Saturday, September 15, 2007

China's Support of Burma's Oppressive Military Junta

This is not an ad, this is a plea for humanity. Ever since I saw Burmese migrant worker shantytowns in Thailand and the grinding poverty in Burma 2 years ago, the situation in Burma is currently deteriorating. I have cut and pasted information on US Campaign for Burma's latest campaign. Please read.


We are writing to you to launch a new campaign effort -- something we have never done before. As many of you know, for the past four years we have worked to try and get the United Nations to broker peaceful talks in Burma between Burma's military regime, the democracy movement led by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, and Burma's ethnic groups. Since the UN Secretary General's efforts have so far failed, we worked on an effort to get the UN Security Council to address the situation in Burma.

- The United Nations General Assembly has smartly endorsed this approach, believing that only through negotiations can change come to Burma.

- The UN Secretary General is calling for the release, of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma.

- Additionally, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- or ASEAN -- is calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma

We know that the UN Secretary General and ASEAN have not done enough -- they can do a lot more and we believe they have made some mistakes. Our new campaign is not designed in any way to absolve them of their responsibilities under the UN Charter.

However, the primary obstacle making United Nations' efforts on Burma difficult is one country: China. China has repeatedly undermined the UN Secretary General, the UN system, and ASEAN by refusing to back the call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma. China has also refused to call for peaceful tri-partite dialogue in Burma, again undermining UN efforts.

Providing billions for Burma's regime

Economically, China is exploiting the situation by signing deals left and right that essentially steal the natural resources of Burma out from under the Burmese people. According to the Shwe Gas Movement, China's new gas deal with the military regime is worth a staggering $40 billion dollars.

Selling billions in military arms

Militarily, China has sold billions in arms to Burma's military regime. These sales include tanks and armored personnel carriers, jet attack aircraft, small arms and light weapons, logistical and transportation equipment, and coastal patrol ships. These arms sales continue to this day.

Unilaterally blocking all UN and regional diplomatic efforts

Diplomatically, China is undermining diplomatic efforts by ASEAN and the United Nations. Three diplomatic missions to Burma to secure the release of Aung San Suu Kyi by leading Southeast Asian senior statesmen Indonesian Ali Alatas, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid, and Filippino Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo all failed, mainly because China did not endorse these efforts. China went even further to protect the Burmese military regime by vetoing the one and only United Nations Security Council resolution on Burma. The resolution would have given the power the UN Secretary General that he needs to effectively negotiate with the military regime in Burma. China completely blocked it.

In addition to China's neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: the European Union, the United States, Japan, Australia, 14 United Nations Special Rapportuers, One Dozen Nobel Peace Prize recipients, and 59 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from around the world have called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

China has the leverage to support change in Burma

Yet, despite this overwhelming support for Burma's military regime, human rights activists and Burmese people around the world have never once organized a concerted campaign to pressure China to make modifications to its policy on Burma. That is because Burmese people don't want to see Chinas an enemy but as a friend. But China doesn't seem to be listening. Even though the National League for Democracy, 88 Generation Students, and others inside Burma have NEVER ONCE CRITICIZED CHINA's POLICY ON BURMA, China doesn't seem to care. They just continue to ignore the goodwill of Burma's democracy movement and ethnic minorities while undermining each and every international diplomatic effort.

It's time for all of us to say "enough is enough". The simple and undeniable fact is that if China tells the Burmese military regime it must participate in negotiations -- as the UN has repeatedly called for -- the regime will have no choice but to say yes. China does have the leverage -- they just haven't used it at all.

If this were a simple matter of negotiating or not, China's position would be understandable. But the situation in Burma is much much different and extremely grave. The military regime has destroyed 3,000 villages in eastern Burma (twice as many as in Darfur, Sudan) and continues its scorched earth campaign to this day. Mothers, children, and innocent civilians are being slaughtered or forced from their homes. The regime has recruited more child soldiers than any other country in the world. The regime's soldiers are raping innocent women as a war tactic. Over 1,200 political prisoners remain behind bars. Just as the UN was paralyzed and acted far too late on Rwanda, Sudan, and elsewhere, now China is paralyzing the UN into action on Burma.

We urge you to join with us in launching a new, organized, high-level campaign to convince China to modify its policy on Burma. Specifically, we want them to:

1) Stop undermining the UN Secretary General and call for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners in Burma

2) Insist publicly that Burma's military regime participate in tri-partite dialogue with Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy and Burma's ethnic groups.

3) Stop blocking the UN Security Council from doing its job -- by publicly indicating China will no longer veto peaceful, nonviolent UN Security Council resolutions.

As a very first step, we are asking you to join with us in organizing demonstrations around the world at embassies and consulates of China's government. There are people interested in Burma and human rights all over the world, so lets do this at as many embassies as possible. We are organizing this action on September 18th because it is the anniversary of the take-over of Burma's military regime in 1988. At that time, Burma's regime was solely responsible for the atrocities it inflicted on its own people. Now, however, the responsibility has become China's as well. By blocking every single peaceful avenue toward change, the blood of Burma's regime is also on China's hands.

This is just the first step. There are going to be many more actions and ways for you to join in the campaign.

Please write to us at: if you can organize a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy or consulate in your city/country on September 18th. We will keep a list of all actions and help you with media attention for that day. It's just ludicrous that they've gotten away with their indefensible, unilateral position for so long and it's time to call them to account.

Support 1991 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi and the struggle for freedom and democracy in Burma.

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