Monday, October 22, 2007

08/08/08: Celebrating the Chinese Olympics or Commemorating a Burmese Massacre?

August 08, 2008 will not only be the opening date of Beijing Olympic, but will also mark the 20Th anniversary of Pro-Democracy protest in Burma on 1988. The Chinese government stated that date 08.08.08 was chosen for a symbolic reason but the recent events in Burma and the China ties with the military government would emphasis more global attention on the suffering of Burmese people. “If China takes a strong stand on Burma now, it will be credited rather than criticized on 08-08-08,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia Advocacy of Human Rights Watch following a letter to President Hu Jintao on 17.10.2007. “Doing so isn’t just right; it’s also in China’s self-interest.”

China is one of Burma's largest investors and suppliers of weaponry. Being so, the Chinese government should immediately take concrete steps to help end state repression in Burma stated Richardson. The letter basically urges Hu Jintao to take the eight steps to end the repression in Burma currently:

  • Immediately place an embargo on all weapons transfers from China to Burma and suspend all military training, transport, assistance, and cooperation.
  • Support or abstain from vetoing UN Security Council resolutions calling for sanctions or other collective action to address the crisis in Burma.
  • In the absence of Security Council-imposed sanctions, China (along with other countries) should act to impose targeted sanctions to encourage the steps outlined above.
  • Uphold the 1951 Refugee Convention and customary international law and allow anyone fleeing persecution in Burma to cross the border into China.
  • Suspend involvement by state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation and Sinopec, both official Olympic partners, in proposed Burma-China oil and natural gas pipelines until the conditions specified above in relation to multilateral sanctions are met.
  • Instruct Chinese firms, including stated-owned firms, with business ties to Burma to publicly and fully disclose all payments made to the Burmese military, directly or through the entities it controls.
  • Continue to urge the Burmese military government to engage in dialogue with its critics, and end its repression of them. The Seven Step Road Map to Democracy, which is merely a cover for continued military rule, must be scrapped and replaced with a plan that has the genuine support of Burma’s political parties and ethnic groups.
  • Urge the Burmese government to reconvene a truly representative and participatory national convention that operates through an open and transparent consultative process that could lead to a new constitutional settlement that genuinely reflects the views of all parties and leads to the creation of a civilian government.
Olympic 2008 is the stage where global attention is turning towards China and the stand that China will took to mitigate the suffering and pain of Burmese people for their right of democracy. I hope the Chinese government wouldn't really wants the world to recall on the 08.08.08 at the launching of their Olympic Games, the massacre of more than 3000 peoples being slaughtered and killed on August 1988 on the Pro-Democracy protest held in Burma.

Let's hope for the best now for Burma!

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