Cablegate: For Burma's Regime, Loyalty Trumps Family
UNCLAS RANGOON 001080
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR BM NLD
SUBJECT: FOR BURMA'S REGIME, LOYALTY TRUMPS FAMILY
1. (SBU) MORE OPPRESSION: At the recent funeral of a famous
Burmese writer (and NLD MP-elect), the Charge, a.i. met the
wife of political prisoner Dr. Than Nyein. Dr. Than Nyein
was elected on the NLD ticket in 1990 from PM General Khin
Nyunt's hometown of Kyauktan. The NLD MP-elect was
sentenced to prison in 1997 for pro-democracy activities and
completed his seven-year sentence last month. His wife, who
seemed quite distraught, said that the regime has
indefinitely extended his sentence under provision 10-A of
the law and has refused to explain his non-release.
2. (SBU) FAMILY TIES: We understand that Dr. Than Nyein's
distraught wife is General Khin Nyunt's first cousin.
Further, this woman reportedly grew up in the same household
as Khin Nyunt and served as his older sister-type figure and
caregiver. Dr. Than Nyein himself is PM Khin Nyunt's
brother-in-law, as Madam Khin Nyunt (Khin Win Shwe) is Dr.
Than Nyein's sister.
3. (SBU) COMMENT: Family ties often correlate with political
positions in Burma, especially as the military regime is
void of any ideology apart from a cold-blooded desire to
stay in power through repression and its shadowy network of
patron-client relationships. However, loyalty to the regime
trumps almost every other connection, including, as the case
of General Khin Nyunt demonstrates, close family ties.