenship by the Indian Government, which considered the Tibetan Muslims Kashmiris, and thus Indian citizens, unlike the other Tibetan refugees, who carry Refugee Satus Certificates.

 

 

History

The appearance of the first Muslims in Tibet has been lost in the mists of time, although variants of the names of Tibet can be found in Arabic history books.

 

During the reign of the Ummayad Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a delegation from Tibet and China requested him to send Islamic missionaries to their countries, and Salah bin Abdullah Hanafi was sent to Tibet. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, the Abbasid rulers of Baghdad maintained relations with Tibet. However, there was little proselytisation among the missionaries at first, although many of them decided to settle in Tibet and marry Tibetan women. In 710-720,during the reign of Mes-ag-tshoms the Arabs, who now had more of a presence in China, started to appear in Tibet and were allied with them along with the Eastern Turks against the Chinese. During the reign of the Sadnalegs (799-815), under Tride Songtsän (Khri lde srong brtsan – generally known as Sadnalegs) there was a protracted war with Arab powers to the West. It appears that Tibetans captured a number of Arab troops and pressed them into service on the Eastern frontier in 801. Tibetans were active as far West as Samarkand and Kabul. Arab forces began to gain the upper hand, and the Tibetan governor of Kabul submitted to the Arabs and became a Muslim about 812 or 815 [1]

 

The 12th century witnessed a large scale migration of Muslim traders from Kashmir and the Persian Empire to Tibet, most notable was the community that they established in Lhasa. Like their Arab predecessors, these men settled down and married Tibetan women, who followed their husbands’ religion. Proselytisation of Islam first took place in Baltistan and the Suru Valley from the 14th to the 16th centuries, which converted the vast majority of the Tibetan Burig and Balti communities.

 

Especially under the reign of Lozang Gyatso, the Tibetan Muslims led a relatively carefree life, and were given special privileges, in the sense that they were exempted from observing certain Buddhist religious customs. In the 17th century a small community of Muslims flourished in Lhasa working there mainly as butchers.

 

However, with the influx of Kashmiri immigrants to Ladakh and forced conversions of Buddhists to Islam, isolated conflicts between the Buddhists and Muslims were frequent, especially in Leh. There were even cases when members of the Soma Gompa and Jama Masjid came out to fight, thus resulting in tensions between Buddhist and Muslim members of the same family.

 

After the invasion of Tibet in 1959 a group of Tibetan Muslims made a case for Indian nationality based on their historic roots to Kashmir and the Indian government declared all Tibetan Muslims Indian citizens later on that year. [1]

 

 

Culture

As of today, most of the Tibetan Muslims are followers of the Sunni denomination, although the majority of the Balti and Burig are followers of the Shi’a denomination. Despite the factor of their religion, the Tibetan Muslims have comfortably assimilated into the Tibetan community, while following Islamic traditions. On the other hand, the Balti and Burig have partially adopted Iranian customs.

 

Especially in music, the Tibetan Muslims have made contributions to Tibetan culture. The Nangma, also known as Naghma in Urdu which means melody, are high-pitched tilting songs that have been popular among all Tibetans. They have also adopted Tibetan customs, especially in the field of marriage, although they have strictly maintained their Islamic customs at the same time.

 

Tibetan Muslims have unique architectural styles, and this is most notable among the Ladakhi. Mosques, for instance, are built in a quaint blend of Persian and Tibetan styles. This is evidenced in its beautifully decorated walls, sloping walls designed to withstand earthquakes, and even Kada scarfs being hanged at the doorway of the mosques. Shia mosques and Imambaras can be seen with prayer flags with black, green and red colors with Quranic verses on them.

 

Another interesting feature of Tibetan Muslim architecture is that their mosques encompass the Imambara, a small artefact surmounted on the domes of metal sheets.

 

 

Special privileges before Chinese rule

The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in Lhasa and Shigatse, and plots of land were given to bury their ancestors. They were also exempted from taking vegetarian meals, on Buddha’s birthday, which is mandatory for all followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and this practice upon the followers of Bön was not excluded. A Ponj (from Urdu/Hindi Pancch meaning village committee or Panchayat) was elected to take care of the affairs within the Tibetan Muslim community.

 

In addition, Muslims were even exempted from removing their caps to Lamas during a period in a year, when the Iron pole Lamas held sway over the town. Muslims were also granted the Mina Dronbo, a status that invited all Tibetans, irrespective of religion, to commemorate the assumption of spiritual and temporal authority by Lozang Gyatso, the fifth Dalai Lama. However, these special privellages ended with the beginning of the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959. Like the Buddhists, they were forced into exile, and the Chinese government treated them worse than the Buddhists. Food was not allowed to be sold to the Tibetan Muslims, and their leaders were tried by the government. Life was hard for the Tibetan Muslims until the 1980’s.[citation needed]

 

 

Islam during the Qing Dynasty

The rise of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) made relations between the Muslims and Chinese more difficult. The Qing rulers were Manchu, not Han, and were themselves a minority in China. They employed the tactics of divide and conquer to keep the Muslims, Hans, Tibetans and Mongolians in conflict with each other[citation needed]. The dynasty prohibited ritual slaughtering of animals, followed by forbidding the construction of new mosques and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

 Muslim Rebellions in China

 

Early revolts in Xinjiang, Shaanxi and Gansu

From 1755-1757, the Qianlong Emperor was at war with the Dzungars of Dzungaria. With the conquest of the Dzungaria, there was attempt to divide the Xinjiang region into four sub-khanates under four chiefs who were subordinate to the emperor. Similarly, the Qing made members of was a member of the Ak Taghliq clan of East Turkestan Khojas, rulers in the western Tarim Basin, south of the Tianshan Mts. In 1758-59, however, rebellions against this arrangement broke out both north and south of the Tian Shan mountains. Then in the oasis of Ush to the south of Lake Balkash in 1765. In Gansu, disagreements between the adherents of Khafiya and Jahriya, two forms of sufism as well as perceived mismanagement, corruption, and anti-Muslim attitudes of the Qing officials resulted in attempted uprisings by Hui and Salar followers of the Jahriya in 1781 and 1783, but they were promptly suppressed. Kashgaria was able to be free of Qing control during an incursion by Jahangir Khoja who had invaded from Kokand, which lasted from 1820 – 1828. The oases of Kashgar and Yarkand were not recaptured until 1828, after a three year campaign. In Kashgaria, this incursion was followed by another incurision in 1829 by Mahommed Ali Khan and Yusuf Khoja, the brother of Jahangir. In 1846, a new Khoja revolt in Kashgar under Kath Tora led to his accession to rulership of Kashgar as an authoritarian ruler. His reign, however, was brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Kokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants..[2] The last of the Khoja revolts was in 1857 under Wali-Khan, a self-indulgent debaucherer , and the murderer of the famous German explorer, Adolf Schlagintweit. Wali Khan had invaded Kashgar from his base in Kokand, capturing Kashgar. Aside from his murder of Adolf Schlagintweit, his cruelty found many other reflections in the local legends. It is said that he killed so many innocent Muslims that four or six minarets were built from the skulls of the victims ( kala minara ); or that once, when an artisan made a sabre for him, he tested the weapon by cutting off the artisan’s son head, who came with his father and was standing nearby, after that with words ” it’s a really good sabre ” he presented artisan with a gift. This reign of tyranny did not make Kashgarians miss the Khoja too much when he was defeated by Qing troops after ruling the city for four months and forced to flee back to Kokand.[3]

 

 

Panthay Rebellion

Main article: Panthay Rebellion

The Panthay Rebellion lasted from 1855 to 1873. The war took place mostly in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Disagreements between Muslim and non-Muslim tin miners was the spark that lit the tensions that led to war. The Muslims were led by, for the most part of the war, by Du Wenxiu (1823-1872). The insurgents took the city of Dali and declared the new nation of Pingnan Guo, meaning “the Pacified Southern Nation”. The eventual suppression of the revolt was bloody and half the population of Yunnan is believed to have disappeared.[4]

 

 

Dungan Revolt

Main article: Dungan revolt

The Dungan revolt by the Hui from the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang, lasted from 1862 to 1877. The number of lives lost in the suppression of the rebellion is reckoned to be several million.[4] The failure of the revolt led to the flight of many Dungan people into Imperial Russia.

 

 

Culture

However, even in the Qing dynasty, Muslims had many mosques in the large cities, with particularly important ones in Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and other places (in addition to those in the western Muslim reigions). The architecture typically employed traditional Chinese styles, with Arabic-language inscriptions being the chief distinguishing feature. Many Muslims held government positions, including positions of importance, particularly in the army.

 

As travel between China and the Middle East became easier, Sufism spread throughout the Northwestern China in the early decades of the Qing Dynasty (mid-17th century through early 18th century).[5] The most important Sufi orders (menhuan) included:

 

The Qadiriyya, which was established in China through Qing Jingyi also known as Hilal al-Din (1656-1719), student of the famous Central Asian Sufi teachers, Khoja Afaq and Kjoja Abd Alla. He was known among the Hui Sufis as Qi Daozu (Grand Master Qi). The shrine complex around “great tomb” (da gongbei) in Linxia remains the center of the Qadiriyya in China.

The Khufiyya: a Naqshbandi order.

The Jahriyya: another Naqshbandi menhuan, founded by Ma Mingxin.

 

 

 

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, which was hostile to Muslims, there appeared to be a reason for hope as Sun Yat Sen, who led the new republic, immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, Muslims were to again suffer repression, especially in the cultural revolution.

