Page 1       TOP OF DOC
52–335 CC










SEPTEMBER 28, 1998
 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
JAY KIM, California
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
PAT DANNER, Missouri
BRAD SHERMAN, California
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
JIM DAVIS, Florida
LOIS CAPPS, California
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
TOM LANTOS, California
GROVER JOSEPH REES, Subcommittee Staff Director and Chief Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Professional Staff Member
 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska, Chairman
JAY KIM, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
LOIS CAPPS, California
MIKE ENNIS, Subcommittee Staff Director
RICHARD KESSLER, Democratic Professional Staff Member
DAN MARTZ, Counsel
ALICIA O'DONNELL, Staff Associate

 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Mr. Gare Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Department of State
    Mr. Ralph Boyce, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Department of State
    Mr. Bo Hla-Tint, Minister, North and South America Affairs, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
    Ms. Maureen Aung-Thwin, Director, Burma Project, Open Society Institute
    Ms. Michele Keegan, Member, Free Burma Coalition and Student, American University (detained, tried, convicted, and expelled from Burma, August 1998)
    Mr. Thomas Vallely, Research Associate, Harvard Institute for International Development
    Ms. Mary Pack, Director, Burma Project, Refugees International
Prepared statements:
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey and Chairman, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
Hon. Doug Bereuter, a Representative in Congress from Nebraska and Chairman, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
Mr. Gare Smith
Mr. Ralph Boyce
Mr. Bo Hla-Tint
 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Ms. Maureen Aung-Thwin
Ms. Michele Keegan
Mr. Thomas Vallely
Ms. Mary Pack
Additional material submitted for the record:
UNOCAL Corporation statement for the record, September 28, 1998
Questions for the record submitted to Mr. Gare Smith

House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights,
Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,
Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
    The subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m. in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher Smith (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. The Subcommittee hearing will come to order. Good morning. Today the Subcommittee will hear testimony on the state of human rights in Burma and on what the United States and the rest of the free world can do about it.
    I want to thank my colleague, Chairman Doug Bereuter of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific for agreeing to cosponsor this important hearing. This is a very important hearing and very timely time. The military junta that rules Burma, which used to call itself the SLORC, or State Law and Order Restoration Council, but recently began calling itself the SPDC, is just over 10 years old. It seized absolute power on September 18, 1988, in the wake of pro-democracy demonstrations which began on August 8 of that year. The Burmese military command reacted to the August 8 movement by killing thousands of peaceful demonstrators. It then scheduled a national election for 1990, apparently on the assumption that the opposition vote would be divided among various democratic and ethnic parties, allowing the pro-SLORC to win. Instead, the SLORC party won only 10 of the 485 seats. Over 80 percent of the seats were won by the National League for Democracy, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. So the SLORC simply ignored the election results. The Parliament elected in 1990 has never been allowed to meet. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest for 6 years, and many of the NLD parliamentarians were imprisoned or forced into exile.
 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As the 10th anniversary of the 1988 demonstrations approached, Aung San Suu Kyi announced that the people of Burma had waited long enough for their elected representatives to meet. She suggested that the de facto government should convene the Parliament by August 21. And she defied government roadblocks in repeated attempts to meet with her supporters outside Rangoon. On August 8, 1998, the 10th anniversary of the day the demonstrations began, 18 democracy activists from other countries—six from the United States, and others from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia—began distributing pro-democracy literature on the streets of Rangoon. The following day they were arrested. After 5 days of detention, they were tried and convicted of sedition and sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment. The day after the trial, in response to international pressure, the government expelled them from the country.
    I was privileged to meet these 18 courageous young people at the Bangkok Airport on the morning of their release. I had traveled to Bangkok in an effort to help negotiate their release. Although the SLORC repeatedly refused my application for a visa to enter Burma, I was in constant contact with the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, which did a great job there, along with family members of the detainees, and others involved in an effort to win their freedom. Together we managed to convey to the SLORC that the whole world, including the U.S. Congress and the American people, was watching and would hold them accountable. I am happy to say that one of the 18 democracy activists, Michele Keegan, will testify here today.
    Unfortunately, the 18 were not the only political prisoners in Burma, and the stories of thousands of others have not yet had a happy ending. Year after year, the rule of the SLORC has been distinguished by the mass imprisonment, torture, and sometimes murder of those perceived as a threat to the government. The government persecutes not only political expression, but also religious belief and practice. Members of the ethnic minority groups who are Christian, Muslim or Hindu have been killed by the thousands, forcibly relocated, conscripted as forced laborers, and sometimes forced to watch the desecration of religious objects or places of worship. At the same time, the SLORC has also subjected monks of the dominant Buddhist faith to harassment and repression. The government also protects and cooperates with the export of heroin. Burma is the world's principal source of heroin, providing about half of the world's supply, and they also export women and girls who are forced into prostitution in other countries.
 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Soon after the conviction and expulsion of the 18 democracy activists, in an apparent attempt to forestall a meeting of the elected Parliament, the de facto government arrested over 900 supporters of the NLD, including 200 of those who had been elected to Parliament. Nevertheless, Aung San Suu Kyi convened a committee of 10 parliamentarians who held proxies from 251 of the 459 surviving elected members, authorizing them to act on an interim basis for the whole Parliament. The Committee declared all laws adopted by the SLORC during its 10-year rule to be null and void. Leaders of minority ethnic groups, including some who had signed cease-fires with the SLORC, have endorsed the Committee.
    So we meet at a moment of crisis for the people of Burma, a moment of decision for the United States and others who wish to do whatever we can to promote human rights and democracy. Burma is one of the very few countries against which the United States has imposed serious economic and political sanctions. The United States has urged other nations and multilateral institutions to adopt similar policies, and we have had some success in persuading them to do so. According to the NLD and other Burma human rights activists, the sanctions are working, but they would work better if we would close some of the loopholes, such as the U.N. Development Program projects, which advocates say are carried out in close cooperation with the SLORC military and political strategists, and a $1.2 billion oil pipeline in which a U.S. oil company, UNOCAL, is a principal participant. UNOCAL and UNDP, on the other hand, insist that their projects improve the lives of the local people and are of no particular help to the SLORC. We also hear that we are more likely to promote human rights in Burma if we constructively engage the SLORC than if we isolate them.
    I hope each of our witnesses today will address these questions: Are the sanctions working? Would they work better if we broadened them to include preexisting investment and to condition U.S. contributions to UNDP and other international organizations on noncooperation with the SLORC? Or would the SLORC really respond to constructive engagement? Finally, what else should the U.S. Government do to promote freedom and democracy sooner rather than later for the people of Burma?
 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Smith appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I would like to yield to the distinguished chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Doug Bereuter.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Chairman Smith. I would like to welcome the Administration witnesses. I believe in the case of Deputy Assistant Secretary Boyce, it is his first testimony before the Asian Pacific Subcommittee, perhaps before the House of Representatives. I welcome both of you and the second panel as well.
    Chairman Smith, I appreciate your suggesting that we have a joint hearing on this subject. I anticipated that we would have a hearing on the topic before the end of the year, and this is a good opportunity to exercise our joint oversight responsibilities over the situation in Burma and especially the human rights conditions.
    Ten years ago this month, in 1988, the Burmese military crushed a popular uprising against military rule, killing thousands of people in the process. Two years later, in 1990, the military again acted in defiance of public opinion by refusing to honor the results of an election. In that election, the National League for Democracy, NLD, headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, won an overwhelming victory, taking more than 80 percent of the seats in what was to have been a 459-seat Parliament.
    Little has changed in the intervening years. As we all know, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose courageous pursuit of non-violent political change has earned her respect around the world and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, was nominally freed from house arrest several years ago. In practice, however, the military regime, which recently renamed itself the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), has continued to restrict her freedom.
    The most recent demonstration came during the summer when the regime set up two roadblocks to prevent her from visiting elected NLD members of Parliament in the town of Bassein. Since May, by NLD estimates, the government has detained some 843 party members and officials, including 195 elected members of the Parliament. More than 300 of those arrests, which the SPDC grotesquely refers to as invitations to come in and hear the regime's views, have occurred in the past weeks.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    This month has also seen the largest student protest in 2 years, a period during which the regime has kept universities closed for fear of just this kind of expression of antimilitary sentiment.
    Also in September, Buddhist monks calling for the 1990 Parliament to be convened have been arrested in Mandalay. Attacks on religious leaders and the denial of education to Burma's next generations are indications of how far the military regime is prepared to go to preserve its grip on power. The International Labor Organization (ILO), also recently concluded a 1-year study in which it documented that the SPDC and the Burmese military engaged in forced labor on a massive scale. This includes forced portage, entailing exposure to land mines and weapons fire in Burma's long-standing conflicts with armed military and minority groups along its border.
    Despite Burma's 1997 admission to ASEAN, the Burmese military continues to show little compunction about crossing its neighbors' borders, either directly or by means of surrogates, to launch indiscriminate attacks on regime opponents and refugees from its misrule.
    Meanwhile, the Burmese economy is declining rapidly, reflecting a combination of the regime's economic incompetence, regional financial turmoil, and, we hope, the effectiveness of U.S. and other sanctions.
    We continue to be disappointed by the unwillingness of some of our friends in the region, particularly Japan and Burma's fellow ASEAN States, to recognize the long-term unsustainability of military control of Burma and to join us in pushing hard for transition to democratic rule.
    In the face of this continued repression, Aung San Suu Kyi and nine other pro-democracy politicians announced on September 17 the establishment of a committee to represent elected lawmakers and to act on behalf of the never-seated Parliament. The Committee plans to perform parliamentary functions until the 1990 Parliament is convened and has declared all laws imposed by the military regime since the 1990 election to be invalid. Its first resolution was to call for the release of all political prisoners.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I look forward to hearing from our distinguished panels, specifically how they believe the SPDC will respond to the direct challenge of its control.
    Today's hearing also gives us an opportunity to re-examine the effectiveness of U.S. policy toward Burma. At the present time, congressionally mandated trade sanctions have been in place since 1996. I will admit freely that I am not an admirer of unilateral sanctions for I believe that they seldom achieve the desired effects. Quite often, they are counterprotective and end up hurting only American exporters. However, the Burma sanctions became the law of the land, and the Administration, having signed that sanction policy in law and not opposing it before the Congress, was and is obligated to abide by the law.
    When the Burmese began a crackdown in the fall of 1996, the Clinton Administration had no option but to invoke sanctions. When it hesitated to do so, it was showing disdain for the law. It took no small effort by myself, aided by former Assistant Secretary of State Win Lord, to get the Administration to abide by the law. Now that the law has been honored, the question remains: Are sanctions an effective policy? I am interested in how our witnesses today will answer that question.
    Chairman Smith, I commend you for your serious and long-standing interest in human rights conditions in Burma. I am pleased that we were able to schedule this joint hearing.
    I know my distinguished colleague from California, the Ranking Member of the Asian Pacific Subcommittee, would like to be here. He is returning from California. With his other responsibilities on the House Judiciary Committee, he is stretched thin, but we have had several sustaining conversations on the problems in Burma. It is also the concern of most of our Members who otherwise would have been here today if it wasn't for the unusual House schedule.
    I would be pleased to yield back any time.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you very much, Chairman Bereuter.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Bereuter appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I would like to yield to Mr. Rohrabacher, the chairman from California.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you.
    Last April I visited Rangoon and had a chance to visit with Aung San Suu Kyi. After I returned, the State-controlled press called me a barking dog off its leash, so I don't know if I should ''woof woof'' today or should I growl or bark or what, but the fact is that when a dictatorship calls you names, it is a badge of honor, and I am very happy to be here today to speak up on behalf of the people of Burma who are struggling for their freedom.
    During that visit I had a chance to see Aung San Suu Kyi, and she asked me to relate to my colleagues the struggle that is going on for freedom in that country, and that we should not forget them, and I have done my best to convey that message.
    I also witnessed the by-products of 8 years of repression in Burma while I was there. We were there during a holiday season, and it was a festival. After seeing Aung San Suu Kyi, we went out into Rangoon, and there were thousands of people in the streets. And what was fascinating, I had just come that day from Thailand, and the people of Burma are noticeably skinnier. They are noticeably less nourished than the people I had just left a few hours earlier, just a short flight away in Bangkok. In fact, the only food that I—here they were in the middle of the festival, and the only food that I saw them eating were these big sacks of grasshoppers. That may be a delicacy, I don't know if it is or not, but you would think that there would be other food there as well as grasshoppers. And after 8 years what we have had after a dictatorial regime's control of that country is a country that used to be very wealthy and really a country that people were very proud of and fed well, and now the people even during the holidays are relegated to eating fried grasshoppers.
