chapter  30
17 Pages

Gustaaf Houtman Remaking Myanmar and Human Origins

The regime systematically intimidates what it considers ‘the opposition’ with house arrest and imprisonment. It has closed down for the best part of the last decade the entire educational system, including for a time even primary schools, for fear of protests. Forced labour is used on a large scale. The outflow of Burmese citizens has caused a severe refugee problem with its neighbours. In short, the regime’s international reputation sank so deep that its infamy eventually triggered the European and American economic and political boycotts around 1995. The 1997-98 Asian financial crisis scared many of its Asian backers. Though it was drawn within the orbit of ASEAN in 1997, the Indonesian democratic elections have deprived it of its greatest supporter within ASEAN. Furthermore, the Nigerian democratic elections deprived it of one of its principal role models. Thailand is reevaluating its attitude to the regime of avoiding direct criticism. The regime retains a powerful ally in China, but internationally Burma is today regarded as a pariah regime comparable with Iraq.