 

Republic of China

The end of the Qing dynasty marked an increase in Sino-foreign interaction. This led to increased contact between Muslim minorities in China and the Islamic states of the Middle East. A missionary, Claude Pickens was a well-known Hui who had made the hajj between 1923 and 1934. By 1939, at least 33 Hui Muslims had studied at Cairo’s Al-Azhar university. In 1912, the Chinese Muslim Federation was formed in the capital Nanjing. Similar organization formed in Beijing (1912), Shanghai (19250 and Jinan (1934).[1]

 

Academic activities within the Muslim community also flourished. Before the Sino-Japanese War of 1937, there existed more than a hundred known Muslim periodicals. Thirty journals were published between 1911 and 1937. Although Linxia remained the center for religious activities, many Muslim cultural activities had shifted to Beijing.[2]

 

In the first decade of the 20th century, it has been estimated that there were between 3 million and 50 million Muslims in China proper (that is, China excluding the regions of Mongolia and Xinjiang). [3] Of these, almost half resided in Gansu, over a third in Shaanxi (as defined at that time) and the rest in Yunnan.

 

The Manchu dynasty fell in 1911, and the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. This led to some improvement in relations between these different peoples.

 

 

People’s Republic of China

The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Through many of the early years there were tremendous upheavals which culminated in the Cultural Revolution.

 

During the Cultural Revolution the Government attempted to dilute the Muslim population of Xinjiang by settling masses of Han Chinese there, and replacing Muslim leaders. The government constantly accused Muslims and other religious groups of holding “superstitious beliefs” and promoting “anti-socialist trends”.[3]

 

Since the advent of Deng Xiaopeng in 1979, the Chinese government liberalised its policies toward Islam and Muslims. New legislation gave all minorities the freedom to use their own spoken and written languages; develop their own culture and education; and practice their religion.[4] More Chinese Muslims than ever before are allowed to go on the Hajj.[5]

 

 

China today

Under China’s current leadership, Islam is undergoing a modest revival and there are now many mosques in China. There has been an upsurge in Islamic expression and many nation-wide Islamic associations have been organised to co-ordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims.

 

In most of China, Muslims have considerable religious freedom, however, in areas like Xinjiang, where there has been unrest among Uighur Muslims, activities are restricted.

 

China is fighting an increasingly protracted struggle against members of its Uighur minority, who are a Turkic people with their own language and distinct Islamic culture. Uighar separatists are intent on re-establishing the state of East Turkistan, which existed for a few years in the 1920s.

 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, China feared potential separatist goals of Muslim majority in Xinjiang. An April, 1996 agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikstan and Kyrgyztan, however, assures China of avoiding a military conflict. Other Muslim states have also asserted that they have no intentions of becoming involved in China’s internal affairs.[6]

 

China fears the influence of radical Islamic thinking filtering in from central Asia, and the role of exiles in neighbouring states and in Turkey, with which Xinjiang’s majority Uighur population shares linguistic ties.[7] After, September 11, many “ethnic” Muslims were forcibly evicted from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.[8]

 

Muslim nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey support Muslims in China. Turhan Tayan, the defense minister of Turkey, recently told China

 

“…many people living [in Xinjiang] are our relatives and that we will always be interested in those people’s welfare. Our government is and will continue to be sensitive over the plight of our Turkic and Muslim brothers throughout the world.”

 

China, however, continues to stress national unity.[9]

 

 

 

Xinjiang Province

 

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region covers over 1,600,000 square kilometers (617,763 square miles), one-sixth of China’s total territory, making it China’s largest province. Xinjiang borders Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. With a population of over 19 million, Xinjiang is home to 47 ethnic groups including the Uygur, the major ethnic group in Xinjiang.

 

Being one of China’s five major pastoral areas, it has advanced livestock breeding. Its main industries cover petroleum, coal, textile, foodstuff and metallurgy. Vast in area, Xinjiang has various types of geographical conditions and multitude of regional and ethnic cultures, as well as abundant historical and cultural resources. Among its scenic spots and historical sites are while popular Ravin of Jianhu in Urumqi, Heavenly Lake of the Tianshan Mountain, Flaming Mountains of Turpan, The Mosque in Kaxi, ancient city ruins of Lanlo etc. Main traditional and famous specialties comprise carpet, leather, fine-cashmere, Hami melon and seedless grapes.

 

Yunnan ProvinceDian is short for Yunnan. It lies in the southwest in China. It is more than 380 thousand square kilometers in area. The population is 37.7 million.

 

Yunnan is located in Yungui Plateau. The hilly land occupied 93 percent of the area. And the basin only occupied 6 percent. The topography her is complicated. Approximately, the northwestern part is higher than the southern part. The rivers are parts of Jinsha River, Nu River, Nan pan River, Yuan River and Yiluowadi River. It is the moist monsoon climate of tropical highland in subtropical zone. The vertical change is very striking. Yun nan abounds in mineral resources. Mainly, there is tin, zinc, titanium, copper, antimony, and phosphorous.

Non-ferrous metals, tobacco and sugar production are in the first places in China. In agriculture, mainly, there is rice, rape and tobacco. Sugar-cane, tobacco, tea and tropical crops are in the important places in our country. The main communication is railway. The highway is important too.

In Yunnan, there is a lot of natural scene. The places of interest here are Dian Spring, Cang Mountain in Dali, Xishuang banna and so on. The traditional specialties are Dali sculpture, Yun tobacco, Yun tea, Yun medicinal herbs and silver ornament.

 

 

‘Pumpkin positive’ Tatmadaw and SPDC Generals

  ‘Pumpkin positive’

Tatmadaw and SPDC Generals

While reading the AFP news from Paris, I unexpectedly visualized that our beloved SPDC generals  are suffering almost all the diseases mentioned.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that Dr Paul Keeley, a consultant in the department of palliative medicine at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland wrote to the weekly BMJ to report a sample of new words that British doctors use among themselves.

They include:

Disco biscuits: The clubbers’ drug ecstasy. As in: ‘The man in cubicle three looks like he’s taken one too many disco biscuits.’

May be the readers could name the children of the SPDC Generals who are known as drug addicts.

For example, General Ne Win’s son with his first wife was notorious for drugs and gambling.

Hasselhoff: Term for any patient who shows up in the emergency room with an injury for which there is a bizarre explanation. Source: Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons and and an artery in his right arm.

I am sure late S3 General Tin Oo’s helicopter crashed wounds could be quite appropriate for this terminology, Hasselhoff.

Agnostication: A substitute for prognostication. Term used to describe the usually vain attempt to answer the question: ‘How long have I got, doc?’

May be the Senile General, sorry Sr General need to ask this question to his doctor.

Blamestorming: Apportioning of blame after the wrong leg or kidney is removed or some other particularly egregious foul-up happens.

This Blamestorming is the most important thing the SPDC Generals will need to do at the ICC.

404 moment: The point in a doctor’s ward round when medical records cannot be located. Comes from World Wide Web error message, ‘404 – document not found’.

Could explain the H.E. Professor Sergio Pinheiro’s condition in his latest Myanmar visit. A lot of 404 moments in investigating the dead demonstrators, MIA missing in action monks, illegally arrested persons’ where about etc.

Testiculation: Description of a gesture typically used by hospital consultant ‘when holding forth on subject on which he or she has little knowledge’. Gesture is of an upturned hand with outstretched fingers pointed upwards, clutching an invisible pair of testicles.

This Testiculation gesture is the Curious gesture typically received by Mr Pinheiro during the brief hurriedly done investigations of the relevant local authorities, police, hospital authorities and Ye Way Crematorium administrative officers.

Other slang used by doctors, according to past letters to the BMJ, included UBI (for ‘Unexplained Beer Injury’). We should reserve this term for Sr General Maung Aye.

PAFO (‘Pissed And Fell Over’) may describe the moribund status of General Khin Nyunt.

Code Brown, or a faecal incontinence emergency. According to earlier rumors, Than Shwe was supposed to be in this condition but because of the twist of fate, Daw Kyaing Kyaing is reported to be the real patient.

CTD means ‘Circling The Drain’, I hope our readers could rightly diagnose which general is in the state of CTD.

GPO signifies ‘Good for Parts Only’. I hope Daw Kyaing Kyaing is not in that condition. Ne Win, Tin Oo and Soe Win are even no more in  this state.

‘Rule of Five’ means that if more than five of the patient’s orifices are obscured by tubing, he has no chance. We all hope and pray that all top five SPDC Generals would deteriorate into this state soon for the numerous SINS they are committing on all the Burmese citizens, including the monks.

A patient who is ‘giving the O-sign’ is very sick, lying with his mouth open. This is followed by the ‘Q-sign’ – when the tongue hangs out of the mouth – when the patient becomes terminal.

The whole SPDC Junta is now ‘giving the O-sign’ and rapidly deteriorating into the ‘Q-sign’.

As for genetic quirks or inbreeding, FLK means ‘Funny Looking Kid’ and NFN signifies ‘Normal For Norfolk’, a rural English county. I curiously have seen the ‘Funny Looking Kid’ picture of the son of the biggest crony of the FIRST FAMILY of Myanmar.

General practitioners may use LOBNH (‘Lights On But Nobody Home’) or the impressively bogus Oligoneuronal to mean someone who is thick.

LOBNH (‘Lights On But Nobody Home’) in the VVIP’s residences in Naypyidaw, because they used to stay in Yangon or May Myo or Pyin Oo Lwin. Mr Gambari found out that Sr General was quite THICK and the impressively bogus Oligoneuronal.

But they also have a somewhat poetic option: ‘Pumpkin positive’, referring to the idea that the person’s brain is so tiny that a penlight shone into his mouth will make his empty head gleam like a Halloween pumpkin. –

We need to conclude with this last terminology, ‘Pumpkin positive’ could describe to all the SPDC Junta Generals and each and every General in the Myanmar Tatmadaw.