    And you mentioned that the country is producing heroin. It is not producing much else than heroin. And what we have seen is this gang that runs the country has been able by their repression to do what dictators do. They rule countries with an iron fist, but they cannot produce food or things that make people's lives better. Now the Rice Bowl of Burma cannot provide enough food for itself or anything else of value except for letting foreigners come into their country and loot their natural resources.
 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The people are focusing, I know, on the oil pipeline and the gas pipeline. I would like to say that I don't believe that pipeline has not supported the SLORC yet because resources are not flowing into the coffers of the SLORC yet on that. But while people have been focused on that gas pipeline, and let's hope that there is democracy by the time that pipeline is finished, the SLORC has been selling off their teak trees and their gems and all of their other natural sources to people from Communist China who are coming down and basically taking possession, making Burma a vassal State.
    Last weekend Aung San Suu Kyi's political party, NLD, observed this 10th anniversary that Congressman Bereuter was referring to, and let us also remember that in 1990 NLD won 80 percent of the vote. Well, in recent weeks, these massive arrests that are going on there remind us that time has passed, but we cannot forget Burma, and just a message that I am very pleased and I thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Bereuter, for being here personally today and demonstrating to the SLORC that we are not forgetting those people who languish in jail and under the control of this repressive SLORC regime, and they can call themselves whatever they want. They can try to change the name of Burma to Myanmar, and they can change their name to the Garden Society, the People Who Love Flowers Society, it wouldn't make it any different. They are SLORC. They are a brutal, repressive regime that is selling out their people.
    The International Labor Organization has issued a report, a devastating report, which is talking about the forced labor going on on a massive scale in Burma. And let me say that I believe Aung San Suu Kyi is a tremendously courageous person. She is indeed a hero of our time, and the fact that she is a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is fitting, and let us not ignore the heroes of our time. Let us as Americans read in history books and know what side America was on when this Joan of Arc of Burma was there.
    One last thought. In the midst of this repression, and I know the United States—I would have preferred the United States have a stronger, much stronger, stand. I believe that is true generally with foreign policy, but the people of Burma themselves have been passive in the light of this repression, and I am interested in talking to the witnesses today about that. They are a peace-loving people, and perhaps it is their Buddhist background that makes them more pacifistic.
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    People on the outside are not going to free Burma. It is the people of Burma that are going to have to free Burma. Let them know that we are on their side, but we send them the message, they must act. And now that Aung San Suu Kyi has decided to act and call her Parliament, let us speak with one voice in Congress that we support parliamentary democracy in Burma and applaud Aung San Suu Kyi and her courage in having this meeting, and we are behind them, and the SLORC should understand they will not get away with the repressions that they are heaping on these people. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you. It was your obtaining a visa to Bangkok that gave us the inspiration to try that route, and we were advised that was the only way——
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I think they made a mistake when they let me in. They thought that they were letting a dog into the country.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. When you mentioned the Garden State, New Jersey is the Garden State, but they have something very much different in mind. They like poppies of the opium variety.
    Let me introduce our very distinguished panel. On our first panel, Mr. Gare Smith is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Labor and External Affairs in the State Department's Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Before joining the State Department, Mr. Smith served as national security advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and as an attorney in private practice and as special counsel to the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Asian Affairs.
    Mr. Ralph Boyce is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs. During his previous years in the Foreign Service, Mr. Boyce has served the United States in Thailand, Singapore, Pakistan and Iran.
    Mr. Smith.
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. SMITH. Thank you. Chairman Smith, Chairman Bereuter, Congressman Rohrabacher, thank you for providing me with the opportunity to be here today. It is an honor to congratulate the people of Burma on their ongoing struggle for democracy and to report to you the work the State Department is taking to support them.
    Each of you, as your testimonies have made clear, have a long history of supporting the people of Burma. I think the very fact that you are holding a hearing right now, at the end of the session, underscores how importantly you take the issue.
    This is my first time to testify before the HIRC, and it gives me a lot of pleasure to be here. I think it is a testament to the bipartisan reaction to events in Burma that I probably could take my testimony right here and, to a large extent swap it with any of yours. And I think that is important that the people who are here and who are listening and the people who will send the press reports covering the hearing, understand that these are Republicans, Democrats, and folks on the Hill and in the Administration, and all feel the same way about supporting democracy in Burma.
    With your permission, in the interest of time, I will offer a condensed version of my remarks now and submit to the record my full statement.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Without objection, so ordered.
    Mr. SMITH. In a word, the situation in Burma today is grim. Forced labor, drug cultivation and trafficking, the trafficking of women and children, economic stagnation, a declining education system and a burgeoning AIDS crisis threaten economic and social collapse.
 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The oppressive, authoritarian military government continues to deny that the democratic elections held in 1990 resulted in an overwhelming victory for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. Democratic leaders are viewed as criminals and detained, while drug traffickers are treated as honored citizens and pillars of society.
    Barring a peaceful, democratic transition and national reconciliation, Burma will not address adequately the severe problems it faces. This year the military regime actually stepped up its oppression of democratic forces. In May when the NLD called on the government to convene Parliament, the regime instead detained over 100 democratically elected leaders. That figure is out of date today. Now the military has over 200 democratic leaders in custody as well as over 700 other leading pro-democracy figures.
    The NLD has responded with the formation of a Committee Representing the People's Parliament, which includes representation from ethnic minority groups. The committee demonstrates the determination of the democratic forces that peacefully defend their rights.
    Two weeks ago, the committee asserted the right of Parliament to fulfill its mandate and pledged that the Parliament elected in 1990 would last until a constitution based on democratic laws was accepted by a majority of the people. The Committee also rejected the validity of all orders and laws issued by the regime until they are endorsed by the Parliament. At the same time it recognized that a country needs a military for defense, and emphasized that the mutual relationship of trust and respect should exist between the people and the military.
    Genuine dialog between the Committee and the military regime would be a very important first step toward ending Burma's crisis.
    The United States seeks a political and peaceful resolution to the crisis in Burma. The goals of U.S. policy are: one, progress toward democracy; two, improved respect for human rights; and three, more effective counternarcotics efforts.
    The United States encourages substantive dialog between the SPDC, NLD and minority groups. We maintain very close contacts with the democratic leadership, and we encourage other countries to join us in pressing the regime to enter into a dialog with them.
 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Secretary Albright is personally engaged in this effort. In 1995, when she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, she made a trip to Burma, and ever since that time she has had a very special spot in her heart for Aung San Suu Kyi and strongly supported the democratic aspirations of the people of Burma. This past August she organized a meeting of foreign ministers to press the SPDC to accept a dialog, and just last week she pressed the issue again with her counterparts at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
    We have taken a number of tough steps in partnership with the Congress. We suspended economic aid to Burma, withdrew GSP and OPIC, downgraded our representation from ambassador to chargé d'affaires, imposed visa restrictions on senior regime leaders and their families, imposed an arms embargo and implemented a ban on new U.S. investment. We have also encouraged ASEAN, the EU and other nations to take similar steps. Moreover, we have persuaded international financial institutions not to make loans to the regime. Since 1988, we have pressed for strong humans rights resolutions in the U.N. General Assembly and in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. We have also worked with the International Labor Organization to condemn the use of forced labor in Burma.
    I would note that during the last 3 years, I have had the honor of representing the United States at the U.N. Human Rights Commission and the ILO, and our work on Burma has been right at the top of our list every year.
    We encourage other governments to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders so they can see that the democratic leadership is flexible, realistic and committed to finding a resolution to the impasse. In our effort to facilitate these contacts, our embassy in Rangoon just recently provided a venue for Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders to brief the diplomatic communities.
    Since 1996, we have used foreign assistance funds to support the Burmese democracy movement. Our main partner in this effort has been the National Endowment for Democracy. Over the past 3 years, we have granted NED over $3 million to conduct a variety of activities. Among other programs, NED funding makes possible the Democratic Voice of Radio Burma, which makes daily broadcasts from Germany and Norway; The New Era Journal, which is a key pro-democracy newspaper which is published in Bangkok and transported into Burma; and the Free Trade Union of Burma. NED funding allows the International Republican Institute to support NLD's organizational efforts.
 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I would like to pause here and emphasize something that Congressman Rohrabacher touched on earlier, and that is that the role of the international community and the United States here is to support the Burmese people, not to impose a solution on them.
    The Burmese people through their own efforts and vote in the 1990 elections have demonstrated their desire to have a democratically elected civilian government. It is important to note that this is their choice, not ours. Our efforts are simply to ensure that their voices are heard. To that effect, the United States remains committed to pressuring the military regime to permit the Burmese people to have the government they have chosen. Burma's military leaders have to realize that it is past time for them to enter into a dialog with the democratic leadership.
    Without internal support, the regime cannot resolve the terrible problems facing Burma. The military can, however, retain an honorable role if it facilitates the transfer of power to civilian hands and resumes its appropriate place as a defender of the country's security.
    The international community can play a very important role in this process. On September 17, Aung San Suu Kyi appealed to the entire international community to recognize the Committee Representing the People's Parliament and to support its efforts. We applaud this appeal and hope that it will be heard and acted upon.
    Burma can resolve this crisis and rebuild the country under a democratically elected leadership. In the words of Aung San Suu Kyi, ''the people's movement for democracy will succeed...Contrary to the predictions of those who are totally out of touch with the mood of Burma today, I believe that not only will the people achieve democracy, but once it is achieved, they will be able to make it work for the greater good of the nation.''
    Chairman Smith, Chairman Bereuter and Congressman Rohrabacher, I think we all share her faith and will work to make her hopes a reality for the Burmese people.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Gare Smith appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you for that excellent statement and for underscoring the fact that this is bipartisan. We don't want anyone in Rangoon to get the mistaken impression, although there may be policy differences and bickering going on on Capitol Hill relative to certain things, when it comes to Aung San Suu Kyi and democracy in Burma, the left, the right, the middle, Democrats, Republicans, and our one Independent member are all singing from the same song sheet. We truly are united on this.
    Mr. Boyce.


    Mr. BOYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Smith, Congressman Bereuter, Congressman Rohrabacher, thank you for having me here today. It is, in fact, a great personal honor for me to appear before the Committee and share notes on a situation that my colleague described as grim. I had jotted down the word ''dismal.'' It has been a very bad year.
    I think that the regime is risking throwing away a historic opportunity to engage the NLD in a dialog. Their response to the NLD call to convene the elected Parliament was to round up 200 MPs and imprison 800 others. It is telling to note that the first round of detentions were justified under something they called the ''Habitual Offenders'' Act. It is a great use of language. Habitual offenders, elected MPs.
    Everyone remembers Aung San Suu Kyi's courageous efforts to visit some of these detained MPs, sitting on the bridge, refusing to turn back, in fact having the regime being reduced to physically picking the car up and turning it around.
 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. Chairman, you referred to the formation of the Committee to represent the People's Parliament just a little over a week ago. They are issuing a number of documents, one of which declared null and void the laws passed by the SLORC over the past 8 or 9 years. We see this not so much as confrontational as yet another invitation to dialog because that is, in fact, what the NLD is seeking. They are not seeking confrontation, they are seeking just to talk, and that is what the U.S. policy, under the personal leadership of Secretary Albright, has been consistently, to press for dialog and to support the NLD.
    Our policy is clear. We are pro-democracy. We are pro-human rights. We are out in front of the rest of the world on the sanctions issue. We are trying to get other countries and institutions to see our way. We have been pressing the Japanese. We had been pressing the Australians on the issue of Burma sanctions; however, Burma sanctions became a partisan issue in their ongoing election campaign, so we have temporarily ceased pressing the government.
    We have sought and obtained some results from the EU. Our efforts to get individual countries to consider the merit of keeping the pressure on the SPDC continue, and there is no doubt that sanctions are hurting Burma.
    When you combine the effect of sanctions with the cutoffs that have resulted from the Asian financial crisis and the effect of that on investment, there is clearly a great deal of pressure on the regime. It is also clear that Aung San Suu Kyi senses this, and this presumably underscores and underlies her effort to engage the regime with the formation of the Committee. Secretary Albright, for her part, as Mr. Smith indicated a few minutes ago, remains intensely and personally involved in this issue. When she was in Manila for the ASEAN postministerial meetings, and most recently when she was up in New York at the U.N. General Assembly, she has been instrumental in organizing meetings of like-minded countries to try to press our agenda forward.
    At Manila she and her counterpart from New Zealand basically—not to put too fine a point on it—read the riot act to the Burmese Foreign Minister.
