… about Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s continued detention? It now appears that the operation she just underwent was not minor at all, but major gynaecological surgery. She should be released immediately. The international community, and the spineless ASEAN member states in particular, should put much more pressure on the Burmese generals to address the major human rights abuses in Burma.
These crimes were highlighted yesterday at an “ASEAN People's Assembly”:
After the May 30 attack on Mrs Suu Kyi and her followers that left scores dead, more than 250 people have been rounded up, bringing the total number of political prisoners to over 1,350 including 41 MPs elected in the overturned elections of 1990. Some two million people may be hiding along the border as internally displaced persons
The really interesting player is China, which has become an increasingly reluctant supporter of the junta. At the People’s Assembly, Debbie Stothard, coordinator of the Alternative Asean Network on Burma, said she was confident that Beijing eventually will let go of Rangoon.
During the 1990s when Burmese drug production rose, it was matched by a dramatic increase in heroin and ATS abuse in China. By 2002, it was estimated that China's HIV/Aids population was between 800,000 to 1.5 million, and projected to rise to 10 million by 2010.
I hope she's right, but I have my doubts. Burma may be a pretty iffy card in the geopolitical game of poker, but such concerns have never stopped the Americans from sponsoring unsavoury regimes. My guess is that, so long as the regime can prove it is in control of the country, it can count on Chinese support. Big powers seem to have almost unlimited tolerance of evil in strategically located countries, but don’t like to look stupid by backing a loser.
American support for the Marcos regime is a good example. While the dictator was imprisoning and assassinating his enemies, senior American figures such as father of the current half-witted president were quite happy to tell him "we love your adherence to democratic principles". However, as soon it looked as though the declining Marcos was going to leave the Americans with egg on their faces, he was advised by Senator Laxalt to “cut and cut clean”. Let’s hope someone in Beijing places a call like that to Rangoon very soon.