 

 

 

RESPONSE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ON PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN MYANMAR

RESPONSE OF INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
ON PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN MYANMAR

  

  1. On discrimination of Muslims in Myanmar.
  2. On the Anti-Muslim riots in Myanmar.
  3. On the undemocratic Myanmar Military Government.
  4. On discrimination and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims of Arakan State, Myanmar.
  5. On the Myanmar Migrants including Myanmar Muslims and Rohingyas.
  6. On the various Myanmar Refugees.
  7. On the Myanmar Citizens visa for various purposes, Social visit, Tourist Visa, Student    Passes, Work Permits, Employment Passes, Professional Passes, Dependent Passes  etc.
  8. On the Permanent Residence and Citizen applications.
  9. On the issue of taking tough actions on Myanmar by the ASIAN.
  10. On the investment and trade in Myanmar.
  11. On the opposing parties in and outside Myanmar.
  12. The stands and responses of the various media, NGOs, opposition leaders of foreign   governments, UN, Human Right Associations, ILO, Islamic Organizations and Amnesty    International etc.
  13. Myanmar citizens opinion on the international community including ASEAN.Myanmar Muslims opinion on the International Muslims and on Muslim governments of  ASIAN.
  14. Myanmar Military leaders opinion on the International community, west, ASIAN, Muslim   countries and etc.

Note: I had compiled these data and written this article since early 90’s. So although it may look as an old issues at the first look  but sadly they are still relevant at the present. International community and Muslim countries around the world and ASEAN are in the same stage of closing their one eye on the atrocities of Myanmar Military on the Muslims in Burma. Although after the photo-video evidence of the recent brutal crack down on the peaceful demonstrations of Buddhist Monks and the people, stood as the clear evidence of what the Myanmar Military would commit inorder to be able to continue grasping the ruling power. The worse is their remaining half opend one eye was also partially blind with greed of their self interest of investments in Myanmar.

The following is the news report taken from The Star April 5 1993.(Malaysia) in order to guess the Malaysian Government’s stand on the Muslim Refugees from Myanmar. 

Poser over status of Myanmar Refugees

By SHAHANAAZ SHER HABIB. 

KUALA LUMPUR-. 

It is difficult to believe that those coming from Thailand were genuine Rohingya refugees, said-Deputy Home Minister Datuk Megat.

Junid Megat Ayob said yesterday.“Rohingyas are from the western part of Myanmar. It is impossible for them to pass through themainland of Myanmar and through Thailand down to Haadyai and to Malaysia without being caught”.

Surely, if they are pressed by the government, they would have been caught in Yangon as theywere trying to come over,” he said.Megat Junid was commenting on the 4,800 Rohingya Muslim refugees, claimed by the UNHCRto be in the country.

“Those coming by boat to Penang from west Myanmar might be genuine Rohilngyas”, Megat Junid said. He was speaking to reporters after opening the Malaysia-China Friendship Association’s first annual general meeting.

To suggestions that there were over – 4 000 Rohingyas refugees in the country, Megat Junid said he had to determine if it was true. He said there were many who claimed to be Rohingyas to take advantage of the good times in the country.

They would be deemed as illegal immigrants and will be sent back to their country.

Megat Junid said there had been cases where the respective embassies refused to take responsibility for the illegal immigrants.

  1. In such cases, we will detain them,
  2. have them work in prison
  3. and earn their passage back to their country,” he said.

They would not be allowed to work legally in the country, he said.

Asked whether Malaysia was practicing double standards,

Megat Junid said it was not so as the refugees should “come in the correct way”

“The Bosnians proved they had been pressed and were real war refugees.

]But as for the Myanmarese who came  in through Haddyai, it is very difficult to say whether were war refugees”, he said.

He also said Abim or other associations could take up the Rohingya cause.

According to UNHCR acting representative for Malaysia and Brunei, Sten  Bronee, to date some 4,600 Rohingyas here had been registered with the UNHCR as having refugee status.To a question, Bronee said the Rohingyas worked illegally in the country to support themselves.

That was in 1993. We have to thank the Malaysian Government even for closing their one eye SOMETIMES, allowing our Rohingya brothers to temporarily stay and work illegally in Malaysia. But they are still not accepted officially by the relevant authorities here although there were repeated “official” rumours but still need to renew the pass at the UNHCR office every six months.

We here by want to thank UNHCR and ABIM for helping our brothers. They are just refugees and they accept the help from ABIM, because the responsible Malaysian Government Authorities like the Deputy Home Minister at that time had officially advised them, which could be seen in the above Newspaper report: The Star April 5 1993.(Malaysia).

But now that very powerful (at least his remarks reported above were cruel, false, ill advised and AGAINST the International norms as ILO could take action to any government using forced labour in detention centers.)  That Deputy Home Minister (believed to be acting like defacto Home Minister) lost his job, lost his parliamentry seat and also his new wife and is in ICU with terminal Prostate cancer.

Our brothers, Burmese Muslims and Rohingyas are like drowning person; if some one extended the helping hand, they no choice or have a chance to look at the face but to accept that. The most important and right thing to do is to hold the extended helping hand to get out of the water. So ABIM extended the helping hand and the Malaysian authorities advised the Rohingyas to accept that.

May we just refresh the events then with the newspaper reports.Let’s look at the another article published in_

 Berita Harian, 2 May 1997.

Report by Mohd. Shah Abdullah from Kota Bharu.

“Before Accepting Myanmar (Burma) into ASEAN”

Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) asked Malaysian government and ASEAN countries to study more from different aspects about the Burmese military junta’s behavior before accepting as a new membership.

ABIM’s president Asst.Prof Dr. Mohd Nur Manuty questioned about the very much unsatisfactory human right record of Burmese junta in general and its ill treatment on Muslims in particular. 

He mentioned that ABIM have the full information about the juntas role behind the recent razing of several mosques in Rangoon, Mandalay and other big cities in central Burma as well as the new exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Arakan State.

He also pointed out that the Burmese military junta didn’t respect the opinion of Muslim community and OIC( Organization of Islamic Countries),on the issues related to the Muslims in that country. 

“Whatever the good result will be (after accepting Myanmar into ASEAN), the ill fate of Muslims must be put into strong consideration “, he told to reporters after opening the ABIMs 24th. State Annual General Meeting in Kelantan.

ABIM was asked to comment about the American State Department spokesman Nicholas Bum recently lobbying ASEAN to put pressure on Burma and not to accept into ASEAN this year.  Burn stated that it would make more democratization process and better human rights record in Burma. 

However, Malaysian Foreign minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (now the PM of Malaysia)said ASEAN have the independent decision to bring Burma into the grouping and the American pressure will not effect it.

Also present at the meeting was YDP ABIM Kelantan Mostapha Mohammad, Deputy Secretary of the Kelantan State Kassirn Mohammad and Deputy YDP of Kelantan Islamic Affairs Council (MAIK) Datuk Ashaari Azmi Abdulla.  Dr. Mohd Nur said ABIM is not influenced by Washington’s policy but urging ASEAN to be careful about the human right record of Myanmar before attempting major decision.

According to Dr Mohd Nur, ABIM was called for a discussion with the Secretary General of Foreign Affairs on Myanmar issue earlier.  ” ABIM is ready to meet again and discuss more details with Malaysian Foreign Minister, Ambassador of Myanmar in Kuala Lumpur and ASEAN Secretariat about the Myanmar’s entry into the ASEAN.”

“We also believe that the Burmese military junta is hiding and misleading information related to the Muslims in Burma”.

Below is the another view of a Malaysian on the treatment of Migrants in Malaysia and Australia.

How are we different from Pauline Hanson?

By Verna Kanargaratnam.Kuala Lumpur. Star Newspaper. March 1997.

I AM compelled to agree with Stephanie Poh Shan Shan in her letter entitled Aussies are against racism too (Speaking Up, Feb 25).

I have lived in Western Australia for three years as a student and returned to Malaysia in 1994.  Since my return I have been back to Australia twice on holiday to visit my friends who are all Australians.

The current issue on the statement by Pauline Hanson has been blown out of proportion in our papers here.  During my visit to Perth last December, I asked my friends what they thought of her statement.  All my friends opposed it, saying it was unjust and unfair as most Australians are against racism.

Racism happens in almost every country and most often against the minority group. 

I find it really hypocritical of Malaysians who claim that Australians are racist when they themselves are racist.

  • Take for example the Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers in our country today.  There have been reports that there are_
  • too many of them so much so
  • they are jeopardizing the jobs of our local people. 
  • They have also been blamed for the increase in crime rate,
  • for spoiling our manpower market since they are willing to work for very low wages and longer hours, and the list goes on. 

Now, which profit-making company will not employ them rather than our locals if their profit margin can be increased?  It’s simple economic sense. Likewise, this situation also happens in Australia where Asians are a minority and quite willing to work below minimum wage. 

Hanson also states that the crime rate will increase if Australia is ‘swarnped’ by Asians which is not a very fair statement.  Her statement about Asians migrating to Australia is similar to what we are saying about immigrants from our neighbouring countries. 

So in what way are we different from Pauline Hanson?

From my experience, Australians in general are very warm people and I have lived with them for three years as a student with no racial problems.I also think it is very rude to go to a country and call its people lazy and stupid.  What right have we got to judge them on their own soil?  They have different priorities from Malaysians.  Just because Australians are not as materialistic as Asians does not make them any more lazy than we are greedy.Calling them stupid is a joke, because we willingly pay thousands of dollars for our children to be educated by these so-called less intelligent human beings.  Now, would you accept people who did and said such things about you with open arms?

So Malaysians, give it a break. If you really try, I am sure Australia won’t be as bad as you perceive it to be. Stephanie and I are living proof. 

 Let’s read this Bernama report printed in The Star, March 9, 1992. 

KUALA LUMPUR:

Malaysia has asked Myanmar to stop the oppression of Rohingya Muslims, many of whom have been forced to flee the country.