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I also want to add a point or two on the role of our Embassy in Rangoon, and in particular Chargé Kent Wiedemann. Chargé Wiedemann is Aung San Suu Kyi's primary Western interlocutor, and they see each other constantly. Our Embassy may be accredited to the regime in Burma, but, in fact, the interaction is primarily with the NLD and with Aung San Suu Kyi. And for its part, the SPDC, I am sure, on their enemies list have Kent Wiedemann right up near the top. He is one of the more active in protesting the detentions. He organized a joint diplomatic demarche when Aung San Suu Kyi was being denied freedom of movement, and he organized, against the regime's wishes, a briefing at his residence for Aung San Suu Kyi to bring the NLD approach clearly to the international audience (which is, again, flexibility and dialog). There can be no misunderstanding. They had an opportunity to hear it directly from her, and the fact that he organized it at his residence was the reason that the regime subsequently delivered a very strong criticism to him.
    So in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we will continue to press the regime. We will continue to urge our friends and allies to do the same. And as mentioned, on the bipartisan nature of this issue, we will continue to consult closely and look for whatever advice we can get from the Committee and both subcommittees which have been so actively involved in pressing this agenda forward. Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Boyce appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. BEREUTER. I want to thank both of our distinguished witnesses for your testimony. We appreciate it.
    Secretary Boyce, we are very familiar with Kent Wiedemann. He appeared before the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee many times, and we have bipartisan support and high expectations about his possibilities to achieve what he possibly can under that difficult situation.
    I wonder, if you, in particular, Secretary Boyce, would try to characterize, at least briefly for this committee, what the ASEAN position is with respect to Burma. They have not been supportive in many of the sanctions that we have supported. What is it that they officially say when we urge them to take a more active role with respect to Burma?
 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BOYCE. We have for some time now sought to convince the ASEANs of the merit of our approach. Our objectives are the same. The ASEANs are quick to point this out. The path by which we achieve those objectives is where we differ.
    In our conversations with them, often the theme that comes out is that our approach, which is quite a bit more confrontational, and their approach, which has been in the past described as constructive engagement, are mutually supportive, and this is the line that the ASEANs have clung to up until quite recently.
    However, as you know, there have been some discussions publicly that have come out of some of the ASEAN capitals about the possible need to rethink the more passive constructive engagement approach and consider other approaches. I think it is no secret that the leaders in this effort to reconsider ASEAN policy have been the Philippines and Thailand. There was quite a bit of debate prior to the ASEAN meetings in Manila this year, and ultimately ASEAN chose not to publicly change their policy; and indeed there was some wordsmithing that basically left the impression that the Thai initiative had been shot down. I wouldn't characterize it as having been shot down. I think it is a first step in what will presumably be an ASEAN consideration of this approach.
    After all, what the Thai were really saying was not that unusual: when things happen in an ASEAN member country because of policies of the government in charge that affect other ASEAN members through various transnational phenomena, be it narcotics or AIDS or pollution or environment, et cetera, then they simply were saying perhaps we ought to put these issues on the agenda for ASEAN discussions.
    That didn't happen this summer, but I think that the debate is on, and I look forward to seeing that sort of a move in their policy.
    Mr. BEREUTER. I do, too. I hope that happens.
    Secretary Smith, what can you say about progress or lack of progress with respect to giving UNHRC access to displaced persons within Burma?
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH. It has been difficult. As you know, since 1991 the U.N. Human Rights Commission has adopted resolutions condemning human rights atrocities in Burma. A special rapporteur was created a couple of years ago, and the special rapporteur was denied access to Burma. To the best of my knowledge, he continues to be denied access.
    Since you touch on the United Nations, I think it plans a very important role through the ILO, the UNGA, and the U.N. Human Rights Commission. I think we need to continue to support the special rapporteur, and I think the United Nations can also be important in helping the people of Burma by bringing international pressure to bear, now that we have this new committee on the military junta to enter into a substantive dialog.
    Another step that the United Nations can take is to send someone to the region to work with the regional countries to try to develop the strongest multilateral approach possible to encourage the regime to change its behavior.
    Mr. BEREUTER. I have two final questions for both or either of these gentlemen.
    Looking back at 1998, what thought has been given and about the actions that the international community should have taken when the overwhelming election of NLD was overturned in effect?
    The second question would relate to what we are willing to do as an international community and as a U.S. Government regarding reactions against the recent effort of the organization called Committee to Represent Elected Law Makers if, in fact, the SPDC responds directly and violently to this challenge of their control? Even though it is attempted to be done in a nonviolent fashion, what should be our response as an international community and as a government?
    Mr. SMITH. With respect to what the international community should have done in 1990, of course Monday morning quarterbacking is easier, but I wish we had responded faster and harsher.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The United States is going to stand very, very firm on this issue. We continue to raise this issue at the very highest levels with countries around the world. During the President's trip to China this was raised. During the UNGA this past week, the Secretary raised it with foreign ministers. This is not done by functionaries. This is the highest level, and it is going to continue to be the highest level.
    We may hope to bring on board some of the ASEAN countries and some other allies with tougher sanctions. I note that the EU is pretty much where we are. They do not have the new investment laws that we do, and we wish they did.
    Foreign Minister Axworthy in Canada made a statement encouraging Canadian businesses not to invest in Burma, and the European Parliament has made statements encouraging EU businesses not to invest. We have strong support from the EU in preventing loans from international financial institutions from going to Burma. When they are in the middle of an economic crisis, that is important, and that is not going to change.
    We obviously disagree with the People's Republic of China on a number of issues. We do agree with them, however, regarding some issues concerning Burma. One is the drug trade. There are a lot more people in China becoming drug addicts, and the drugs are coming from Burma. Also the AIDS issue. There is a phenomenonal fact in my briefing book: Eighty percent of the HIV-positive incidents reported in China are along the border with Burma. Eighty percent. And the reason is simple: the regime in Burma refuses to acknowledge that there is an AIDS crisis there. They refuse to talk to people about it and how to stop it from spreading. As a consequence, even countries like China with which we have strong differences, agree with us that the spread of narcotics and AIDS from Burma are very serious issues. China is likely to become increasingly concerned as these risks continue.
    Finally, with respect to your hypothetical question, if there were a bloody crackdown now, I really couldn't tell you what the State Department would do. I can tell you that the first step we would take would be to check in with Aung San Suu Kyi—as we have been doing throughout this whole crisis. What are her thoughts? What is the situation? What action would she like to see taken and the U.S. or the international community take? As my colleague noted, although we officially interface with the SPDC, our ears are bent to the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you, Chairman Bereuter.
    Mr. Smith and Secretary Boyce, the trip that was undertaken which caused a lot of angst, probably to their parents, of the 18 activists, those under the age of 20 or 25 was really done, I think, with the highest of motives. It was to try to promote human rights, to stand in solidarity with a repressed people. As we all know, torture is endemic there, and it very often is overlooked, especially during the initial incarceration and interrogation, when pro-democracy people are tortured. And perhaps you could speak to that, the extent of torture in Burma today.
    But if you can comment on the trip. It is my belief that it helped having those students there, and regrettably they were arrested. Perhaps some good has come out of it. It brought the focus of the world back to Rangoon and back to Burma in a way that even Aung San Suu Kyi might not have been able to do.
    When I got a copy of the business-card-sized leaflet that was being disseminated by these students in Rangoon, which called for human rights and reminded the people of Burma that they were not forgotten, I was shocked, dismayed, and it almost was to the point of being laughable that the dictatorship would react so bitterly to that. As you know, this is what it was. They would have been better off to let them give out these cards and move on. And yet the regime showed its true colors.
    One of the messages that I convey in every conversation with Ambassador Tin Winn, the Burmese Ambassador to the United States, and especially with the State-run media with whom I had numerous interviews in Bangkok, was that the second shoe would drop. If you held six Americans—and we were concerned about the other 12 as well—there would be a concerted effort to look at Burma the way that we looked at South Africa during the apartheid years, and isolation would be warranted, and we would see a number of people with misgivings about sanctions saying, for this 5 years in prison? It certainly, I think, would have added a tremendous amount of pressure for old investment that has been grandfathered to come under scrutiny and even to be eliminated.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Your view on their trip; was it helpful from your perspective? And, Secretary Boyce, if you want to comment as well.
    Mr. SMITH. We will both comment.
    First, I will say that I certainly want to associate myself with your comments. We owe a debt of gratitude to these human rights activists for highlighting the heinous human rights situation in Burma, just as we do to you for holding this hearing today.
    Burma is a textbook case of a country gone bad when it comes to respect for fundamental human rights. The use of torture is widespread. It is common in the most heinous sense. I am sure that you are all familiar with the human rights report that our Bureau puts out each year. It lists in great detail the regime's failure to request the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association and widespread instances of torture, disappearances, and other human rights abuses.
    One of the SPDC's laws that I find most amusing is the freedom of assembly law, which requires citizens to obtain the regime's permission to gather more than five people together.
    Basic worker rights such as freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, freedom from forced labor, freedom from child labor, and freedom from discrimination are all violated in Burma. Not a single one is honored.
    So I think from a broad human rights perspective, you would be hard-pressed to pick a country that had less respect for fundamental human rights.
    Mr. BOYCE. In answer to your question, the trip was worth it in a whole variety of different ways. I myself left Bangkok on August 10, and that was the day after the detentions, and I saw coverage of it by the time we hit San Francisco, and the detentions came a day after the 10th anniversary of the regime's violent suppression in 1988 of the peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations.
 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So the timing could not have better underscored the symbolism and history involved and brought Burma back onto the international stage at a crucial period. I am sure that it helped focus international attention in the months since then on the efforts of the NLD to convene Parliament and the attempts to re-engage the regime in a peaceful dialog. And so I see it as an unqualified success, not to mention the fact that the individuals involved were able to obtain their freedom again.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Secretary Smith, you mentioned in your testimony that we have admonished international lending bodies not to make loans to Burma. I know that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is working very hard, and if you are at liberty to go into her success in the meetings in New York, please elaborate on that.
    And finally, the rapporteur that all of us would like to see yesterday deployed to Burma, is there any hope that might happen in the very near future?
    Mr. SMITH. I have not had the opportunity to be debriefed on all of Secretary Albright's meetings at the UNGA this past week. She did meet with the Japanese Foreign Minister. We were disappointed earlier this year when Japan agreed to provide aid for the rebuilding of an airport in Burma. We had lobbied them not to. The Foreign Minister made very clear to Secretary Albright that there was absolutely no more aid in the pipeline for Burma, which we considered a successful, positive statement.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. My second question had to do with the international lending bodies. You have already answered that. The Secretary's visit and the rapporteur.
    Mr. SMITH. This is a great opportunity that everyone is facing today. It is also a great opportunity for the SPDC to save face. The Committee Representing the People's Parliament is publicly recognizing that the military is important and should be integrated and worked with. They are not demanding that the military leadership leave the country. They are demanding respect for the democratic elections of 1990 and that democracy be allowed to transform the country. They are offering to work with the military rather than against it. And I think tied directly into that is the opportunity for the SPDC to allow the special rapporteur into Burma. Doing so would allow the international community to take steps toward them rather than isolating them. I hope that the SPDC will recognize this opportunity. I hope the SPDC will seize it and take the right steps.
 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Can you give us an update on the civilians, the Chin State and the Karen, especially as it relates to the displacement which has been an ongoing problem?
    Mr. SMITH. As you know, a third of the people in Burma come from ethnic groups. The only ongoing open conflict is between the SPDC and the Karen National Union. The KNU lost a major battle in March of last year and lost a large section of land. As a consequence of this battle, 20,000 refugees fled into Thailand. If you count the total of all of the refugees who have fled into Thailand, it would come to about a hundred thousand people, quite a large number of people.
    Then, of course, we have down in Bangladesh there are another 21,000 refugees which are Rohinaa Muslims who fled discrimination in Burma.
    Do you want to add anything to that, Skip?
    Mr. BOYCE. Following up on the UNGA meetings, but before we get to that, I think it is significant to know that in the Committee to Represent the People's Parliament, there is an individual who represents four of the different ethnic groups, including the Shan, NLD, and we think that this is really quite significant because the ethnics and the NLD have had a lukewarm, on-and-off relationship, and to the extent that they are solidifying their approach to the regime, this is a very interesting development.
    Back to the question about the Secretary's meetings at UNGA, the Secretary was scheduled to have a session last week that we organized with like-minded countries on Cambodia. At the New Zealand's Foreign Minister's initiative, which I think was significant, we agreed that it would be a great opportunity to also get a lot of the same countries basically, after all they are interested in the Cambodia situation, while they were together to update ourselves on where things stand on Burma.
