（ 2007 年 9 月 29 日 紐約）
Behind Myanmar's Military Junta
By Jin Zhong
The "Saffron Revolution" in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma ) rapidly became the focus of the international news media. How could a basic livelihood issue such as gas prices result in a demonstration by more than one hundred thousand people, and ultimately a bloody conflict? In fact, the causes of the antagonism are deep-seated.
In the early postwar period, Burma gained its independence and began to practice democracy. But in 1962, the Burmese government under U Nu was overturned by General Ne Win in a coup d'etat, after which Ne Win established a military dictatorship. In the summer of 1988, massive demonstrations broke out against the Ne Win government, but were ultimately suppressed by the army. Three thousand demonstrators were killed. The next year, Ne Win retired and disappeared from the politic stage. The new ruler, Saw Maung, was also a military dictator, and continued ruling under a single-party dictatorship. In 1992, Saw Maung was succeeded by General Than Shwe, but the change in leadership brought no change to state power, which remained in the hands of the military dictatorship. In a multi-party general election in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi of the Democratic Union emerged the winner, but the result of this election was nullified by the military junta, which placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. Although released temporarily three times, Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest to the present day.
The military junta has proven itself corrupt and lawless, and the economy of Burma , now called Myanmar , has deteriorated, bringing public discontent to a boil. The violent suppression of the most recent protests, led by Buddhist monks, indicates that the antagonism between the government and the people has reached an extreme.
While focusing on the situation in Myanmar , we cannot lose sight of the relations between Myanmar and China . When U.S. President George W. Bush proposed that the United Nations issue sanctions against the Myanmar government, China 's Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately stated, "We will not interfere Burma 's internal affairs," and "We hope both sides will show restraint to maintain social stability." By that point, China had already vetoed a UN Security Council vote on imposing sanctions on the Myanmar government. None of these actions by China should come as a surprise. Early in the Mao era, Communist China maintained close relations with the Ne Win government, and in the late 1980s, the Burmese and Chinese governments both raised international outrage with their violent suppression of democratic movements. Now we see the international press frequently mentioning China as a back-stage supporter, ally and protector of Myanmar 's military junta.
In fact, China 's Communist Party has played a consistently disreputable and shameless role in the modern history of Asia . At one point, Mao attempted to export his revolutionary theories to other Asian countries, but ultimately failed and earned himself a dismal reputation in the countries of the southeast. The notorious killing fields of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge had the CCP behind them, and North Korea 's cruel dictatorial Kim regime has also enjoyed consistent CCP support. To this day, the Hu Jintao government maintains the official Chinese policy of supporting North Korea . Now Beijing has received appeals from all sides to exert its influence on the Myanmar government, and under international pressure Beijing has made some superficial moves in this direction. Ultimately, however, Myanmar 's military junta and the Chinese government are birds of a feather, so what hope is there that the Chinese government will really restrain its brother regime? To the dictators of Myanmar , the CCP is an example to emulate. Following the suppression of 1989 democratic movement, Beijing is even more stable and prosperous than before. With this kind of precedent for the suppression of democracy, the dictators of Myanmar have no need to fear for their future.
Myanmar 's pro-democracy demonstrations should provoke China 's people to reflect on their own democratic rights. Although Myanmar is another country, its rulers, like China 's, rule under a single-party dictatorship that suppresses democracy and rides roughshod over the people. The only difference is the Chinese people's lack of a unifying religious belief and a democratic leader such as Aung San Suu Kyi. Some people have hoped that the Communist Party might reform China 's political system from within, but up to now there has been no such response from China 's leaders.
With the 17th Party Congress about to begin, we see a struggle for power and the official press eulogizing the Party's virtues and achievements, but no indication of politic reform. Clearly, the struggle for democracy must be fought mainly outside the government. It is equally clear that this struggle will not be abandoned, no matter how ruthlessly it is suppressed.
September 29, 2007 , in New York