Foreign Minister Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday, that the refugees should be allowed to return to Mynmar with the promise that no action would be taken against them.

He said Malaysia viewed with grave concern the action that had been taken, particularly by the Myanmar military against the community.

The Foreign Ministry would convey Malaysia’s stand to Mr U Ko, the Myanmar ambassador here.

He said Malaysia would also inform its permanent representative in the United Nations to support any decision of the world body on the matter. “We have been observing developments following action taken against the community.”

Abdullah said_

  1. Malaysia did not think that its position meant interference in Myanmar’s domestic affairs because
  2. Myanmar’s action had burdened neighbouring countries
  3. and might disrupt stability in the region.
  4. He said Yangan should cease all actions against the Rohingya Muslims in order to stem the outflow of refugees from the country.

We hope that his eyes would not be blurred now by Malaysia’s investment and trades with SPDC.  

Newspapers reported that some 135,000 Rohingya Muslims from the Arakan province had fled into Bangladesh so far. The arrival of the refugees had worsened the economic and social problems of Bangladesh, which has a population of 111 million. An officer of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said yesterday in Dhaka that Bangladesh would be faced with a “major disaster” unless the flow of the refugees was checked.      

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad had said on Saturday that the plight of the Rohingya Muslims should be resolved immediately.

He said this after chairing a meeting of the Umno Supreme Council here. 

New Straits Times, Malaysia,

THURSDAY, MARCH 12,1992

Islamic nations slam Myanmar for  persecuting Muslims

NICOSIA, Wed. – The 46 nation Organization of ‘Islamic Conference (OIC) today condemned Myanmar for what it termed a campaign of repression and persecution against its Muslim community.

OIC secretary-general Hamid al-Gabid urged member States and foreign countries to provide “generous assistance” to Bangladesh where around 180,000 Burmese Muslims have taken refuge since December.

The OIC “strongly condemns the campaign of repression and persecution being waged by the Myanmar authorities and which is characterized by flagrant abuses of the human rights of the Muslim  Myanmar people,” he said in a statement.

The campaign, which Gabid said, was accompanied by “threats and intimidations” against Dhaka, had led to the exodus of more than 180,000 Muslims  known as Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

He said the OIC, based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has sent a mission to Bangladesh to study relief needs.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has appealed for US$27.5 million (MR-71.5) in emergency aid for refugees, who it says may number 300,000 by the end of April.

In Singapore, the Foreign Ministry expressed concern that the influx of Myanmar Muslim refugees into Bangladesh could lead to regional instability.

“The influx of large numbers of refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh is creating a potential area of instability for the region and human suffering.”

Singapore hopes that the Myanmar authorities would take action that would allow the refugees to return home safely and thus defuse a potential source of regional in stability and tension,” a Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

In Islamabad, a Foreign ministry spokesman said Pakistan had conveyed its concern to Myanmar. “We have been in touch with the Myanmar Government,” he said, adding “we hope that the Muslim minority will be treated with sympathy and understanding and their freedom and human rights will be respected”.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh went on a diplomatic offensive and flew a group of 45  Western, Asian and Arab diplomats to the camps.

A Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official said the diplomatic visit was part of a Government plan to “internationalize the issue to force Myanmar to take back its nationals and guarantee their safety”.

“We are also seriously working on the possibility of calling an emergency meeting of the UN Security council to discuss the issue,” he said. – Agencies.    

The following is one of the best articles I have read in Malaysian Newspapers. We want to congratulate for her well-done research and bravery in writing the truth against the will of some people in authority. It was written in the_

Sun Newspaper on August 24 1996, by Sheryll Stothard. 

“Malaysia’s moral blackout”.

A media release I received last week ended with a quote from Cenpeace spokesman,Fan Yew Teng

“Last week, we had an electricity black out and our Prime Minister said he was as ashamed.

This week we have a moral black out and no one talks about it.”         

He was referring to the five day state visit of General Than Shwe, head of Burma’s- oh- sorry Myanmar’s SLORC.

As a Malaysian, I have to question the inconsistency in our foreign poicy as far as repressive leaders are concerned. 

As a taxpayer, I protest that some of my tax dollars have been spent on hosting representative from one of the most repressive immoral and backward “governments” in the world. I am not an activist. In fact, I frequently am irritated by the holier-than-thou exhortations NGOs are sometimes given to.  Yet, in this situation, I am sure I echo the feelings of many non-NGO, non-activist Malaysians as far as the SLORC is concerned.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Why can’t I accept Asean’s poli-constructive engagement” with the SLORC.

For one thing, I cannot reconcile myself with Malaysia’s split I identity problem when it comes to human rights abuses in foreign countries. Flying in the face of established Western agendas over the last decade, Malaysia has been laudably vocal in condemning human rights abuses such as Bosnia, the Middle East, Chechnya and South Africa.

However that well-known Malaysian moral outrage tapers off into a whimper as we get closer to home. We dismissthe atrocities in East Timor even to the extent of saying that Malaysians  who get killed in the crossfire deserve it.  Indonesia is a member of the Asean and we cannot criticize our partners – which seem to be the underlying reason.

With Myanmar, we don’t even, have that excuse, however feeble.

Why invite Southeast Asia’s version of Radovan Karadzic as a state guest to our country?

  1. The economic reasons aren’t even compelling enough to warrant mention.  Surely, we’re making enough money economically in Vietnam, Cambodia and various impoverished African states.  Why Myanmar? 
  2. Take away the bleeding heart liberalist rhetoric of Western proponents of democracy. 
  3. Take away even the personality cult of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi.
  4. Take away the Western threats of economic sanctions. 
  5. Take away all that, even John Boorman’s silly movie Beyond Rangoon. 

What do we have?

The SLORC was formed in September 1988 and promptly declared martial law. 

This was just an academic continuance of the brutal regime of Ne Win and his military cronies who assumed power after a coup in 1962. 

Earlier in 1988, the army gunned down pro-democracy students and started a nationwide offensive against the country’s brightest- who were the only hope Myanmar had for a long time.

How can any one shoot their children?

Why bother to educate them and then gun them down like defenseless animals in the streets.

How can we accept this?

Why rave about Bosnia when we accept and condone the same in Myanmar?

What does that say about us.Malaysians are frequently referred and look up to by the international Muslim community as respected spokesman for the faith.

Yet we have invited a representative of a “government” responsible for the decimation of Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan area of Myanmar. Since the SLORC took over till 1992, over 26o,ooo Muslim Myanmarese have fled the country. Backed by the SLORC, a border development programme was introduced for the purpose of forcibly removing the Muslim population from the country’s north-western frontier. The SLORC says that there are 690,000 Muslims in the Arakanese area. Muslim groups and the Bangladeshi government calculate the population at 1.4 million. 

That’s quite a lot of Muslims for the SLORC to kick out rape, maim and kill.

I have been using the word “government” loosely in reference to the SLORC/SPDC. 

  1. Well, technically and morally I am wrong and so is anyone else who thinks so.
  2. In May 1990, the National League for Democracy won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s general elections, winning 392 of the 485 seats available, despite the harsh conditions imposed on the NLD and on Aung San Suu Kyi by the military.
  3. When it was time to hand over power to the elected government, the SLORC responded by throwing NLD-MPs into jail. 
  4. Many have been tortured and killed since.
  5. So whom have we invited to Malaysia and aligned ourselves to?
  6. The leader of military generals who are completely in their willingness to kill and enslave the people of Myanmar.

To businessman who has jumped on the bandwagon to Myanmar, some cautionary advice is in order. Even if you amoral, doing business with the SLORC is a huge investment risk. 

  1. You might initially make some money off a population enslaved by the SLORC.
  2. But enjoy the short ride while it lasts.
  3. If the SLORC/SPDC can decimate and kill its own people, it is unlikely that they will honour any agreement made with foreigners the moment higher bidder – whether Asian or Western turns up.
  4. Malaysians have a responsibility to ensure that our reputation for tolerance and moral integrity in this region is not compromised, The future of Myanmar is in the hands of Asean, not the West.  We are in the position to effect much needed change in that country. 
  5. In light of the SLORC’s history, “constructive engagement” is not the way to go. 
  6. We are not doing the people of Mvanmar a favour by inviting their leaders to our country to talk business.
  7. Instead, we have justified the oppression. 

And in the case of Malaysian companies doing business there, we’re just twisting the knife in deeper.

And for that, I am truly and deeply ashamed.  Surely, we are better than that.  Or are we? 

And the following is the response of the Thailand Newspaper.1.6.97.

THE NATION EDITORIAL. 

“SHAMEFUL FOR ASEAN TO EMBRACE BURMA” 

Asean will never be the same again. 

  1. By embracing Burma as a member it has itself become a pariah organization. 
  2. Coming as it does on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the decision yesterday will have repercussions far beyond whatever Asean leaders may envisage. 
  3. It has indeed irreversibly damaged the organization’s integrity and setback some three decades of achievement.
  4. We firmly believe the applications for membership by Burma, Laos and Cambodia should be judged on their individual merits and readiness, just as it has always been in other regional organizations. 
  5. But still, these qualifications are secondary to their peoples’ desire for freedom and democracy.
  6. To accept Burma without any conditions is to ignore the aspirations of the Burmese people., who voted for Aung San Suu Kyils National League for Democracy (NLD in 1990.
  7. Why bless a regime that is clearly not legitimate? 
  8. A regime that is willing to go back on its word.
  9. From the beginning, the Burmese junta’s motive in bidding for membership of Asean was obvious a regional aegis to prolong its own repressive rule and to fight against Western pressure for openness. 
  10. By exploiting Asean’s strengths and weaknesses the junta leaders have been able to turn the membership issue into an East-West divide – Asean against the West.
  11. In the two years Burma has sought a closer rapport with Asean it has never lived up to regional or international norms of conduct and behaviour. 
  12. Now, Asean would like us and the world to believe that as a member of Asean, the Slorc leaders will be more enlightened, Open-minded and less oppressive.
  13. The Asean leaders’ decision yesterday was a triumph of evil over humanity. 
  14. There is a Thai saying that one rotten fish can spoil the whole basket of fish.