    And without getting into the specifics of who said what, it was a well-attended meeting and I think the meeting underscored, for the Burmese regime in particular, that the international community is still interested and still watching and consulting and still keeping itself well-informed.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Before yielding, as pointed out earlier, and as we all know, Burma is classified by the State Department as the world's largest producer of opium and heroin. The Government of Burma was decertified again this year for U.S. narcotics assistance. However, through the U.N. Drug Control Program, the Administration is giving up to $3 million this year for a new crop substitution program in the Wa region. Do these funds go directly to the Wa farmers and indigenous organizations, or do agencies of the SLORC also receive funds of the program?
    Mr. SMITH. Not a penny of that goes to the SLORC or the SPDC. Period.
    With respect to whether any goes to the farmers, neither of us know right now. We will be happy to get back to you.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. If you could do that.
    [Mr. Gare Smith's answer appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. How do you assess the UNDP's work?
    Mr. SMITH. Over the past 4 years we have given $5.7 million to the alternative development project in the Wa ethnic area. If we didn't think it was working, we wouldn't be sending that kind of money. Of course, things change too. Sometimes programs improve, sometimes they deteriorate. Obviously when we are dealing with that amount of money and that part of the world, we keep a close eye on whether we think that the program is progressing the way that it should be. We welcome your continued interest in that, too.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Mr. Rohrabacher.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    Obviously there is a substantial area of agreement that we have. Just one minor area of disagreement, Mr. Smith. The Communist Chinese are they ones that are responsible for the SLORC having the weapons that they need to maintain their power, and I do not believe that the Communist Chinese are cooperative at all, and to the degree that they make people think that they are being cooperative, it is a front.
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And the fact is that there are new outlets for this billion dollars of opium that is being produced—actually it is probably more than that—is being done in cooperation with the Communist Chinese, not against. The robbery, the wholesale robbery, that the Burmese people's heritage and legacy with their natural resources, with the teak wood and the gems that are flowing into Communist China now is a disgrace. And Communist China mentioned to somebody that they are upset about HIV and narcotics in their own country, it is because they themselves propped up that regime, and without the weapons from Communist China, there would not be a SLORC regime.
    I think that some day the people of Burma will become so upset with the fact that SLORC, this tiny clique of gangsters that is running their country, are giving their country away to the Communist Chinese will in some way be the last straw that breaks the back of the people's patience. People must be patriotic enough to understand that their bosses are turning Burma into a vassal State of Communist China. I understand in Mandalay now there is a great deal of Communist Chinese influence, China coming down into Mandalay, and just like you have in Tibet where you have major influxes of native Chinese people from China coming into that country; is that correct?
    Mr. SMITH. We really don't have a disagreement on this issue, Congressman Rohrabacher. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough when I made my statement. I was referring to China as an example of a country with which we don't share a lot of democratic ideals but which is nonetheless concerned about issues in Burma.
    You are absolutely right about the arms. China has made $2 billion in arms sales to Burma since 1988. $2 billion. They had about one and a half billion dollars worth of trade in 1997 alone. They are selling up-to-date jets to the Burmese. They brokered the exchange of Howitzers from the North Koreans for rice from Burma. They established a radar station on a Burmese island off the east coast. There is no question that there are a lot of concerns about this and we certainly wish they weren't supplying military hardware to the Burmese.
 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    They have a strong influence in Burma. Ironically, the ASEAN countries often turn to us and say they are so concerned about the overwhelming influence of China in Burma, that that is one of the reasons they want to stay more engaged with Burma than we have been encouraging them to do. We don't share their position but you can certainly see why they would have that concern.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. It really is a sad situation when people—you know, in democratic countries, people may trade their natural resources for a road system or for an education system. But what we have going on in Burma is that the natural resources, the legacy, what is owned by all of the people of Burma is being ripped off and being gone—and what it is being traded for, it is being traded for money going into the Swiss bank accounts of an elite. Maybe not Swiss bank accounts. Maybe Thai bank accounts. I am not sure. Perhaps it might benefit Congress to have a look at a policy, Mr. Chairman, that would insist that American companies dealing with this dictatorship, if they receive contracts for natural resources, would be instructed to deposit those resources in an account that would be held for a democratic elected government rather than the SLORC. I think that might be more of a morally based policy. I have to take a look at that.
    Finally, let me just ask about the light at the end of the tunnel. Certainly there have to be people in the military in Burma as well as the people of Burma who understand what is going on. Would you say that now—and when I was with Aung San Suu Kyi, I did not get from her a feeling of animosity and hatred. She seemed like she was willing and, for lack of a better description, willing to forgive and forget. If we had that type of attitude with Aung San Suu Kyi, wouldn't you say that it will be no better time for the dictatorship in Burma for these people who have been ruling Burma with an iron hand to make a deal with Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic movement than right now because they are willing to let bygones be bygones and to forgive and forget and to move on toward a positive future where if they wait too long and massive violence takes place in order to get these people out of power, these people will be war criminals. There will be no place for them to hide, much less be able to stay in Burma. So now is their time to cut their deal. Wouldn't you say this is a correct assessment?
 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I couldn't agree with you more. Whether you are talking in a political sense, an ecological sense, an economic sense, on a health care sense, now is the time and the opportunity should be seized.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Boyce.
    Mr. BOYCE. I completely agree. I mentioned this effort to convene Parliament is not, I think, a confrontational approach. It is a historic opportunity for the regime to engage. That is all the NLD is asking. And the result, of course, we saw was the detentions. Again, rather than go into confrontational mode which any reasonable person would understand, they went the route of this Committee to Represent the People's Parliament. There are a number of openings there for the regime to take if they will just take them and initiate this policy of openness, flexibility, and dialog. It certainly is being demonstrated by Aung San Suu Kyi and the opposition.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, one final point and that is, at least from this Member's perspective, and I think I can speak for many of my colleagues, if those people who have been controlling Burma for these last 10 years would take advantage of this opportunity to reach an agreement with their democratic opposition, we, too, in Congress and the United States would forgive and forget and these people would not be seen, even if they possessed millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains, would not be prosecuted or hounded by the United States as far as the U.S. Congress is concerned. However, if harm comes to Aung San Suu Kyi or these people in the democratic movement who represent the true government of Burma, these people will be declared war criminals by this Congress and they will never escape, and there is a new commitment to human rights in this Congress and I believe that people like that and perhaps Hun Sen over in Cambodia have got to understand that they no longer will have the option of murdering in their own country and then escaping to the West or escaping to another country. Now is the time for these Burmese dictators to become Burmese citizens and live out their lives because if they don't, we won't forget about it.
 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher. Let me just ask one final question and, Mr. Bereuter, if you might have any additional questions. How do you respond to the accusation that the UNDP puts its projects where the SLORC wants them, including in areas that have the effect of assisting the SLORC war against ethnic minorities? I understand that the NLD has been highly critical of UNDP in Burma. How closely do we work with the NLD on this issue?
    Mr. SMITH. I think we will have to get back to you on that question, Mr. Chairman. We are not narcotic experts. The one thing I do know about that program is that when we discussed it with Aung San Suu Kyi, her biggest concern was to make sure that: (A) none of the money went into SLORC hands; and (B) that if money did go into their hands, they didn't get any credit for it. That is, if the program was successful, people would understand that the United Nations had been successful, not that the SLORC was doing a good job fighting drugs. So we, of course, have stayed in close contact with her about that and we think she is right on both counts.
    The other parts of your question we will respond to in writing.
    [Mr. Gare Smith's answers appear in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you very much, Secretary Smith, Secretary Boyce. We appreciate your testimony and look forward to hearing those additional responses which will be made a part of the record.
    I would like to now ask our second—do you have anything to add? OK. Thank you.
    Mr. BOYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I would like to ask our second panel if they would proceed to the witness table. First, Mr. Bo Hla-Tint is the Minister of the North and South American Affairs for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, imprisoned by the SLORC for 2 months after the 1988 military coup. He was later elected to the Parliament of Burma in 1990. After the SLORC refused to honor the results of that election and began arresting legitimate representatives, Mr. Bo Hla-Tint was chosen to become one of the original members of the National Coalition Government.
 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. Maureen Aung-Thwin is Director of the Burma Project of the Open Society Institute, a graduate of Northwestern University. She also serves on the Board of Human Rights Watch Asia and Burma Studies Foundation. Ms. Aung-Thwin's articles on Burma have appeared in numerous international publications.
    Michele Keegan is a student at American University and a member of the Free Burma Coalition there. Recently Miss Keegan was detained by Burma's military government for handing out pro-democracy leaflets. I am personally very proud of her. She is also a constituent of mine, and I am very pleased to have her here.
    Mary Pack is the Burma Project Director for Refugees International, where she coordinates an internship program for Burmese students and provides advocacy on refugee issues. Ms. Pack lived and worked in Asia for 14 years and is currently the editor of Burma Debate, a quarterly magazine.
    Finally, Mr. Thomas Vallely is the Director of the Vietnam Program and Research Associate at the Harvard Institute for International Development. He was regularly commissioned by the international organizations to research various aspects of Asian economic development, and has visited Burma a number of times for the U.N. development program or UNDP.
    Thank you very much. And, Mr. Bo Hla-Tint, if you could begin.
    Mr. BO HLA-TINT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Rohrabacher and Honorable Committee Members. On behalf of my fellow elected members of Parliament in prison in Burma and in exile and the people of Burma, I want to thank you for giving me this great opportunity to testify at this very timely hearing and in the House of Representatives. The American people send their representatives here to represent them, but our people in Burma, do not have that right.     Sadly, the only place given by the situation in Burma today for the elected representative is in prison or in exile instead of their rightful place, Burma Parliament's house.
 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I am an elected member of Parliament in Burma, but I have been forced into exile since after the 1990 elections of the crime of being elected. If I were in Burma today, I would be in prison with the other 200 of my fellow elected representatives, with the other 721 of my party leaders and members, with the other thousands of political prisoners, including Buddhist monks and young students.
    As I have already submitted my written testimony before you, I just would like to say thanks to the Chairman, Congressman Christopher Smith, for your role helping in and for the release of 18 American, Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, and Australians who were arrested because they were passing out this message of solidarity to my people. And thanks to your ongoing efforts to seek the release of not only our foreign friends, but thousands of political prisoners in Burma.
    I also want to take this opportunity to thank the United States and the people of America for their strong policy on Burma. It is having an effect. The sanctions adopted by the Congress and the Administration are having a devastating impact to the regimes and the elite who depend on it. The State of Massachusetts and 21 other counties and cities have adopted selective purchasing laws, also very effective, because they prevent the regime from evading the impact of Federal sanctions.
    I want to reaffirm today on behalf of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and the leaders inside Burma that your policy is working and we are very grateful. I also want to thank the Congress for mandating a report of the forced labor in Burma. The report was released by the Departments of Labor and State on Friday. The report corroborates what we have been alleging for some time; the regime systematically subjects hundreds of thousands of men, women, even older people and children to do forced labor. That forced labor is sometimes used for the benefits of the foreign investors and the partners of the SPDC business partners. It appears that forced labor has been used in the construction of the Yadana pipeline and is going to be used in ongoing pipeline security operations.
 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The next few days in Burma will be very critical. Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD and Burma's legislators are moving forward to convene the people's Parliament. How the regime's SPDC will react will depend in large part how they view the likely response of the international community. Therefore, here today, I would like to request to the Congress and the Administration to make it clear that you are in strong support of NLD, legitimate initiative to convene the people's Parliament, at the same time to make it clear to the junta that the only way they will emerge from their status of illegitimate international pariah is through the negotiation and dialog, not by repressing our freedom.
    So the message we have received from Rangoon is that clear public expressions of these messages from the State Department, the Congress, as well as individual legislators will be of utmost importance for the time being.
    To save the time to answer the questions you have, I am going to stop here. Thank you very much.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Hla-Tint appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you very much for your excellent testimony. We look forward to asking you questions.


    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. Chairman Smith and Chairman Bereuter, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today. Since we are going to put our written testimonies into the record, I will just skim through and summarize some of the high points that I would like to make. Congressman Rohrabacher, thank you very much also for attending. Not to diminish your comments, but I want to say that some Burmese consider grasshoppers a delicacy.
 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. There wasn't anything else but the grasshoppers, was the point.
    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. ''Let them eat grasshoppers!'' I am a Burma-born naturalized American citizen. The last time I testified to the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific was in 1993, when I just returned from a trip to Burma, and needless to say, I have not been able to get a visa back since then. The Burmese regime can keep us away—people who they do not want to go in and see what is happening—but they can't keep the news out.
    I would at this point like to make a little ad. Our Open Society Institute supports the Burma Net, an electronic daily digest. If you are interested in keeping up, this is a very painless way to keep up with Burma. How you subscribe is all in this briefing book that I handed out to the Members.
