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Ehrlich: Aung San Suu Kyi Doomed Says Junta

Aung San Suu Kyi Doomed Says Junta


by Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Burma's military regime warned the world's most famous political prisoner, Aung San Suu Kyi, that her days "are numbered," and she is "heading for a tragic end."

The ominous condemnation on Wednesday (July 5) said Suu Kyi, 61, was in "her final days," and guilty of "betraying the national cause while relying on aliens," including the United States, Britain and the European Union.

Suu Kyi remains under house arrest inside her two-story villa in the former capital, Rangoon, where she has languished for more than 10 of the past 16 years.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party (NLD) won a landslide election victory in 1990, which the regime ignored.

"Attempts to translate into reality the 1990 election results are in vain," the military junta said.

"The days of [Mrs.] Suu Kyi and the NLD are numbered. They are heading for a tragic end," the government said in its official English-language newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is the biggest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and one of the world's worst human rights abusers, according to London-based Amnesty International, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, and other monitors.

The regime's harsh litany against Suu Kyi comes amid demands by Washington that the United Nations Security Council push Burma to release her, along with hundreds of other political prisoners, and allow her National League for Democracy to form a government.

Next-door China, however, is Burma's strongest military, economic and political ally and uses its seat on the Security Council to block attempts to pressure Burma.

Describing the conditions under which she would be freed, the unelected government said, "Definitely, the restrictions imposed on her will be lifted on the day" when Suu Kyi stops demanding democracy.

"The restrictions will never be lifted until she abandons her practice of the liberal policy," it said, indicating a possible future renewal of her house arrest, which was extended in May for another year.

Burma is currently suffering U.S.-led, international economic sanctions which are supposed to pressure the government into freeing Suu Kyi and permitting democracy.

"Due to the economic sanctions placed by one of the western countries, 160 garment factories had to be closed and 40 factories had to reduce the laborers," the regime said.

"The closure left about 80,000 people, including over 70,000 women, jobless. While struggling for living, some women fell victim to human trafficking."

In America, Europe and elsewhere, some critics have said economic sanctions have worsened the plight of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, especially women in Burma's garment industry.

Many females have resorted to prostitution and other desperate measures to make ends meet, because of sanctions against foreign investment and the blocking of Burmese exports to the West.

Suu Kyi has endorsed the sanctions, and has asked foreign tourists not to visit the Buddhist-majority country which displays a myriad of ancient temples and quaint towns smothered in an atmosphere of political repression, poverty and despair.

The top layers of the regime, meanwhile, circumvent the sanctions by doing business with willing neighbors in Asia, including China, Thailand, India, Malaysia and Singapore.

"Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy pose the most dangerous threat to the nation," the report said, blasting them as "traitors relying on foreign countries."

Her NLD is "a rightwing political party following liberalism" and "an anarchist political party."

*************

Copyright by Richard S. Ehrlich, who has reported news from Asia for the past 28 years, and is co-author of the non-fiction book, "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!" -- Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews. His web page is http://www.geocities.com/asia_correspondent

-ENDS-

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