The biggest disappointment must be those Thai leaders who failed to play appropriate roles in leading Asean.  Partisan politics and self-interest on the part of various authorities completely destroyed the unanimity of Thailand’s positions and policies.  They will have to beat responsibility for the future of the Burmese people.Nonetheless, we welcome the decision to take in Laos and Cambodia, despite the political uncertainty in Phnom Penh.  Laos has been preparing for this eventuality the longest, knowing full well their inadequacies.  The Laotian and Cambodian peoples are supportive of their governments’ desire to join Asean.

Actually Thailand Newspapers_

  1. are independent
  2. and not the mouthpiece of the Thai government.
  3. They are usually critical
  4. but always give fair reporting in any subject about any country.
  5. They have a lot of dignity
  6. and command respect.
  7. Not only in reporting
  8. but comments
  9. and even sometimes predictions also done sometimes.
  10. They are famous for the investigative reporting,
  11. which is very rare and impossible to find in this part of the world.
  12. For example, the Nation published the full page article of Bertil Lintner, predicting that Ne Win will create an anti-Muslim riots in 1988, two months earlier than the actual happening.
  13. He had even predicted correctly that, that racial riots will backfire and the resulting snowball effect will cause the downfall of Ne Win.
  14. When compare to the news blackout regarding the Anti-Muslim riots of Burma in Muslim Asean countries, it was a very brave stand we all should applaud.
  15. We had sent the news to those “Muslim” newspapers, personally as well as by post- but they refused to publish giving the lame excuse as those were sensitive news for their countries. What a BULL SHIT, New Straits Times and Stars. The Stars decided it is not sensitive when their fellow Chinese were suffering in Indonesia during Anti-Chinese Riots.
  16. Although Thailand is a Buddhist dominant country, have a sizable population of Muslim population, situated very near and even shared a common border with Burma, they never cover up those racial riots against Muslims by giving lame excuse as a sensitive issue.
  17. They even published the colour photographs of the Buddhist Monks destroying the Mosques and tearing and throwing the Holy Korans.
  18. But the Asian Muslim newspapers cowardly blackout those even when offered the photos.

On 17th. Jan 1999 night on Malaysian NTV7’s Date line programme_

  1. we have seen a disgusting and a shameful comment from a Chinese Journalist from the Star English newspaper from Malaysia.
  2. We even want to vomit. While denouncing the foreign newspapers, he mentioned that even the Asean newspapers are the same and he especially picked the Thailand newspapers.
  3. He complained that the Thai newspapers keep on writing about Myanmar.
  4. What is wrong with that, my stupid “Syncophant journalist”?
  5. You have no right to comment about Thailand and Myanmar.
  6. You are disqualified to comment according to your “ASEAN SPIRIT”.
  7. Don’t interfere in our internal affairs.
  8. We know your very poor basic general knowledge when you comment to the CNBC that United States is a racially homogenous country!
  9. CNBC representative hit you back immediately with irrefutable proof that he himself is a “Black” and there are a lot of sensitivities to be careful in his country but they have to always reveal the truth.
  10. And you have stupidly said that there is no such thing as investigative reporting as far as you are concern.
  11. And you have shamelessly agree that your profession here is to support establishment. Don’t call yourself a journalist. You are just the propaganda specialist or advertisement section officer only.
  12. We don’t care your “duties” here, even if you refused to print the atrocities against the Muslims in Myanmar but please do not stupidly interfere or condemn the Thai newspapers’ good job of reporting of Myanmar.
  13. We hope you are not the victim of “turn over” by the Myanmar Military.
  14. Who knows, the carrot and stick can come from any-where. But fear and favour should not dictate a good journalist.

The previous youth leader although a Muslim, announced in the newspapers that he had recently came back from Myanmar and there were no Anti-Muslim activities there.

  1. He was later removed from office because of unrelated another reason but who knows, may be because of that sin against the religion.
  2. His deputy promised to head a team to go to Myanmar to probe the truth.
  3. But no official report came out when they returned.

In Islam, if some one commit a sin or wrong doing, we must respond in one of the three grades of responses, according to our Iman or Faith.

  1. If we have enough power, we have to physically use forced to stop that.
  2. If we are weak to use force, we have to verbally protest our displeasure and tell to stop that.
  3. If we are too weak and dare not open our mouth, at least we have to hate that act in our heart. This is the weakest Iman or Faith in Islam.This is our faith and is a mandatory in Islam.
  4. If we help the wrong doer by covering up, it is a sin not only according to the religion, but also committing a crime according to the human laws.
  5. If someone knows that another person is committing a crime and kept quiet, it is a sheer cowardice.
  6. But if his silence is for some hidden agenda or undisclosed benefits he could get from that person i.e. to save his personal interest he also is guilty and partially responsible for that crime.
  7. And we must consider the possible consequent mischief of, for example the repetition of that crime or progression into committing of more atrocities.
  8. If that person covers up and says that nothing is wrong, he is guilty for obstructing the justice.
  9. It is curious to note that not only the Muslim countries in ASIAN but also the remaining Islamic countries have failed to help the Muslims of Myanmar effectively.

OIC countries, leaders and all the Arabs are almost always busy with Palestinian-Israel and Iraq problems and infightings amongst themselves.

  1. But the Christian welfare organizations,
  2. Christian Western Countries
  3. and the “notorious” (more correctly famous for the Myanmar Muslims) George Soros (of Jew faith) are helping the Myanmar Muslims.
  4. Even the Rohingya leader Professor Zakaria had voiced his concern about those strange phenomena. He is rightfully worried about the possible consequences of the growing influences of those non-Muslim donors and helpers.
  5. No wonder not only the whole population of Myanmar peoples but the Muslims there hate all the governments of Asean.

Asean said that they were accepting the Myanmar as a country. But all these governments done all the dealings with the Military government. Myanmar peoples are neglected.

  1. Even among the Asean countries, ordinary civilian Myanmars are discriminated.
  2. Although we are Asean members we need visa to enter Asean countries. Visa exemption is for the cronies of the Myanmar Military government only.It is even more difficult to get a visa nowadays. Before joining Asean, Myanmars could enter Singapore without visa. Now we are Asean members, but we now need a visa not like other members.
  3. Although some Asean leaders especially Chinese Chauvinist  Singaporian leaders are shouting about meritocracy and some of them declaring that their law never look at the colour of the skin nor discriminate, Myanmars are denied the chances those great, fair ASEAN leaders have reserved for other foreigners.
  4. For them, white skin people from US and EU, rich people from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Arabs and other ASEAN (except Myanmar) e.g. Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine, Singapore and Malaysia and some common wealth countries are important. All the facilities, favours and jobs must be reserved for them. Not for Myanmars, even if that Myanmar happens to be a Muslim and the host country is a Muslim dorminent country.
  5. Even Myanmar workers are not allowed to register at their Immigrations, except special approval on and off. Even among the illegals in the detention camp, the citizens of few most favoured countries are allowed to register and so legalized but not Myanmars. (In  80’s up to early 90’s but when Bangladesh refused contract to their oil company and awarded the tender of US oil company but Myanmar SPDC allowed their oil company to invest, they stopped Bangalis and started to accept Myanmars)
  6. In Singapore and Brunei, most of the Myanmar professionals are not allowed to register, although the same qualified person may be registered if sponsored by the Myanmar Military government or if they can show the registration from the west(although they got the degree from Myanmar Universities.)
  7. Even to get a student visa or to get a training post or to get a dependant visa, these governments made it difficult for Myanmars.
  8. Even in Singapore, Indian citizens and of course Chinese foreigners are treated much more favourably than Myanmars.
  9. And for the PR and citizenship applications there are discrimination laws or Rules and Regulations or Government secret Circulars in all Asean countries. Once we were surprised to be told by a cabinet Minister that there is a Cabinet ruling to be careful on Myanmars and there was no exemption even for Myanmar Muslim Professionals legally working here. But we have to be fair by recording here that almost all of the authorities are willing to extend their help to us unofficially.
  10. Myanmar Embassy told us that the mutual tax exemption agreement is for the government’s official business only. So what is the use benefit the ordinary Myanmars got by entering ASEAN.
  11. All of us know that the children and the friends of some of the ASEAN leaders got big projects and contracts in Myanmar.

Kim Dae Jung, former political prisoner and the former President of the Republic of Korea’s views told to the Asiaweek (Sourse Reitures)

  1. As the president of the Republic of Korea, I should not comment on the affairs of another country. 
  2. In the past, for example, I took great interest in the situation of Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar. 
  3. I sent letters and worked with Corazon Aquino [former president of the Philippines] through an international forum. 
  4. More than 100 Korean National Assembly members wrote a letter to the Myanmar government urging it to hold dialogue with Suu Kyi. 
  5. Nowadays, it is not easy to comment on such things.”
  6. There is concern, in particular among Asean’s older, more developed members, that letting in authoritarian countries such as Burma has damaged the groups ties with the West and endangers efforts to promote transparency and democracy.

‘Myanmar has provided a valuable lesson, that you can’t really change a country. Even though Asean tries to constructively engage Myanmar, the change has been too slow,” said Kao Kim Hourn, director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace think tank

‘Myanmar has damaged Asean but it’s in Asean’s ultimate interest to make sure it’s united – all 10 countries,” he said. , “That’s very important if Aean wants to play on the international diplomatic stage, be it engaging China, Russia or India.