    Just this morning, I heard that strongman, 88-year-old former retired General Ne Win was rushed to a hospital in Singapore. It is always rumored he is sick, he is going to die, but he was rushed to the hospital. He is 88. When he dies, if he dies soon, I think you will see the impasse broken between the military government and the democratic forces, because the junta is very vulnerable today.
    But I also want to make the point that the democracy forces are alive and well. Some people wonder whether Aung San Suu Kyi has any support left in the country mainly because nobody can hear about it or talk about it because State controls the media.
    I want to tell you a couple of quotes that the junta said when they took over 10 years ago. This is the kind of non-confrontational tactic that the NLD is taking right now reminding the people what the junta said then:
    ''Because we will be taking charge for a very short period, we cannot attend to matters of health, education and social security. These are long-term projects and will be the responsibility of the party that is elected into office at the multiparty elections.'' This was said 2 years before the multiparty elections. They also said then: ''We will revert to our primary duty of defending the country for the security of the Nation and the rule of law after the transfer of power to a government comprising the people's representatives who you will elect in free and fair elections.''
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So today despite really huge repression, some Burmese have courage enough to still speak out and demonstrate their dissent with the government. The students have not been able to go to school for most of the last 10 years. They have no jobs.
    There is something terribly wrong in a country where a medical doctor—that is a public service medical doctor, not a private one—earns about $4 a month but it costs $12 to buy a ticket to a nightclub in Rangoon.
    I won't go into the AIDS epidemic and the huge problem that Burma faces with that problem but again, I refer you to our Open Society Institute's quarterly magazine ''Burma Debate.'' It has two excellent articles on the AIDS problem.
    I think the generals have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they cannot run Burma anymore. But with the economy in freefall, what I worry about is that they are more likely to rely on drug money as a source of foreign exchange, something they really need.
    I would like to mention also that the Burmese people don't have a voice. They do get news, the lifelines are radio broadcasts from Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. And in responding to those broadcasts, they write hundreds, maybe thousands of letters. They express how they feel and, if the Members of Congress wanted to know how the Burmese people felt in an uncensored way, that would be one good source.
    Regarding the current tactic of Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD, and some of the other parties that won the elections in 1990: It is very significant that some ethnic leaders who have signed cease-fires have come out publicly in support of these [tactics]. This is very significant because a coalition of the ethnic leaders who have signed cease-fires, and the NLD and the other democratic parties would be the worst nightmare for the junta right now. Khun Htoon Oo, the head of the party that won the second most votes in 1990 gave a radio interview to Radio Free Asia. Why? Because they managed to call his cell phone and they don't know how to jam cell phones yet. But he is a very courageous man. He could have been arrested shortly thereafter.
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So I wanted to tell you about these quiet acts of defiance that are going on daily in Burma. It is just that we don't notice them. If you go to Burma even on an individual tour, and don't speak Burmese, you are not likely to see any of this.
    About sanctions, I would like to mention that one of the junta leaders, Brigadier General David Abel himself, gave an interview in June to the State newspaper. He said: ''Sanctions have an effect on other countries and make them fearful of investing here. Companies don't want to invest here because they are afraid of retaliation from the United States.'' So they have admitted that if there is any question of sanctions working well, here is the SLORC telling you they work.
    I want to commend Mr. Alan Larson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, for telling a news conference just earlier today in Bangkok: ''I think that the sanctions on Burma are an example of sanctions which responded to a very difficult and dangerous situation that really was a threat to democratic values.''
    So in conclusion, I would like to urge the Congress of the United States which has been one of the greatest supporters of the Burmese democracy movement, not to be discouraged by the seeming lack of progress because you can't calculate these things. You can't—well, because the news is censored. But your efforts have made a huge difference and really contributed to the intense pressure on the regime.
    So we have to stay the course and not be tempted to try to get, say, a kinder, gentler regime in place that we can work with. If things get worse, I urge that you might consider sanctions on all investment and trade in Burma and barring visas for all Burmese officials rather than just for the high level that we have today.
    In 1993 I favored sending an ambassador to Burma, someone who would take a strong stand on human rights and U.S. policies. This is no longer of practical value. Our chargés d'affaires really do have access, and sending an ambassador now would be seen as appeasement.
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So if we want to remove Burma from our policy consciousness, we could opt the way of letting less harsh dictators coming to place, but this must not be allowed to serve as an excuse to promote a policy without conscience. Thank you very much.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Aung-Thwin appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you very much for that excellent and incisive testimony.
    I would like to now ask Michele Keegan if she would present her testimony. Let me again just thank her for, I think, the enormous public service she and her friends provided in undertaking the trip to Burma. It took poise, it took courage under pressure, and we are all grateful for helping to bring that spotlight back to the human rights and democracy efforts in Burma.


    Ms. KEEGAN. Thank you very much. I would like to first start by thanking you for inviting me here to speak before you today and to recognize two of my fellow friends and students that were with me this summer over in Burma. That would be Nisha Anand and Sapna Chatpan. They are here today in support.
    The message that we handed out this summer said, goodwill greeting. We are your friends from around the world. We have not forgotten you. We support your hopes for human rights and democracy. Eight eight, 88, don't forget. Don't give up. This is how I and 17 others became detained in Burma this summer for 6 days. The primary purpose of our trip was to display our message of solidarity to the people inside Burma. That was our primary goal, to let them know we do know what is going on. We do hear their cries. We do hear their pleas even though it is hard for them to hear the message that we are giving them, that we do know what is going on.
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Radio Free Asia and Voice Free America, programs like that that are sponsored by the U.S. Government, are the only source of uncensored non-propaganda news that the citizens inside Burma can receive. When I was there I stayed in a five-star hotel. In there CNN and BBC were blacked out from our TVs. In international newspapers such as the Herald Tribune, large articles were cut out of them. It just shows you the isolation that these people in this country really do face. They really don't know.
    Especially in the last 10 years there has been a mass exodus of the Burmese villagers fleeing their country in fear. Through talking with a lot of these political refugees, we knew our message of solidarity would be effective and appreciated. It is through them that we also do know of the violent crimes that are committed against the people in this country and how terrible the prisons are inside of this country.
    I am a student in the most opportunity-filled country in the world undoubtedly, so why is it I was willing to risk my rights and my liberties to go into this country and promote this message of solidarity? That is because I know what is going on. I know how terrible it really is. And for me to know that and do nothing about that, my conscience would punish me far worse than any punishment that the Burmese Government can inflict upon me. If you know something that is going on and you are not doing anything about it, that means you are supporting it. That is not OK by me. If I was being brutally raped or tortured, imprisoned, had to watch my village being burned down to the ground, forced to work without any pay or to live under a government that doesn't listen to its people, I too would want somebody to stand alongside of me to help speak for me, to take a risk on my behalf. I acted to protect real human beings from real oppression.
    On Sunday, August 9, 1998, the day after the 10-year anniversary of the massacre is when I and 17 others distributed our message of solidarity. When the authorities stopped me and the two other Americans I was with, we were pushed up a dark narrow staircase. Nisha, who was with me, was slapped across the face by one of the authorities. After that we were detained for 6 days, kept in the police headquarters and later in the police guest house. While we were there, we were given adequate food and water and bedding, but however we were repeatedly lied to and kept uninformed about the status of our case and why we were even being detained. We believe that we were only treated with these few violations because the United States is such a superpower and has a lot of influence in the international community.
 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    However, the story of Burmese citizens is a lot grimmer than my own. One political prisoner testified, I quote, ''For the first 2 days, they gave me no water. For 3 days no food. And for the whole 4 days I wasn't allowed to sleep. The days and nights were crammed together indistinguishably and filled only with the sounds of beatings, questions, and abuse.''
    Moe Aye, another voice among thousands, testifies that his guards demanded, think carefully and tell us the truth. If you don't, we will make you a homosexual. I was terrified. I was about to be raped by another man. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the Burmese Government has signed, states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. This clearly violates that.
    Article 10 states, everyone is entitled in full to a fair and public hearing. The trial we faced was neither fair nor public. We didn't have a lawyer to speak on our behalf. We were charged with attempting to create civilian unrest. However, the evidence that they brought forth only showed that we did distribute this literature. However, if these cards were creating civilian unrest, then why did the government print it in their national newspaper for all the citizens to see? Therefore, the kangaroo court that we faced was unjust and was unfair and we were found guilty without proper evidence. It resulted in a 5-year prison sentence at Insein Prison, which was later reconsidered and we were deported.
    However, for Burmese it is much different. As one political prisoner testified, I was never brought before a court or a jury, handed an official sentence or allowed to speak on my own behalf. Min Ko Naing, who is an activist in the tradition of Wei Jingsheng, Vaclav Havel, and Rosa Parks, who was a leader in the 1988 demonstrations, is currently serving a 20-year sentence for his involvement in expression.
    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through the media regardless of frontiers.
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The destiny of human rights is in the hands of all our citizens and all the communities. It is something that Eleanor Roosevelt once said. As a student and member of the Free Burma Coalition, we are working together to stop all multinational corporations from investing inside Burma. These companies are the financial backbone of this regime. They are the ones that are supporting them; thus their gross human rights violations and oppression of their own people. The companies who support the natural gas pipeline are the worst of them all. They support the regime with multimillion dollar contracts which result in the most severe abuses and violations.
    The United Nations, U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other researchers have credibly documented that the SLORC routinely tortures its political opponents, uses forced labor on a massive scale, encourages the rape of ethnic minority women, forcibly relocates neighborhoods to suit its financial and political needs, turns a blind eye to the world's largest heroin industry and openly launders drug money through military-owned banks, taking a 40 percent share.
    UNOCAL, which is an American-owned oil corporation, ignores these reports, even the ones from its own country. It is estimated that a meager .2 percent of its profits will go to local development, meaning that 99.8 percent of its profits are going to go to support the military regime and their human rights violations and oppressions.
    How can we as thoughtful and caring citizens of the United States allow ourselves to be represented by this horrific company that is humiliating and dehumanizing millions of people? Our own government acknowledges that UNOCAL and other companies knowingly support a military dictatorship that brutalizes and suppresses its people. The fact that we are allowing these companies to continue doing this suggests that we in this very room and across the United States support their unprincipled actions and beliefs. If we know about a problem and choose to do nothing about it, we are a part of the problem.
 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Unquestionably, creating more sanctions against Burma will work. While I was detained, the officers talked about how many American companies are not investing in Burma anymore and how it is effecting their economy, how it is hurting them. The military intelligence in the police station talked about the Massachusetts Sanctions and how they are enraged by them and how they fear the spread of others like them. This proves that they are working. The government is fearing it. It is hurting them financially. I was there. I saw it.
    Right now is crucial. We have the perfect window of opportunity to make sanctions profoundly effective. Not only will it stop American money from propping up an inhumane dictatorship, but it will send a powerful message to the government and the people of Burma that the United States must not stand by in benign neglect.
    In the last few months there hasn't been any real decisive international action taken against the regime. Many countries are speaking out against the violations; however, Burmese citizens are risking their lives more than ever right now and are pleading for more support from the international community. Aung San Suu Kyi recently stated, sanctions are an effective means of supporting democratization and human rights in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy were voted into 82 percent of the seats in the 1990 elections, clearly showing that the citizens of Burma support the NLD and their ideology. Therefore, we should recognize through her that our fellow human beings are reaching out for our help. Our companies have helped prolong the problem. We cannot ignore their complicity.
    We must force all American companies currently investing or operating inside Burma to withdraw. We need to lead the world in joining together to tell the military regime in Burma that we will not stand idly by.
    The United States has declined the opportunity to have an ambassador inside Burma. In a message of solidarity to the Burmese people, we should immediately send the Burmese ambassador home until the SLORC takes legitimate steps toward dialog.
 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Lyndon B. Johnson once said, ''Our own freedom and growth had never been the final goal of the American dream. We were never meant to be an oasis of liberty and abundance in a worldwide desert of disappointed dreams. Our nation was created to help strike away the chains of ignorance and misery and tyranny wherever they keep man less than God wants him to be.''
    Ladies and gentlemen, this summer I came a breath away from spending 5 years in a place that is a fate worse than hell for distributing a message supporting basic human rights and democracy. You saw my family's tears, you saw their fears but you saw me free. Right now, there are thousands of Burmese citizens that are in jail, and I can guarantee you that a lot of the students are being tortured severely right now. We never see their tears; we never hear their cries.
    Now is the time to make some changes. America is based on the value of freedom, to be able to live a life without constant fear. America is sending a message. It is our choice as to what that will be.
    Remember that silence in this time is also a message. One would say that we support this regime, thus, the oppression and brutalization. Actions speak louder than words, and I know that everyone in this room does support democratization and human rights so let's make a good decision and a real difference for these people.
