Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2786

Hpao Lan Hpar Got a Heart Attack

By Prof. Kanbawza Win

Phao Lan Phar is a Sino-Burmese word adapted into a Burmese vocabulary, in as much as the English copied from the French. The story goes that once upon a time when medicinal research were still young, a Chinese Emperor contracted hernia which in Burmese is called Moetta (rkwW)and his ball became so big that he found it difficult to walk and a man had to be hired to uplift the ball. For this was rewarded handsomely and was given a free hand the palace and could do anything he wishes. The Chinese name him Hpao Lan Hpar ??? (hold scrotum on the palm)

The international community and analysts are now saying Burma has eventually become an autonomous region of China except in name. The Burmese Generals are now acceding to every demand of the Chinese and the supreme General Than Shwe, knows that as long as China and Russia have access to its natural resources, they will always veto any resolution proposed at the UN Security Council, hence in the Burmese pro democracy circles, have christened Senior General Than Shwe as Phao Lan Phar
Very recently some 400 Chinese-made FAW (First Automobile Works) armed trucks and 21 artillery cannons will be delivered in seven large trucks to Burma via Ruili to Muse on the China-Burma border. This does not count then 1,500 armed trucks imported to Burma in 2006. China became Burma's leading trading partner in 2005, with trade heavily lopsided in China's favor, topping US $1.7 billion. China National Petroleum Corp, the biggest oil and gas producer in China, signed an agreement with the southwestern province of Yunnan to cooperate in oil refining, a step toward building a pipeline to neighboring Burma. Analysts estimate that the role of the Chinese government is significant in applying pressure on the Burmese military regime to initiate political dialogue toward democratic reform in Burma, as well as China not applying its veto on the Burma agenda at the UN Security Council.

On Nov.4th at the East Asian summit in Singapore, the Chinese Deputy foreign Minister He Ya Fei, said that China will not hesitate to use the veto against the UN sanctions of Burma and a former legal aide to vice Premier Wu Yi added that China will continue to strengthen the Junta, because democratic Burma is not beneficial to China The Junta depends heavily on China for economic support and political protection, for which Beijing is awarded with contracts to build roads, ports and pipelines, and access to the Indian Ocean. Being so heavily invested in the country, China could definitely use its clout to do more to influence the generals. However, China's policy of non-interference has conveniently allowed it access to the wealth of an authoritarian regime normally kept at arm's length by democratic nations. Besides, murmurings of democracy are hardly something Chinese leaders want to encourage, as that might set a precedent for change within China. But, of late, with so much of their money at stake, there seems to finally be the realization in Beijing that Burma might need some sort of internal reconciliation, lest it descends into anarchy. This would explain Premier Wen Jiabao's reported statement that "China hopes all relevant parties concerned in Myanmar show restraint, resume stability through peaceful means as soon as possible, promote domestic reconciliation and achieve democracy and development."

Hence, when the Chinese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister ask him speed up the reforms and that the UN representative Charles Petrie report was partly true he became so angry that he fainted. Although this new was kept “Hush Hush” was led out by the soldiers who were assigned to do the menial duty of Than Shwe and his family. According to Burmese Buddhist believe, retribution comes fast, the butcher of Depaeyin, Prime Minister Soe Win was already six feet under the ground and now it seems that the slayer of Buddhist monks will soon follow suit. If the UN, the West, the East (China, Japan and Russia) and ASEAN cannot solve the obstinate and wicked General, the Omnipotence can.

The Burmese generals have lifted some restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi due to UN's diplomacy and the international community's pressure despite the fact that the generals rejected a UN proposal for three-way talks including Aung San Suu Kyi, and expelled the main U.N. representative in the country for criticizing the government. The international community has been watching the Burmese situation with caution. The US has criticized the junta for not accepting democratic reforms yet. Skepticism is ubiquitous about the intentions of the military brass in Burma. The question is "Is General Than Shwe who headed the Department of Psychological Warfare sincere and straightforward this time?"

Hpaw Lan Hpar has been consulting a colonel from the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon on how to rebut international pressure and cheat the international community including the United Nations. The Chinese colonel, according to a Western source, is an expert on psychological warfare. At the same time the Military Affairs Security Forces under the order of the Military Affairs Security Agency, headed by Major General Ye Myint, have been tasked to hunt down and arrest the student activists and monks involved in the September Uprising. It has ordered the Burmese embassies abroad to continue collecting intelligence about the future plans and operations of dissident groups in foreign countries.

The streets are quiet in Burma, as the international outcry has faded. The Junta’s grip on power seems firm. It seems they have ridden out their most difficult challenge in two decades and are set to maintain control through force and fear, offering only small concessions to the demands of their critics abroad. Diplomats and human rights groups say that an unknown number of protesters and monks remain in prison today, many monasteries are closed and new arrests are reported almost every day.

China, India and Burma’s Southeast Asian neighbors have brushed aside the Washington’s calls for an economic embargo and the diplomatic isolation of the Junta. As the attention of the world shifts elsewhere, the generals have made it clear that they intend to follow their own course, as they have through a half-century of self-imposed isolation. As it has in the past when it has faced international pressure, the Junta has offered small gestures of compliance. But analysts say that whatever happens, the generals are not about to give real ground to the demands of the United Nations. It seems that the Generals hold the upper hand in their dealings with the outside world. What more, no Chinese publications have explored the intricacies of China’s deepening interest in Burma. On September 27th a day after the Burmese army fired point bank range on the peaceful monks both “The Oriental Morning Post” in Shanghai and “The Youth Daily” in Beijing ran an article from Xinhua, the official news agency that ”the Burmese government has been restrained in handling the monks’ protest and didn’t use force to dispel protesters.”

China have the responsibility to take action to help hold the generals accountable and to end this long nightmare of military repression. With this in mind, the world in General and China in particular, should focus on applying more pressure on Burma's economy. Such platitudes are a start, but they are hardly going to be enough to force dramatic changes. Beijing needs to be much more pro-active in persuading the generals to enter into dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, because this is the obvious first step to ending Myanmar's long period of misery and if any senior Chinese delegations were to come to Rangoon and have a tripartite talk with Than Shwe and Daw Suu Kyi, we are quite positive that it would end the Burmese crisis once and for all. For there would either be a serious discussion or the Hpaw Lan Hpar would not last the second heart attack and a more reasonable General would take its place leading to national reconciliation.

- ASian Tribune -

Share this