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No point to recognize an election which serves the dictator

By Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma  •  February 5, 2010

People in Hong Kong and Burma have been demanding democracy since 1988. Two decades have passed, and we are still denied the right to change the regime through our votes. In Hong Kong, the government is currently conducting a public consultation for election methods to choose the chief executive and Legislative Council with the proposal to limit those who can vote for the chief executive to 1,200 people and retaining the number of seats for the functional constituencies. Likewise, the military government in Burma has reserved 25 percent of the seats for the military through the provisions of the 2008 Constitution and has made the participation of the opposition in the elections virtually impossible. Both political systems in Burma and Hong Kong continue to ensure the control of the ruling class in the name of democracy.

On the road to democracy in Hong Kong, we fight for it through social movements whereas people in Burma fight for it with their lives and freedom. Continuing systematic human rights violations in Burma explain why people keep up the fight inside and outside of the country even at a high cost. There are still more than 2,100 political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who are arbitrarily detained for merely demonstrating peacefully, exercising their freedom of speech and offering help to victims of Cyclone Nargis. Moreover, ethnic nationals continued to be attacked in 2009 by the military and paramilitary forces supported by the government, causing around 5,000 people to flee to Thailand, adding to the 150,000 refugees already on the Thai border, and displacing more than 10,000 people inside the country, increasing the ranks of the half a million people who had previously been displaced in Burma. In addition, it is estimated that 90 percent of people in Burma live below the poverty line. Furthermore, inadequate health care, child soldiers, forced labour and forced relocations are also pressing issues.

Today the Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma, other organizations and individuals, together with Khin Ohmar from Burma Partnership in Thailand, have come to protest against the military government in Burma. It is not only because we are fighting for the same cause of democracy, but we see a connection between Hong Kong and Burma. China and Hong Kong, for example, are the fourth and sixth largest investors in Burma respectively. This statistic implies that corporations in Hong Kong are supporting the military government directly and indirectly to suppress their people in Burma. For this reason, we see one of our roles to be monitoring investors in Hong Kong for the sake of human rights and democracy in Burma.

The Hong Kong Coalition for a Free Burma will not recognize the 2010 election in Burma as it is not free nor fair nor democratic. If the infamous regime in Burma wants to gain legitimacy from their people and the international community, it must release all political prisoners immediately, amend the 2008 Constitution through genuine public consultation and stop attacking ethnic nationals in the country.

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This post is in: Press Release

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