    Thank you.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Keegan appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Michele, thank you very much for that excellent testimony and again for your willingness to put yourself and your friends at risk.
    One of the reasons why I went over there, knowing that these people are thugs, was that there might be a window of opportunity to enter into a dialog. But certainly their record has been very, very horrifying, to say the least. That 5-year sentence could really have been 5 years. More likely it would have been 3 or 4 months like the Australian who spent, I believe, it was 3 months in prison.
 Page 47       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So you did put yourself at considerable risk, and we all are indebted to you and your friends for doing so.
    Mr. Vallely.


    Mr. VALLELY. Thank you very much, and thank you for inviting me here today, Chairman Smith.
    I testified about a year ago at this committee—in the last year or so, there has been a shift in historic proportions in the world and in the world economy. Many Asian economies have suddenly reversed their route in apparent healthy growth and have been thrown into recession. Japan as a regional economic superpower is facing immense challenges. Any foreign policy analysis and certainly any policy toward Burma must take these shifts into account. Certainly options open to Burma and to our policy have changed.
    My analysis is similar to others. It is gloomy on the political side. The military government continues to hold a monopoly on the means of coercion. Backed by Chinese arms and loans, it refuses to recognize the National League for Democracy or its popular leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. It has intensified its pressure. Universities remain closed.
    Meanwhile, the military appears to be complicit if not actively supportive of the drug trade, and many border areas appear to be virtually independent of any authority except that of a local commander. If there was a split in the army, there is apt to be a bloody conflict, and there is no certainty that the ''white hats'' would win.
    Meanwhile, both ASEAN and Japan are weakening, and so their moderating influence is being lost. The situation has deteriorated to the point where normal politics is not being practiced, the power of the bureaucracy has declined along with their wages, and there is less and less glue to hold the Nation together. Even if, by some miracle, NLD were to triumph, they would still face the daunting challenges of how to succeed. I do not see how Burma can have an effective government without NLD and the army cooperating, but I see no immediate possibility of their cooperation.
 Page 48       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    On the economic side, the Asian economic crisis has accomplished what U.S. economic restrictions could not, a virtual cessation of non-oil investment in the country. This has caused a sharp contraction in urban construction and foreign exchange availability. Meanwhile, floods, droughts, and shortages of fertilizer have aggravated long-term problems with the environment.
    There are severe humanitarian problems both in urban and rural areas. If the weather is poor, there could be a major humanitarian crisis in which food aid would be needed to avert widespread starvation. It is mainly the opium crop that appears to be earning foreign exchange, as rice exports have been curbed due to domestic shortages.
    The U.S. interest in Burma is threefold. First, Burma is the source of over half the word's heroin, much of which ends up in our country. Second, the plight of the NLD and Ms. Suu Kyi has touched many Americans, although not galvanized any significant activity. Our trade and investment links with Burma were never large, and withdrawing them has allowed them to be replaced. Third, Burma sits astride important trade routes through which much of Asia's oil flows.
    Taken together, these interests are not trivial, but neither are they so significant that many feel a need to do much more than is being done. One reason for this may be the extremely limited menu of viable options. By isolating Burma, we have reduced our influence and left its fate to other Asian countries. By ignoring the growing dependence on China, we fail to create any degree of freedom for any government there.
    Let me say that China's expansion is not the old-fashioned colonial type but the more post-modern variety. It does not need to send troops or claim territory. By supporting an unpopular regime while others isolate it, it is easy to secure the free flow of Chinese nationals into the country, tighter security links, and growing economic and diplomatic influence. Almost without trying, Burma is edging toward a kind of implicit Chinese protectorate.
 Page 49       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The drug trade has resulted in estimated exports of over 150 tons of heroin a year or $900 million reported at 1998 prices. It should be noted that total legal exports of all goods are $936 million, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's second quarter report on Myanmar. The equality of opiate and legal exports is not an unreasonable way to gauge the relative influence of legal and illegal elements in the economy. It is yet one more reason why, in the case of conflict within the country, it may be that the sides backed by either Chinese arms or drug money might triumph. It is true that these groups already predominate, but repression could still intensify.
    In Laos, a patient policy of investing in roads and other development capital has resulted in steady progress toward reducing opium cultivation. If the government in Myanmar were to back such policies with such enthusiasm, similar results might be expected. However, there is currently no support for this type of policy. Either a very difficult arrangement or a change in government would be needed for this to be a viable option.
    I have been asked what U.S. policy should be. Let me state by asking what the potential outcomes might be. I see three: One, the United States could support a deal between NLD and the army; two, it could support victory for one side, obviously, the NLD; or, three, we could encourage chaos by either action or inaction. Our policy of isolating Burma during the Asian economic boom was infective but designed to support an NLD victory, though we said it was to promote dialog. SLORC knew our real goal and the NLD as well. SLORC, of course, also wanted total victory for itself, while some observers thought that economic progress there would be an opening for real power sharing. In any case, the result was a stalemate. But both sides still want victory, and neither side seems to be able to achieve it. The result is a stalemate of growing political and economic deterioration which will probably lead to chaos.
    And what should we do? If you grant the premise that we have very little leverage in a deteriorating situation, one answer is we can do nothing or anything. I know many want to stop all U.S. investment in Burma. Fine. Do it. The Taiwanese or Japanese will pick up the shares of UNOCAL and collect the profits from Thai gas sales. If further gas fields are developed economically and are warranted, it would be financially and technically easy for small Asian firms to accomplish that. We will have made another symbolic statement but accomplished little else.
 Page 50       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Given the Asian crisis, this policy will not be as ineffective as it once was, but it will tend to accelerate the inevitable economic and political decline of the country. Short of financing an armed opposition, and I do not know anyone suggesting this as a proper foreign policy tool, there is little we can do to resolve the tragic situation.
    There is a more indirect way. ASEAN is a natural partner of Burma and, if it were robust, might be able to balance the growing influence of China. However, with the near meltdown in the economy of Indonesia and the lurch inward to repression by Dr. Mahatir, ASEAN is in disarray. Our best regional policy would be to focus on accelerating Indonesia's recovery.
    I should add many in the Burmese military have looked upon Indonesia as a model for their own role. If Indonesia moved toward democracy as well as a more honest, equitable and open form of capitalism, it might be easier to urge others in the Burmese army to cooperate. ASEAN, if it were economically recovering and largely democratic, this would change the atmosphere in the region.
    It is an important question what to do to create a more rapid progress in Indonesia, and I know that is not part of these hearings today, Mr. Chairman. The biggest roadblock to restoring normal credit is foreign debt. There is about $75 billion in loans outstanding largely to foreign banks. Japan accounts for more than half, European banks a third, the United States only $10 billion. It is likely that some fraction of this would need to be written off or converted into equity.
    It is also important to appreciate that more needs to be done within Indonesia and outside of it to set things right. The political and economic position of ethnic Chinese minorities in Indonesia needs to be settled. If it is not, debt restructuring alone will not accomplish enough. On the other hand, those in Congress who are pondering wider initiatives in restructuring capital flows, a new Bretton Woods and other things should take Indonesia into account in those deliberations.
 Page 51       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I also believe that Vietnam could become a strong member of ASEAN in time and a voice in ASEAN's regional and world affairs, and I think we should accelerate most-favored-nation status and negotiations with them.
    If you strengthen Indonesia and Vietnam and then ASEAN reemerged as a regional player, it would be well placed to engage in a dialog with the Burmese Government and invest in the country and urge norms of behavior which are now accepted elsewhere. If Japan were to recover more quickly, it too would naturally assert a greater role in Burma. However, if the world economy slips badly, neither ASEAN nor Japan nor even China would be robust players. This is a worst-case scenario in which neither economic nor political change in Burma would be easy, and the entire structure of the world economy and capital flows would deteriorate.
    In a more likely scenario, this ASEAN strategy is a long-term approach which promises no immediate gain. In the meantime, we will have to decide if we wish to accelerate conflict, work more actively to avoid it, or take a hands-off attitude. No matter what we do, it is likely that China and the internal political dynamic of Burma will matter more than anything else. There are few good choices left for us, and the regional and local economic crisis could overwhelm all other considerations.
    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you very much for your testimony. We do appreciate it.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Vallely appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I would like to ask our final witness, Ms. Pack, if she would proceed.

 Page 52       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Ms. PACK. Thank you, Chairman Smith; and thank you Subcommittee Members for inviting me here today to testify on behalf of Refugees International.
    I also want to thank you for your continued concern about the plight of Burmese refugees over the years. Many of you, as Members, and your staff, have visited camps and have witnessed firsthand what the refugees are experiencing.
    I have written testimony, which I will submit. I will try to condense it a bit so you can move on to your questions for the panel. Let me begin by saying that refugees have lined Burma's borders for decades. However, since the early 1990's, not only has the number of refugees fleeing the country risen dramatically, but the reasons they are leaving have multiplied. The vast majority of people fleeing are members of Burma's ethnic and religious minorities, and they are leaving as a result of a litany of human rights abuses.
    Most of these abuses have been mentioned here today, but I do want to emphasize that, as the Burmese military has moved farther and farther into the ethnic States and taken over more and more territory, these abuses have intensified. Whole villages have been uprooted. People have lost their lands, their livelihoods, and they have had no other option but to leave their country.
    In addition to the ethnic minorities, since 1988, there has also been an outflow of thousands of Burmese students, pro-democracy activists, and elected parliamentarians who have been forced into exile to escape imprisonment, torture and possible death for their political beliefs.
    Our figures estimate that there are currently about 300,000 refugees from Burma in neighboring countries. Further, an estimated one million people have been internally displaced; that is, been forced to leave their homes and have either been put into designated relocation sites, or are living in jungle areas.
 Page 53       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The persecution of Burma's ethnic and religious minorities at the hands of this regime have been well documented. Mr. Gare Smith mentioned the Rohingyas, or the members of Burma's Muslim minority who in 1991 fled in the numbers of 250,000 in order to escape persecution and discrimination. He did not mention, however, that over the last 2 years another 30,000 have fled Arakan State, where the Rohingyas reside. This shows that discrimination and persecution are not ending. In fact, for the Rohingyas, the regime continues to deny one of the most basic of human rights, that is the right to citizenship in your own country.
    I would like to expand a little bit on a point that has been raised by several people today, and that is the issue of religious persecution. And I would like to talk specifically about those living in Chin State and Sagaing Division of Burma, the areas that border India. Life for them has become increasingly difficult and dangerous. An estimated 110,000 refugees now reside in India, with 50,000 currently in refugee camps and over 60,000 non-registered in the country.
    This outflow of refugees is due in part to the large-scale military buildup by the Burmese army in this region. Since the early 1990's, over 20 new battalions of Burmese soldiers have reportedly been established in this area. In Chin State alone, there are now 10 battalions, as compared to the one that existed before 1988.
    This enhanced military presence has meant an increase in human rights abuses. With militarization, a number of infrastructure projects have been initiated by the regime; the building of roads, irrigation canals and dams, which are being constructed almost exclusively with the use of forced labor.
    A major characteristic of the abuse inflicted upon the people of this region is religious in its orientation. I think it is very important to remember here that the regime has glorified Buddhism to a State religion, however, it is guilty not only of persecuting people of a particular belief system, but of using religion as a vehicle to foster tension, suspicion and resentment among the country's population.
 Page 54       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The regime has reportedly instituted in this area a system of ''punishment and rewards'' based upon religious affiliation. The majority of the people of Chin State are Christian, as are the Kukis and Nagas of the Sagaing Division. Refugees from these ethnic groups claim that Burmese soldiers have disrupted religious services and forced Christians to build Buddhist monasteries and pagodas in Christian villages. Churches and graveyards have been desecrated by turning them into army camps. In the Sagaing Division, the regime has placed restrictions on attending church services, has destroyed churches and religious symbols and orders Christian pastors to obtain permission before they can conduct religious duties.
    On the other hand, ''rewards'' in the form of free food and exemption from forced labor will be offered to Christians who convert to Buddhism. The ''converts'' are then to serve as informers on the activities of insurgent groups and are expected to create dissension among the Christian denominations.
    This pattern of discrimination and persecution is repeated on Burma's eastern border as well. Over 110,000 refugees reside in camps along the Thai-Burma border, with thousands more living in jungle areas outside the camps or in nearby towns and villages.
    Perhaps the most vivid illustration of the regime's policy to divide and conquer through the manipulation of religion is the emergence of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, or the DKBA. A breakaway faction of the Karen National Union, the DKBA has been supported by the Burmese army and is used as a means to take over territory in Karen State, particularly near the border, that was previously controlled by the Karen resistance.