Military-ruled Burma did join Asean last year despite objections from some of the group’s Western allies over its dismal human rights record and political suppression.  Laos also joined at the same time, bringing the group’s membership to nine.

The more liberal Asean members fear the conservatives could put the breaks on Political and economic reform and tarnish Asean with their political and rights problems.

“People like Thailand and the Philippines don’t want to create a situation in which they’ll be continually outnumbered by the hard-liners,” said Steve Heder of London University’s School of oriental and African Studies.

If Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam line up on certain issues,

  • whether it’s human rights,
  • democracy
  • or international trade,

then the old Asean independence of action is severely compromised,” he told. 

People like Surin Sukhumbh and senior foreign ministry officials in the Philippines, they’re good  liberals who genuinely believe the way forward for the whole of southeast Asia is further democracy and transparency,” Heder said, referring to Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan andhis deputv. Sukhumbhand Paripatra.

They don’t want to be dragged down by the  Khin Nyunts and the Hun Sens,” he said referring to Burma’s powerful military intelligence chief Khin Nyunt.

“If anything there’s been negative progress.” Heder said,  “Military intelligence is increasingly taking over. This is not what Asean envisaged.

Despite the costs, Asean has little choice but to try and manage its members’ political turmoil. The group says Cambodia’s membership is only a question of time.

“Asean should manage diversity,” said Kao Kim Hourn. “Burma has damaged Asean but it has been able to deal with that. If it’s a mature regional organization it can handle Cambodia.”

EU/ASEAN end impasse over Burma for now.

Since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (Asean) inclusion of Burma in its regional grouping in July of 1997, the European Union (EID has cancelled bilateral meetings with Asean because of concerns over the Burmese government’s poor human rights record.  But for now, the impasse between the EU and Asean over Burma has passed, and the delayed 13th Asean-EU Meeting is planned to be held in Bangkok.Hand in hand with this decision to meet with Asean is not only the EUs renewal, but also strengthening, of sanctions against Burma.According to a Burma watcher, the meeting is a one-shot deal to work out the glitches of EU financial assistance to Asean, which has been put on hold because of the delay over Burma.

In addition to the previous sanctions, which include_

  1. a ban on visas to the Burmese leadership,
  2. the suspension of high level government visits,
  3. an arms embargo,
  4. as well as the suspension of non-humanitarian aid,
  5. the new sanctions ban entry visas for officials
  6. and transit visas for military authorities.Armed forces officers and members of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) will be forbidden to enter EU member countries to go on to third countries.
  7. Why should European airports or capitals be open to SPDC officials as a convenient stopping points –
  8. and shopping or tourism havens – on the way to meetings in New York or Geneva?” pondered one British-EU official.

This is the first response by any major non-Asian government to the recent deterioration of the political situation inside Burma.  SPDC actions have included the provocation of two highway standoffs between the government and the National Democracy League (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi, the arrests of hundreds of NLD members, and persistent attacks in the Burmese press against Suu Kyi.

Furthermore, the recent rejection of an EU proposal for senior EU officials to talk with NLD officials did not help the positions of EU advocates for engagement.“The Burmese basically said get lost, which strengthens the argument of those countries that want to see the sanctions toughened up”, said a senior EU diplomat.

The proponents for a tougher approach to Burma are Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands.  However, the EUs position is hardly united as French officials opposed sanctions and Britain’s proposals for tourism restrictions.

It seems now that Burma is split over whether the decision to join Asean was a good idea.  It was originally thought to be a source of support but now it has become a source of pressure for reform from the outside. 

“Burma thought that Asean would serve as a shield to ward off foreign criticism,” says Josef Silverstein, professor emeritus of political science and a Burma scholar at Rutgers University in New Jersey. 

But it has only created further pressure from its neighbors.  The problem is that the rest of Asean feels it has to pressure the generals in Rangoon into mending their ways, so as not to jeopardize ties with the EU. 

“Asean has provided no shield for Burma, no protection not even a fig leaf”, says Silverstein.

The EU has modified its strategy for applying human rights pressure on Burma, so that it can engage the rest of Asean.  But, Burma’s future participation in EU dialogue will hinge on improvement in its human-rights record. 

But how long can the rest of Asean bear the burden for Burma especially in light of their seemingly reluctance to change. 

Perhaps Asean and the EU will be back to square one in eighteen months when the next conference is scheduled or, alternatively, a major change in Asean protocol.              

The Congressmen called for the immediate release of these and other political prisoners and noted that: “The prosecution, imprisonment and possible execution of these individuals for the legitimate exercise of fundamental political rights is an affront to the values of civilized nations.” 

Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his foreward to Burma, Country in Crisis, wrote,

“I asked to use this booklet to learn about Burma. And I urge you to turn that knowledge into action. In South Africa, we gratefully learned that the people’s voice raised is indeed a most powerful tool. It is time we raised our voices together to demand that our governments and the world community take effective action to bring respect for human rights and democracy to Burma.”

“Burma turned into a backwater hell”

NATION, Thailand’s independent newspaper,

THURSDAY, JUNE 18,1992.Sydney.

AN AUSTRALIAN judge yesterday called for western and Asian countries to overthrow the government of Burma, which, he said had turned the country into a mass, poverty-stricken concentration camp.

In an investigation of Asian refugee trouble spots, judge, Marcus Einfeld said he found in Burma mass atrocities, human fights violations and a government policy of exterminating Aids victims with cyanide injections.

Like Cambodia’s Pol Pot, he said, Burmese leaders “have turned Burma into a backwater hell and disguised it all as a pantomime of charming touristic folklore.”

There should be widespread at what was once a free and rich being turned into a mass poverty-stricken concentration camp.”

If the world had done to Burma even a fraction of what it had done to South Africa the government of Ne Win would not have been able to hold on, Einfeld said.Instead it had taken refuge in withholding official aid while allowing the private sector to hone in on the opportunities thrown up by a regime

“whose priority is the repression and vandalizing of peaceable and kind human beings,”

But he described the situation in Bangladesh, which had received 268,000 Burmese refugees as one of the most serious refugee problems in the world. Nevertheless, Bangladesh had developed a “generally” excellent capacity for disaster relief.Einfeld’s investigation was commissioned by the Australian refugee aid organization Austcare. The Australian branch of the International Commission of Jurists was also involved.

Apart from the brutality and repression, he said there was also evidence that to counter an Aids epidemic the government was killing infected people by injecting them with cyanide.

This was done “apparently in the vain hope of eradicating the disease“, which was growing out of control in Burma.“This monstrous policy dramatically manifests yet another reason why this regime must be removed.

The active intervention of Western and Asian Countries would be needed, he said, to overthrow the regime.

The Burmese junta is largely armed and supplied by China and financed by the drug trade, by democratic countries and by their commercial enterprises.

But he said up to now, businessmen of democratic countries were still operating “their peculiar brand of exploitative amoral-or immoral profiteering” in Burma.

There are hundreds of reports of atrocities and human rights violations, enforced slave labour and “rape on an appalling scale.

He had seen signs of the brutalities in the Arakan region, Einfeld said.“There are hundred of reported cases where women have been abducted and forced to carry heavy loads through mountainous terrain, raped repeatedly every night and fed almost nothing.”

THE STAR MONDAY March 16, 1992. Malaysia.

THE immense sufferings of the Rohingya Muslims should persuade the Malaysian and other Asean governments to address the one fundamental issue inMyanmar today – a harsh, haughty, dictatorship, obsessed with the perpetuation of its own power, whatever the costs and consequences.

It is a dictatorship, which has suppressed and suffocated the voice of its own people as few repressive regimes have done in recent times.

  1. Even after the people rejected the ruling junta through elections, which it tried so hard to rig, the junta has refused to surrender power to the people.
  2. The message from the masses could not have been clearer.  Though its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 392 out of 485 seats in Parliament in the May 27, 1990 elections.
  3. The junta sponsored, National Unity Party, on the other hand, obtained only 10 seats!
  4. After the elections, the junta began imprisoning the elected leaders of the NLD.  According to one source, in the second half of 1989 alone, 3,000 persons were imprisoned for political reasons.
  5. Even before all this, in September 1988, the military junta crushed a nation wide pro-democracy revolt with such brutal force that it shocked high level Yangon bureaucrats themselves. 
  6. It is estimated that about 12,000 protestors, many of them students, were killed mercilessly.
  7. Since January 1990 as many, as 500,000 people in different parts of Myanmar have been forcibly expelled from their homes and relocated in new areas, as part of the junta’s drive to weaken grassroots support for the NLD.
  8. The junta began a massive military exercise to break the back of minority rebellions, which have been going on for a long while.The Karens, a largely Christian minority, are now under tremendous pressure. 
  9. So are the Muslim Rohingyas.The plight of the Rohingyas then is part of a much larger problem.It is true that in some respects the Rohingyas are in a more desperate situation than most of the other victims of the junta’s repression.
  10. The Rohingyas were an independent people who ruled their own land, Arakan, for centuries until it was invaded and annexed by the Burmans in 1784.This is one of the main reasons why the Rohingyas have always resented what they regard as Burman colonization of Arakan.They allege that the military junta is trying to change the very character of their homeland by destroying entire communities, demolishing whole villages.
  11. In November 1990, for instance, 30,000 Rohingyas were uprooted from their villages.Many of these uprooted Rohingyas are regarded as ‘stateless’ by the junta, though they had lived in Arakan for generations.
  12. But the tragedy that confronts the Rohingyas and the people of Myanmar as a whole can only be overcome if the junta is made to relinquish power.
  13. For a start, Asean governments should demand that the junta transfer power to the NLD – ineffect, the legitimately elected government of the day.
  14. This will of course require the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other political, prisoners from the NLD. 

