Asia

The Burmese Prospect

I WAS THE AUSTRALIAN Ambassador to Burma from 1980 to 1982 during the rule of President U Ne Win. A recent visit to Burma enabled me to make some comparisons with conditions there then and now. I do not believe the political situation is any worse than it was in 1980–82 or at any other time during Ne Win’s rule. At no time were there any representative institutions, freedom of the press or expression or even freedom of thought. “How can one man [Ne Win] hold an entire country in absolute thraldom?” the Sri Lankan ambassador asked me when I…

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