    Under the guise of a religiously motivated movement, the DKBA and the Burmese army have orchestrated repeated attacks on refugee camps and villages along the Thai-Burma border beginning in 1995. In a 3-year period, more than 150 violent incursions have taken place, and at least 79 deaths have been recorded.
    You must understand that the refugees residing in these camps are both Christian and Buddhist. And although prominent administrative and sometimes Christian religious leaders are sought out by the DKBA, non-Christian members of the camps, who are often the majority, are also at risk.
 Page 55       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    One particularly gruesome example of the toll these incursions have taken on the Karen people is what has happened to Wangka camp. I have been either visiting or working in refugee camps for the last 19 years or so and have been visiting camps in Thailand since 1979, but what I recently saw at Wangka was shocking.
    I visited Wangka camp in May, only a few weeks after the last attack by the DKBA. The Burmese soldiers and DKBA soldiers had entered the camp in the middle of the night, opened fire and set the camp aflame.
    This camp, also known as Huay Kaloke, housed over 8,000 people and had been attacked three times in a 15-month period, twice totally burnt to the ground. My memory of Wangka from previous visits was that of a village of bamboo and thatched houses with small patches of vegetable gardens. Now there was only blackened ash and dirt, only cement slabs where the church and hospital once stood. Nearly 700 homes had been leveled and were now replaced by makeshift hovels of blue plastic sheeting, supported by sticks and scraps of burned metal.
    Wangka is only about five kilometers from the border. When I stood in the center of the camp, because the camp was totally leveled—it was very easy to see the hill about four and a half, five kilometers away where the DKBA was encamped. That is how close the soldiers are to the refugees. Most of the refugees so feared another attack that they chose not to sleep in the camp at night, but would go into the jungle and into villages to sleep.
    The refugees showed me a photograph of the body of a charred pregnant woman who had been shot first and then, unable to escape the fire in her home, had been burned to death. They also showed me photographs of the funeral of two young teenage girls, sisters, who had died as a result of the burns suffered in the fires.
    My written testimony includes suggestions that Congress and the Administration could take to enhance the security and protection for refugees along Burma's border. However, let me close by saying that, as I stood in Wangka camp, it became clear that it is not economic sanctions that are hurting the people of Burma, as the regime might claim. It is the regime itself and the military under its direction, a military financed by revenues from foreign investment.
 Page 56       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Clearly, the real, durable solution for the refugees is for all people of Burma to have the opportunity to participate in a democratic government that will ensure the rights of its people regardless of their ethnicity or their religion.
    Thank you.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you, Ms. Pack. We appreciate you. As usual, Refugees International is always on the front lines everywhere in the world, and thank you again.
    [The prepared statement of Ms. Pack appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I think for the record I would like to note that Secretaries Smith and Boyce have remained to hear the testimonies of our additional witnesses. That is rare. I have been in Congress 18 years and, normally, after the Administration testifies, they are out the door. They leave people behind, of course, to gather notes and information, but I think it speaks well of our two Administration representatives to stay and to hear what has been said.
    I have a couple of questions. Mr. Vallely—how do you say it?
    Mr. VALLELY. Vallely.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Vallely. In your testimony, you either trivialize or perhaps even suggest it is counterproductive to enhance the hours of Radio Free Asia. I was the one who offered the amendment on the floor to try to push broadcasting to a 24-hour day, which passed by a 3–1 margin. And it seems to me, when people like Vaclav Havel and others say that the information that they received from Radio Free Europe and from other such broadcasts is invaluable—even though, as you point out, the SPDC is already illegitimate—that people need hope, they need information, they need timely information. Do you really think it leads to chaos?
    Mr. VALLELY. Yes. I am not a big fan of Radio Free Asia in general. In this particular case, I am not widely opposed to it. The reference I made was, how useful is it? I am a close friend of the Senate sponsor of the whole idea. I wish I was against it earlier.
 Page 57       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The point I am trying to make there, Mr. Chairman—we have to try to find a way to talk to these people. I don't think that we have succeeded in figuring out how to really have a discussion with the Burmese army, whatever the name of it is. And I think that is becoming harder and harder, and that is what that reference was to.
    I am trying to be constructive. I am not trying to eliminate Radio Free Asia. I think the Voice of America does a fairly good job. I think, in general, Radio Free Asia's comments in foreign languages, however, Mr. Chairman, should be made available to people that would like to know what, in fact, they say. We make a big deal about being an open society, and I think Radio Free Asia should join in that and let us know what they say in foreign languages to these people.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Let me ask you in terms of your position on no new investments. Were you in favor of no new investments?
    Mr. VALLELY. I don't—in general, I think that Burma's not even an emerging market, Mr. Chairman. It is a no market. I mean, you have to be crazy to invest there. There is no real investment outside the oil, which I think could be—and I have put in my testimony—could be replaced fairly easily. There is this capital flight from ASEAN. You know, the strong countries in ASEAN, Mr. Chairman, they are in capital flight.
    I like Mr. Bereuter's comments earlier. I don't think we are dealing with an ASEAN or a Japan like we were the last time I testified. I think these countries do not have the resources there. I think investment is not going to take place in Burma, non-oil investment.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Let me ask if the rest of our panel would respond.
    Let me just say for the record we informed UNOCAL to be here. They did submit testimony, but our hope was to ask them very specific questions about human rights, whether or not they believe that they were in any way complicit with the SLORC by aiding and abetting, however indirectly a military dictatorship that routinely tortures its own people.
 Page 58       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    But in looking at their testimony, much of the statement of the report is based on an organization called the Commission of Justice and Peace, which is based in Bangladesh. The report contains reports of happy workers, happy villages, no forced labor and social development projects. The reporters concluded ''that everyone in each village has a better life because of your work,'' speaking of UNOCAL.
    Are any of our witnesses familiar with the report or the organization, the Commission for Justice in Peace, and do you have any comments on that conclusion?
    Mr. HLA-TINT. As I mentioned in my testimony about the report mandated by the Congress, the report on forced labor in Burma, it is clearly mentioned about the forced labor sometimes directly used by the gas pipeline projects. It has been sponsored by the UNOCAL.
    So what I would like to comment, if they are saying that there is no forced labor, it is totally wrong. It is insulting to the institutions for peace and human rights, Amnesty International and other human rights institutions. So we on behalf of the institution have to say that according to our resources, according to our people, we know there were forced labor uses in the pipeline project and human rights abuses. So we absolutely disagree that there were no human rights abuses in the pipeline project.
    They have been talking in their testimony that they are contributing to the life of Burmese people. What we want to say at this point, we want to do our own self. We don't want other people to create our future. So we want to say to the UNOCAL and the Ambassador, rather than allowing our people to create their own future, please back off from Burma. Thank you.
    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. I would like to make a comment about the UNOCAL report. Father Timm and Justice Subhan, from what I have heard, are really good guys, and that is why they were asked to do this report. What they did not know, according to what I have heard, and this is from correspondence between Father Timm and some of his colleagues, was that it was a totally orchestrated trip, much like the one that Ambassador Andrew Young took to Indonesia and Vietnam on behalf of Nike.
 Page 59       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    You know there are two lawsuits against UNOCAL in California right now. The lawyers for the plaintiffs have asked UNOCAL if they can also go and take a trip there, of course with their own translators and their own people. It was a formal request and UNOCAL formally denied them access. So I think there must be something to hide.
    The report mentions all of these wonderful happy people, I think there is a section that UNOCAL calls a ''happy'' section, where there are no human rights abuses and there are some schools and clinics. I have been told that people who have taken these trips come back with pictures of it, this tiny little boulevard (and I am saying ''boulevard'' because don't forget that Total is also the major owner of this pipeline).
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Let me ask, in the views of any of the panelists, do the corporate executives raise human rights in a way that is meaningful? Do they seek to visit Aung San Suu Kyi? Ms. Keegan mentioned Wei Jingsheng earlier in her testimony. I will never forget meeting in Beijing with a number of business and government representatives, in a round table discussion which lasted over 2 hours. I asked any of them, because Wei Jingsheng was at that moment free before he got rearrested, if they had ever met with a dissident to brief, quiz, or get his or her perspective, to see whether or not their businesses were aiding and abetting tyranny or whether they were a part of reform, and they said no. To the best of my knowledge no such meetings have occurred since, nor are any planned.
    Corporate America, international corporations, surely can play a constructive role if they have the will and the tenacity. They have the ability, if they seek to do it. What is your view on that? For instance, have UNOCAL representatives met with Aung San Suu Kyi and sought to dialog with her?
    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. I believe Mr. John Imle has seen Aung San Suu Kyi, but I also believe it was a private conversation and he would not divulge what happened. But what they do with it because he is head of PR, is something else. And they use it to say ''We talked with Aung San Suu Kyi.'' She doesn't want to take sides on the issue because if she were in power or if the NLD were in power, they will have to deal with the UNOCALs. Here is a political statement, to mean we welcome good investment. But Imle spins it. I have seen the spin.
 Page 60       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Since I was denied the ability to go to Burma, I would like to go and will renew my request as soon as this election is over. I would like to lead a delegation there. I will ask UNOCAL if they will help us arrange that. But I will not have a dictated type of itinerary which some other governments, including Communist governments, always seek to do. Give you the red carpet tour, treat you to a 5-star hotel, and then you walk away singing the praises of the regime. I would seek to visit political prisoners and go into the prisons. Mr. Bereuter.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Vallely, I noticed your comments in your written statement that your policy would be focused on accelerating Indonesia's recovery, and I express my regrets to the panel that I was meeting with the foreign minister from Indonesia on the side here and had to miss most of your testimony. It was scheduled before the session.
    Mr. VALLELY. Again, I am not particularly optimistic about Burma's future, and I have thought a lot about the issues that Chairman Smith has raised, how to deal with it and I even, when I was asked to testified, said I can only think of making ASEAN stronger as perhaps one of the ways to do it.
    I do share Mr. Rohrabacher's view of the ASEAN situation and I thought his comments perceived reality quite accurately in the case of China in the drug situation and I think in the case of the grasshoppers.
    I think the grasshoppers are in fact a way to describe the complete collapse of the rural economy in the country. There is no cooking oil to be bought. We are looking at famine, maybe. That is how serious a situation I think that we are dealing with here, and I think the United States would need to have a response to that, and that is a complicated thing.
    But I do think ASEAN is very weak now. What is happening in Malaysia, clearly finding a way when you are dealing with restructuring capital flows throughout the world, Indonesia is going through both a political and economic transition at the same time, which differs from other ASEAN countries, makes it more complicated.
 Page 61       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I think Indonesia will emerge more democratic and a better example and a stronger country. Now, we can not guarantee that Indonesia will find a way to deal with the difficult problems it has in dealing with its Chinese minority population, and if they do not deal well with their Chinese ethnic population, they will not be a successful country. They are 8 percent of the population, and 80 percent of the wealth, and they could go to Vietnam pretty easily.
    Mr. BEREUTER. I yield to questions by Mr. Rohrabacher.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you. First and foremost I would like to congratulate Michele, and I am sure that you have inspired young people in different parts of the country who have heard about your mission to Burma and I am very proud of you as well. And I think the American young people who latch onto the ideals of what our society is supposed to be all about and move forward in an idealistic way, but an energetic and committed way to further those ideals in places like Burma really are exemplary of the best of what our country has to offer, and it was a risk. You could have been raped or assaulted while under incarceration in Burma, and it wouldn't have surprised anybody if that happened, and you were very courageous for doing that.
    And I hope that other young people who hear about this will take upon themselves to show the world that we still believe in freedom and we may like pop music and other forms of entertainment here that young people enjoy, but what you did was something that we can all be proud of, and maybe more proud of than some of these other things.
    As far as some of the talks about UNOCAL, let me remind people that UNOCAL didn't bring the dictatorship to Burma and while I think it was my idea to put these sanctions on to make sure that there was no further investment in Burma, I don't believe that the money that UNOCAL has put into Burma so far has gone into the bank accounts of the regime.
    Now, in a few years once this project is complete and the gas starts flowing, the money will be going into their coffers, and to that degree then there will be a strengthening of the regime. But let's be honest with ourselves. Why is the SLORC regime still in power? Because the Burmese people have not themselves acted with the same courage as Michele acted. They have not. By and large the Burmese people have permitted this dictatorship, and when I say that I am also including those enlisted people in the military. There is no reason why someone who is a patriot in Burma who finds himself in uniform should be taking orders from this regime. The SLORC regime does not represent the legal government of Burma. The legal government of Burma are those people who won the election. If those people in uniform in Burma were patriots, had more courage, the SLORC regime would not exist because they would turn their guns on the SLORC.