If the junta cannot be persuaded to act responsibly, then Asean governments should contemplate the following measures: 

  • THE cessation of all arms supplies to the junta, whether direct or indirect, from any source within the region. 
  • THE cessation of all forms of economic collaboration with, and assistance to, the junta emanating from both the public and private sectors in the region. 

In this concern, Thailand, in particular, should act with integty and honesty.In a nutshell, the time has come for Asean to act, for the people of Myanmar cannot wait anymore.

DR CHA.NDRA MUZAFFAR, Penang, Malaysia.

The following is the very strong article written in 1992, now the views, perceptions and reports become unbelievingly softer.

“Strangers in their own land”,

New Straits Times, March, 11, 1992. 

THE rulers of Myanmar have been afflicted with xenophobia for a long time, preferring that the country make-do and improvise with scarce resources and in seedy circumstances rather than risk infection by foreign ideas and influences. 

Now, their xenophobia has spread to encompass thousands of Muslim Rohingyas in the Western State of Arakan.  People who have lived in Myanmar for generations have suddenly been classified aliens. 

To encourage their leaving the country, soldiers have been torching homes, stealing property, and raping women, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.Myanmar has been denying the tales of atrocities, charging that they are fabrications of foreign enemies. 

Sounds like either xenophobic paranoia or a whitewashing of complicity.

Is one to discount hundreds of graphic eyewitness accounts of pillage and slaughter and mass graves? 

What explains the hurried exodus in the past three months or so of up to 170,000 refugees fleeing into Bangladesh? 

Would people, under no, compulsion, willingly give up home and field for life in refugee camps, subject to diseases and the charity of Bangladesh and international aid organizations?

There are also reports that Myanmar has put close to 100,000 troops in the border regions next to Bangladesh.  If one is not to see this as the prelude to war with Bangladesh (and there is no discernible reason for such an event), then one must see this large force as being emplaced to prompt a fleeing of the remaining “aliens” and to ensure they do not return to their homes.

The world has seen another nation shutting out the outside and; turning against its own people in a rampant fit of bloodletting. 

Cambodians still bear livid scars and memories of that ghastly dark time. One hopes the current situation in Myanmar is not a prelude to another grisly nightmare. It is one thing to send in troops to take on hill tribes who want separation and independence.

It could be argued that a government has the right to suppress separatist movements by force of arms.However, in the case of the Rohingyas, Myamnar seems to be persecuting an ethnic, religious community without even bothering to justify the violence by saying that it had anything to do with the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (which does advocate armed insurgency to free Arakan).

Malaysia has chosen to maintain relations with Myanmar because it believes persuasion rather than isolation is a better course of action to influence events in the country.

Myanmar has clearly shown that it is prepared to go its own course without the support of other countries (though relying heavily on Chinese military supplies for its current spate of campaigns), so international ostracism is no real threat. 

One hopes Malaysia’s expressed concern over the reported persecution of the Rohingyas will influence the government in Yangon to re-consider its policies and practices.  Myanmar may feel that when it comes to the crunch, it does not need friends, but no regime can be maintained indefinitely by fear and killings. 

  • Sooner or later there will be an accounting. 
  • Professing to be Buddhists, the generals, should realize that.
  • It is alienating its own peoples.
  • It is alienating its neighbours. 
  • Are compassion and peace such alien concepts to the generals? 
  • What is the point presiding over a depopulated land?

Since 1992 the SLORC had accepted a Chinese offer to build a deep-water port on Hainggyi island at the mouth of the Bassein River. 

  • Defense analysts suggest that the island could become a base for the future Chinese ballistic missile submarine fleet.
  • Yangon had allowed China access to three islands off the Myanmar coast for signals intelligence :
  • Ramree island south of Akyab in western Arakan State,
  • Coco island in the Indian Ocean,
  • and Zadetkyi island or St Matthew’s island off the Tenasserim coast in the south-east. 
  • Satellite images indicate that a 45-metre antenna for monitoring radio traffic has been set up on Coco island.

Economic and military support for the regime has come from its Asian neighbours and near neighbours, primarily Thailand, China and Singapore.  China is Myanmar’s most important ally. 

Since 1989 more than a dozen economic and aid agreements have been signed between the two countries.Human rights have become an important test of attitudes to Myanmar.

In May 1991 the European Community (EC) foreign ministers condemned Myanmar’s human rights record, halted sales of military equipment and invited their Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) colleagues to do likewise.

The ASEAN group refused to take this approach, preferring instead to pursue a policy of “constructive engagement” with Yangon. 

The chief focus of Western human rights concern hasbeen Aung San Suu Kyi, who, until July 1995, had been held under house arrest for more than five years.  The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to her in October 1991 gave her an even higher profile and, combined with the exodus of Rohingya Muslim refugees to Bangladesh and the annual offensive against the Karen rebels, meant that by early 1992 Myanmar was more isolated internationally than at any time since the 1970s. 

The Muslim countries of Indonesia and Malaysia condemned the junta’s treatment of the Rohingyas and ASEAN refused Myanmar’s request to attend its annual foreign ministers’ meeting in Manila.

However, in September 1992 Myanmar was allowed to rejoin the Non-aligned Movement, which it left in September 1979. 

Most foreign governments welcomed the relaxation in the SLORC’s policies from mid-1992.  US blasts Myanmar junta for rights abuses.

The Sun,

March 1, 1999.Bangkok, Sun:

An annual US government report on human rights has accusedMyanmar’s military authorities of condoning a range of abuses.

The Burma Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998 said the people of Myamnar, especially women and children of ethnic minority groups, are subject to severe mistreatment.

“Citizens continued to live subject at any time and without appeal to the arbitrary and sometimes brutal dictates of the military dictatorship,” the report said.

There continue to be credible reports, particularly in ethnic minority dominated areas, that soldiers committed serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and rape.

“Prison conditions are harsh and life threatening.“Arbitrary arrests and detentions for expression of dissenting political viewscontinued with increasing frequency in an effort to intimidate the populace intosubmission in the face of deepening economic and political instability”

About 200 opposition MPs had been detained since September and there weremore than 1,000 political prisoners in custody, it said.

Such accusations, made frequently by international human rights groups, arerepeatedly denied by the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

The report said women and children of ethnic minorities were being forced toperform arduous manual labour for the military, harassed, raped and sometimessold as prostitutes in neighbouring Thailand.

“During tlfe SPDC’s anti insurgency operations, members of the military forcesare responsible for arbitrary killings, rape, village relocations, the destructionof homes and property, and forced labour inflicted on ethnic minorities,” it said.

The SPDC, formerly known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council,has ignored the results of the 1990 elections won easily by the National League fordemocracy under Nobel laureate Aung San Sun Kyi.In a rare press conference on Thursday,  Suu Kyi said that authorities she wasreleased from six years of house arrest in 1955 she was still unable to enjoy a normal life.

The International Freedom Act of 1998

Shack, John, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights,and Labor before the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate

“The International Freedom Act of 1998”, 5/12/98ABSTRACT –

The Honorable John Shack testified before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, concerning the work being done by the U.S. State Department to promote religious freedom around the world and to present its perspectives on Senate Bill 1868 (International Freedom Act of 1998). He emphasized that freedom of religion is a bedrock issue for the U.S. and its citizens, relating to the concept of democracy itself.

The present situation of religious persecution and violent intolerance toward minority populations in Burma …. is reviewed. Concerns about the proposed legislation are discussed with respect to the definition of religious persecution and how to provide incentives for improvement in the situations discovered. Throughout the world, the United States upholds human rights, including the principle that freedom of religion, conscience and belief is a universally recognized human right and fundamental freedom.

As President Clinton declared on Religious Freedom Day, January 16, 1998,

“We must continue to proclaim the fundamental right of all peoples to believe and worship according to their own conscience, to affirm their beliefs openly and freely, and to practice their faith without fear of intimidation.”

Freedom of religion is a bedrock issue for the American people and its government.

Indeed, the United States in large part was founded by people who fled religious persecution and intolerance. Their desire for religious freedom prompted the establishment of many of the colonies, where they wrote the principle into their laws and charters.

As the poet James Russell Lowell wrote, religious freedom was the seed that produced democracy.

Our country’s founders recognized the importance of religious freedom.

Thomas Jefferson called it “the creed of our political faith [and] the text of our civil instruction.”

He recognized the inherent link between religious freedom and freedom of speech, assembly, and association.

That is why he and the other Founding Fathers insisted on the prominent placement of freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights, as the First Amendment to the Constitution.  

If people lack religious freedom, other human rights violations, intolerance and violence are more prevalent

Mr. Chairman, it would be a mistake to regard religious freedom as a uniquely American value.

  • It is a concept basic to every one of the world’s major belief systems.
  • It also is an internationally recognized human right.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognize that all citizens have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

This right is inherent in the dignity of every human being.

No government can legitimately deny it, no matter what the justification, for it is universal, inalienable, and endowed by virtue of birth.

Unfortunately, however, there are some in the world today who refuse to recognize this fundamental right and who discriminate against, restrict, or even persecute those of other faiths.

Whether Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Baha’i, or of another creed, believers around the world continue to suffer for their faith.   

Statement by Lim Kit Siang – Malaysia Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, 29th November 1996.

ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta tomorrow should take serious note of the resolution by the UN General Assembly’s social, humanitarian and cultural committee deploring Myanmar for continuing violations of human rights

The application by the Myanmar military junta, State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), to join ASEAN is expected to be one of the main issues at the ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta tomorrow, especially as the Chairman of SLORC, Gen Tan Swe, has been invited to the Jakarta meeting.

The ASEAN Informal Summit in Jakarta should take serious note of the resolution by the UN General Assembly’s social, humanitarian and cultural committee on Wednesday deploring the continuing violations of human rights in Myanmar.