 Page 62       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    So it is easy to criticize UNOCAL, and I think that is about the only economy left, but let's make sure that we don't let people pass the buck here. We need some courage and we need some commitment from the people of Burma. And I think as Michele, as we pointed out here, she showed a lot of courage, and Aung San Suu Kyi is showing a lot of courage. She went to that bridge and stood there 2 weeks, 2 weeks in that little car. That is tremendous courage for her to go and do that.
    But where were the thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of Burmese people who should have joined her at that bridge? They didn't show up. They have to understand that. People are free because they have shown courage and commitment and have been willing to do that, and that has not happened from the people of Burma so far.
    They are long suffering. I have visited the refugee camps and I have seen that, and I was on the border of the Karenese that was attacked a couple of nights after I left a few years ago. And these people are long suffering, but there is a difference between being long suffering and being willing to take the actions that will yield democracy.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Will the gentleman yield. I do respect the gentleman's opinion. But all of the guns are on one side and you are trying to do it peacefully; there are people who are languishing in prison.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I guess what I am saying is that the guns are not all on one side. The soldiers are citizens of Burma. We have to make sure that the patriots of Burma that are in uniform are called upon to join with the rest of the people in Burma for establishing a democracy. I am sorry for being harsh.
    When I was first elected to Congress 10 years ago, the first thing I did was hike into the jungles of Burma and meet with the democratic resistance, and some people remember that. I was really impressed with those young people, and it has been 10 years since then and I have been doing my best, but I don't think that change is going to come from the outside.
 Page 63       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Now, with that said, let me emphasize something that we talked about in the testimony, and that is Aung San Suu Kyi, who I consider to be one of the most courageous people on this planet, did emphasize to me, and as we talked about with the first panel, she is willing to forgive and forget. If we can have a transfer to democracy, those soldiers will say, hey, let's move forward and make a deal now because there is not going to be a deal possible. That I think takes a great deal of courage as well. I think we can't miss that. I think probably the most important thing that I have learned this year is when I had lunch with Aung San Suu Kyi, that she wasn't filled with vengeance and it would be very easy to be filled with vengeance if you are Burmese.
    I will let everyone have 1 minute to comment on what I said. Let me pose it as a question, as I did with the first panel.
    Will there ever be a better time than now for people to make a deal, forgive and forget, the people who run the government, the SLORC, deal with the NLD and save themselves in the long run, I might add?
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. I would hope that the witnesses could take longer than a minute.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Whatever you want.
    Mr. HLA-TINT. I totally agree with that. The Burmese people must have courage to overcome the situation.
    Right now what we believe is our people, because of the leadership by the NLD, we come to realize they need to stand up by themselves and they are asking the U.S. Congress and the Asian community to recognize their movement. So we do appreciate that our people must have courage. At the same time we want from the United States and the Congress to support the people, as you mentioned before.
    The second part is we do not tie investments for the long term. We are the one pro-investment. But UNOCAL, we are talking about the U.S. investment in this, rather than they are encouraging the democratic solution, they are legitimizing the one we hate, the one we don't want to see. They are against the will of the people. That is why we are pointing out to reconsider, to review for the timing. If they review their policy in their investment, the faster and better in the future their present investment in Burma would be considerable. That is my point of view that I would like to share.
 Page 64       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. I would like to respond to Congressman Rohrabacher asking why the Burmese people have not risen up.
    One thing you have to remember: It is a police State. It has been there since 1962. We are talking about 2 generations brought up under a total lack of freedom.
    You can get 15 years in jail for having an unregistered modem, which means computers, fax machines, and you get nothing for shooting up a heroin in a tea shop. Someone who gave the BBC interview got 15 to 20 years. There are 80-year-olds in prison for handing out leaflets or writing the ''wrong'' poem.
    In 1988 a lot of people were killed needlessly. I think the Burmese people do not want this to happen again. They also live under fear. I don't think you can realize what it feels like to live under fear.
    When I went back the last time I was allowed to, my cousins who are not political, I saw that they just don't question the rules. They just do what they are told.
    A comment on Aung San Suu Kyi, and her courage. In an ironic way, she is probably the safest person there. Because of her Nobel prize, the whole world is concentrated on her. She is protected by her pedigree because her father is the revered founder of the nation. She herself has said the most courageous people are the unknown people, the students who are carrying on demonstrations, some of the covert action and nonviolent resistance, not her. She has said that.
    Ms. KEEGAN. First, I would like to say in my statement I must have been misunderstood about UNOCAL. I realize that it is in the future where most of their money has been going to come in. It has been estimated that is about a year, and that is possibly why the Burmese dictatorship is kind of keeping its hold. They think if we can hold out for a little while—but it is documented regarding their gross human rights violations and their intentions.
 Page 65       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I think that is a very good point, and that is why some of us may be toying with the idea that companies that have invested in clearly a dictatorship like that maybe would have to put the money that they were going to give the regime into a special fund that would go to a democratic government once it was established. That might be a good idea.
    Ms. KEEGAN. That is definitely an idea I would support.
    When you ask about this opportunity, wouldn't this be the perfect time for the Burmese dictatorship to make a deal with the NLD? Well, realistically that is not going to happen. They don't want to give up power. I think that is safe to say. That is kind of where the international community comes in. We have to tell them that, we are not going to stand for this. We are going to stand by the people.
    You said that the Burmese people, they need to basically fight their own battle in order to win, and I do agree. I think it basically does need to be a joint fight. But recently there are approximately 900 people, Burmese citizens being retained for their recent actions. Lately there has been a lot of international spotlight on Burma. They feel the solidarity. They feel the protection almost to go ahead and do this, and they are fighting their own battle. That is what is going to create this perfect opportunity.
    But the SLORC is not just going to hand over power. We have to help that along. Lately there have been a lot of ethnic agreements that they are coming to support the NLD. The transition in Burma is going to be slower than a lot of them because they are mostly embracing a nonviolent movement. A violent movement, yes, that can be quick and overdone.
    The United States is trying to promote to a vast amount of Burmese citizens a nonviolent movement. That takes time to join all of the ethnic minorities together that have been struggling for such a long time. That is what they are working on, and they are getting things accomplished. They are making very large strides toward democracy, and I think maybe with all due respect you are underestimating their actual fight in how much they are participating in this and that our participation as an international community is vital and that we are not fighting their battle for them.
 Page 66       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. VALLELY. I think it is a very difficult question. Chairman Smith had a lot of the answers, the other side has a lot of the guns and they are fearful. And also I think it has a little to do with the failure of the country. Tiananmen Square happened because China is successful.
    What happened in 1988 is because Burma failed. What is happening in the other transitions in Asia, successful countries make a transition and failed countries like this one become a narco regime, and narco regimes are hard to get rid of. The U.S. experience in Panama where we tried to embargo the country, we did embargo the country, but ultimately you need to use military support because in a narco regime there is so much support for getting funds somewhere else.
    I think the UNOCAL thing is a little bit different than it has been presented. I think a brochure the way that it was described is a silly document. There is a huge amount of forced labor in the country. The forced labor actually adds to the decline in the economy. It is not free, it is expensive because you take people out of their homes, you don't let them feed their families, and forced labor is causing part of the economic collapse in the countryside. It is a failed State with a narco support, and those traditionally have been very difficult to dislodge because the normal things that would dislodge them don't do that, and I think that makes the question——
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Would you see the leadership, the SLORC, being willing to accept what Aung San Suu Kyi put to me, and that is a forgive-and-forget policy which would permit them then to be able to have a safe haven in the future, realizing if they don't make a deal like this now, in the future their future is going to be very limited?
    Mr. VALLELY. I appreciate those comments, and I support those comments. And the last time I testified I did use Chile as the example that I would pursue here. And I think the Congressman's description is a Chile-style operation where the military gets some form of amnesty and the civilian government takes hold.
 Page 67       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I used to think that was more of an option than I do now. I don't know if I share your view that it is a better time than it was. I think there is too much going on, too much fear of collapse around them, too much support from China. I think that they are very nervous. I think they are extremely hated, and I think that hatred of the army by the people adds to their fear. It might add to your ultimate goal here, but I think they are fearful now, and they are so scared and I hope the Chairman does go to Burma. I think it is a good experience. You won't come away happy, but you will get a better sense of is this type of arrangement possible. The question is if we did want to go to a Chile-style operation, is the United States willing to change its policy sufficient enough to support that, and I think that is deliberation that the Committee would have to take under consideration.
    Ms. PACK. With that very, very pessimistic view, maybe I will try to offer a little optimism. Having followed Burma not as long as many of the people in this room, and not being from Burma, I don't consider myself an expert, but I feel there have been glimmers of hope over the last couple of years. There have been exercises by people inside the country. I remember talking to State Department officials 5 years ago who were saying: ''It is so quiet in there, nothing is happening. The people have to do something. This is their movement. They have to exhibit some sort of energy inside the country.''
    Now, we are seeing that. We are seeing Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD ''pushing the envelope'', some people think too much and at their own risk.
    We see some of the ethnic groups, even some of those who have signed ceasefire agreement joining in support of the NLD. We see students taking to the streets once again, in small groups, yes, but again pushing the envelope from inside the country.
    I think if you watch the dynamics along the borders, and as I said, the increased military presence in the ethnic States, this has totally changed the picture of what Burma is today. Some of these soldiers who are occupying the ethnic States have not received pay. They have not received clothing. They don't have food. They are living off the land. They are living off the people. How much longer can that go on without something happening?
 Page 68       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Thank you.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I hope your optimism is justified. I know all of us here share this desire that this country, they are so far away on the other side of the world and these people who are long-suffering can have their suffering relieved, and there can be a democracy come to the country.
    Can I ask the Chairman a question. What would the Chairman's position be on a proposition of a Chile-like settlement in Burma?
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Frankly, I think as we have seen in South Africa, in El Salvador with the Peace Commission, reconciliation efforts that are often brokered by peace commissions try to lay the information on the table but provide, as they did in El Salvador, that the offending parties could never run for office. There are some penalties, but they are rather benign rather than staying in prison for such egregious crimes.
    I think the only way to dislodge a dictatorship is to provide some kind of a way out, as difficult as that may be for the families who have lost loved ones and for those who have suffered. But it has worked in El Salvador as an example and Chile is another. So it is a prescription for a realistic, positive outcome. And as Secretaries Smith and Boyce pointed out, this is a window of opportunity, if you will, if the SLORC would only grab that brass ring. After this we may be looking at Rwanda or Bosnia-type war crimes tribunals. So hopefully the message that goes out to our media, goes out to the embassy officials who are here, will be that this is the time, seize the opportunity. I am rarely asked a question, but thank you.
    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I yield back the balance of my time.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you.
    I have one final question to Ms. Pack. We know that the Thai Government has invited UNHCR to help with the refugees on the Thai border. Do you see this as a step toward repatriation or would they provide protection or resettlement opportunities for some other form of protection rather than a repatriation?
 Page 69       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Ms. PACK. First of all, I am happy that you mentioned that, Chairman Smith, because we really want to applaud the Thai Government for this invitation to UNHCR.
    There is a great fear among the refugees and the NGO communities, however, that this entrance by UNHCR may be a precursor to a major repatriation, particularly of the Karen, and one that is far too premature.
    I think it is up to the United Nations and the donor countries to be very vigilant about how this role for UNHCR is designed. And we at Refugees International ask your help in doing that. I think there is a great opportunity for enhanced protection and security with the UNHCR there, but we must monitor the situation very, very closely.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Thank you, Ms. Pack. Would anybody like to add anything before we adjourn?
    Ms. AUNG-THWIN. I disagree with Mr. Vallely. I think ASEAN is quite strong now because of the dissent that is going on. I think what is happening in Indonesia and what is happening today in Malaysia, after the arrest of Mr. Ibrahim. His supporters were told not to go out in the streets and have rallies, and yet they are. That kind of news, when they get it from Radio Free Asia, because the SLORC will not play that kind of news in the State-controlled media for obvious reasons, I think that gives the Burmese great inspiration.
    Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Let me just add one additional example of where reconciliation seems to have gathered a head of steam, and that is in the north of Ireland.
    Tomorrow our subcommittee will hold a meeting with the rapporteur who has done a report on what has happened in the north of Ireland, and I will never forget on a trip that I took to the north of Ireland, meeting with both the Protestants and the Catholics who were part of terrorist groups, as well as the legitimate organizations, both were willing, to maybe ''forgive'' is too strong a word, but pragmatically see it as a means to an end. Even some of the notorious IRA gunmen who have been convicted through due process have been released, and it would seem that it is creating an atmosphere in which democracy can flourish. So it does provide hope for Burma.
 Page 70       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The hearing is adjourned, and thanks to our witnesses.
    [The prepared statement of UNOCAL appears in the appendix.]
    [Whereupon, at 12:40 p.m., the joint Subcommittees were adjourned.]


    Insert "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."