The UN General Assembly committee passed a resolution by consensus rebuking SLORC for

  1. suppressing opposition,
  2. using forced labour to build its economy,
  3. torturing prisoners,
  4. abusing women
  5. ]and conducting summary executions.

This resolution would be transmitted to the UN General Assembly for formal adoption next month, and by past practice, the General Assembly invariably reflects the stand taken by the committee.

ASEAN should advise SLORC/SPDC to-

engage in substantive political dialogue

  • with Aung San Suu Kyi
  • and other political
  • and ethnic leaders

for national reconciliation and democratic reforms.

However, the National Convention is no longer a legitimate process since the National League for Democracy (NLD) which won the 1990 general elections in Burma has suspended its participation in the National Convention.

The continuation of the present National Convention is a direct violation of the principle established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that “the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of government”.

ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy must be one_

  1. where the ASEAN leaders can give constructive views to SLORC
  2. as to how it could return to the mainstream of the international community.
  3. It must not a blank-cheque to the Myanmar military junta to disregard international opinion
  4. by continuing with its violations of human rights against its people
  5. in return for opening up economic opportunities for ASEAN countries to exploit in Burma. (29/11/96)  

Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang

Call on Dr. Mahathir to exert pressure on SPDC to have genuine dialogue with NLD and ethnic minorities for greater political and economic reforms in Burma during his visit in Rangoon next week 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should exert his influence as a key leader in ASEAN on the ruling State Peace Development Council (SPDC) to have genuine dialogue with the leadership of National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic minorities to seek the best solution to the problems faced by Burma during his visit to Rangoon from 9th to 10th March 1998.

The Secretary General of NLD Aung San Suu Kyi has been calling for dialogue with the military junta for many years and has expressed her willingness to work with SPDC to solve the problems faced by Burma,

but the military junta has been ignoring her call and has shown its insincerity in its superficial dialogue with NLD last year

which purportedly excluded the key leaders of NLD, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo.

It is clear that there has been no improvement in the political and economic situation in Burma since it was admitted into ASEAN in July 1997.

The universities have been closed for more than 16 months, besides the continuation of human rights abuses in all parts of that country.

The only change made by the military junta after being admitted into ASEAN was the change of name from State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) to State Peace Development Council (SPDC) in last November

which brings no significant changes to the policies and system of that country.

The continuation of human rights violation and deterioration of economic situation in Burma after the admission of Burma into ASEAN shows to the international community that the Constructive Engagement policy of ASEAN has failed.

The Constructive Engagement policy with Burma has been seen as a lip service of ASEAN rather than a sincere engagement policy with the military junta of Burma in bringing betterment of social and political reforms to the suffering people of Burma.  (6/3/98)

Another Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang

DAP calls for a “constructive intervention” policy on inter-ASEAN relations Malaysia should support the Thai proposal to end the ASEAN policy of non-interference in one another’s internal affairs.

Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan had proposed last month that Asean members, which traditionally avoid delving into one another’s affairs, should change this policy, adding that this would result in greater flexibility which would help Asean recover some of the clout it has lost due to the Asian financial crisis. Philippine Foreign Under-secretary Lauro Baja has said that the ASEAN foreign ministers, which will meet in Manila later this month, will discuss the Thai proposal. Baja also confirmed press reports that the Philippines was already taking a position of “flexible engagement” with Asean member Burma, aimed at helping avoid a political upheaval in that country. Malaysia should in fact go one step further to propose that ASEAN adopt a “constructive intervention” policy on inter-ASEAN relations. The first country for such an ASEAN “constructive intervention” policy to be put into practice is undoubtedly Burma, where opposition groups in the country had recently warned that serious social unrest was set to erupt in that country amid rising tensions with government forces. Burma’s military Government has lashed out at Thailand and the Philippines for “presumptuous” comments about its internal situation and warned their interference could damage ASEAN unity. Thailand, the Philippines and hopefully Malaysia should not allow such threats from steering ASEAN into the new territory of “constructive intervention”. (11/7/98)   ASEAN should learn from the failure of the “constructive engagement’ policy on Burma and craft a new pro-active approach to protect ASEAN’s international credibility by helping Burma embark on the road of democratic reforms and national reconciliation  Media Conference Statement – the launching of the book “From Consensus to Controversy – ASEAN’s Relationship with Burma’s SLORC” by Lim Kit Siang  It is most regrettable that despite the failure of ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy on Burma and widespread objections in the region, Burma would be admitted into ASEAN next week.In giving legitimacy to the repressive military junta in Burma, ASEAN stands the risk of undermining its international credibility and legitimacy, especially if the State Law and Restoration Council (SLORC) uses its new-found legitimacy to crack down on the National League for Democracy and Burmese opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.It is very sad that on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Matyrs Day, Burma is no nearer to a new democratic beginning. On the contrary there are ominous signs that the Burmese military rulers might be setting the scene for a new wave of repression after Burma had been officially admitted into ASEAN next week.Two weeks ago, for instance, Lieutenant-General Tin Oo, one of the country’s four most powerful elements, warned that the military government had been watching “destructive elements” – SLORC’s code word for NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi – and would take action against them if they did not mend their ways.ASEAN governments must make it very clear to the SLORC leaders next week that admission into ASEAN is not a licence for gross violation of human rights and that although ASEAN countries do not interfere in each other’ domestic affairs, SLORC should not undermine ASEAN’s international image, credibility and legitimacy through a new wave of repressions against pro-democracy activists.In fact, ASEAN should learn from the failure of its “constructive engagement’ policy on Burma.The time has also come for ASEAN to give greater meaning to the regional grouping on its 30th anniversary by showing the world that South East Asian nations could not only become economic powerhouses, but also become human rights models.There is no more meaningful way to mark ASEAN’s 30th anniversary than the establishment of an ASEAN Commission of Human Rights to uphold human rights in the region and address regional concerns that Burma’s admission would be a setback for democracy and human rights, not only in Burma, but also for the other ASEAN nations.The ASEAN Commission of Human Rights should be an important plank of a “comprehensive ASEAN policy on Burma” to help Burma embark on the road towards democratisation and national reconciliation.(18/7/97)   OPEN LETTER to ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to discuss the timing of full membership for Myanmar by Lim Kit Siang. 30th May 1997 Honourable ASEAN Foreign Ministers Myanmar’s membership in ASEAN  The human rights record of SLORC had worsened since it had acquired observer status in ASEAN. It had continued to defy the annual United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for democratisation and it had refused to co-operate with ASEAN countries to make a success of the ASEAN constructive engagement policy in the past seven years to achieve tangible or measurable progress in democratic reforms and national reconciliation.While ASEAN governments do not want to ostracise Myanmar, they should not reward SLORC for its poor human rights record by admitting it into ASEAN this year.The ASEAN Foreign Ministers should take seriously the warning of Aung San Suu Kyi in a videotape to ASEAN leaders that admitting Myanmar into ASEAN might trigger an increase in the SLORC repression of political and human rights.Suu Kyi said in the videotape that Myanmar under SLORC is not going to be any credit to ASEAN. But she thinks is the possibility that admission into ASEAN will make SLORC even more obdurate and oppressive than ever.”Just as any regional or international organisation which admitted South Africa in the heyday of the apartheid regime would rightly incur international opprobrium, ASEAN Foreign Ministers must be fully aware of the great damage to the international reputation of ASEAN if Myanmar is admitted without any improvement in its abysmal human rights record.Furthermore, Burma’s admission into ASEAN must be contingent on SLORC co-operating with ASEAN countries to make a success of the ASEAN constructive engagement policy to promote democratic reforms and national reconciliation.For the past seven years, ASEAN’s “constructive engagement” policy had been very one-sided, confining its contacts with SLORC, when the ASEAN governments should reach out to “constructively engage” with both SLORC and the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Conference should respond positively to the invitation by Sui Kyi in her videotape message that:“If ASEAN is truly interested in constructive engagement, it should try to engage with both sides in Burma, with the (regime) as well as the democratic opposition.“ASEAN should be engaged with the National League for Democracy as well, because we are the party, which was elected by the people in the democratic elections of 1990”. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ should seriously consider the hosting of a dialogue between SLORC and the pro-democracy forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi in the hope that such a dialogue under the auspices of ASEAN could help break the present political impasse in Burma and move Burma towards the road of democratisation and national reconciliation – and pave the way for Burma’s eventual admission into ASEAN.Thank you.Yours truly,Lim Kit Siang Parliamentary Opposition Leader Secretary-General, Democratic Action Party Malaysia (30/5/97)  Aliran’s Media Statement “Democracy Further Stalled in Burma”. Aliran views with deep concern the recent political stand-off between Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s military junta. In the recent incident, Suu Kyi was prevented by the military from travelling freely in her own country to exercise her democratic rights and to meet her political supporters. This prompted her to stay put in her Toyota Mark II sedan as a mark of protest. The military regime’s latest action against her would have had serious implications for the health of the already ailing opposition leader. It also reflects the regime’s increasingly arrogant display of political barbarism. The political recalcitrance flaunted by the Burmese military regime makes an ugly mockery of the much-hyped ASEAN notion of “constructive engagement” and the zealously guarded policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries. Fellow ASEAN member states must in no uncertain terms make it known to the Burmese regime that enough is enough and that Suu Kyi and her colleagues should be given their rightful democratic place in Burma. ASEAN as a regional group cannot afford to be seen as being selective when it comes to reprimanding nations that have breached international norms of justice and democracy. Unless ASEAN corrects itself in this respect, its international reputation will be jeopardised and, worse, it will be perceived as a group that doesn’t practise wha it preaches to other, especially those in the West; in short, it is often seen as a group that practises double standards. Dr Mustafa K. Anuar Asst. Secretary 30 July 1998.