Thaddeus McCotter

In 1962, General Ne Win led a military coup d’etat and established a police state. By 1988, the government’s economic mismanagement and political oppression sparked widespread pro-democracy demonstrations. The junta responded by ordering its soldiers to fire upon the unarmed civilians, of which over 3,000 were murdered; and tens of thousands of other freedom-seekers were subjected to forced labor, systematic rape, and genocide. The latest tyrant to stage a coup, General Than Shwe, deposed then ruler General Saw Maung from power and formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); declared marital law in 1989; and finalized plans for People’s Assembly elections. On May 27, 1990, the government held free elections and the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won 392 out of a total of 485 seats. Rejected by the voters, the junta reacted by annulling the elections and clinging to power. Outraged citizens filled Rangoon and several other towns, demanding the junta transfer power and release all political prisoners. By mid-September, the SLORC was cracking down on dissident monks; shutting NLD offices; and imprisoning over 20 senior officials of the NLD. The repressive measures worked; and, until this year, all attempts to establish political alternatives to the junta had been suppressed.

Only one year removed from its own massacre of democracy at Tiananmen, at the time communist China was little concerned with the actions of its sibling – except for asking the junta to reach cease-fire agreements with some ethnic guerilla groups, in order to prevent Burmese ethnic communities from destabilizing the two nations’ common border.

Over the ensuing years, Burma has come to rely upon a steady stream of capital and consumer goods coming from communist China’s border. Economic cooperation has been significant between the two countries, as communist China has influenced the development of state-owned enterprises, modern infrastructure, and energy initiatives in Burma. Additionally, communist China consumes vast amounts of heavily discounted Burmese timber, oil, and gas. Burma’s abysmal human rights record and historically dismal economic management make it a very unattractive trading partner in the eyes of other nations. Thus, communist China is intent on preserving its sibling dictatorship in Burma for two reasons: one, it limits international competition for Burma’s resources; and, two, it props up the economies of communist China’s impoverished southwestern provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan, and Sichuan. Per these provinces, in particular, and international strategic aims, in general, communist China has entered into long-term agreements with the Burmese junta to modernize shipyards and ports and exploit transportation networks, including building new roads linking Burma with the aforementioned southwestern communist Chinese provinces.

Militarily, the Burmese junta receives 90% of its weapons from communist China, which sells these armaments at “friendship prices.” The communist Chinese have also trained the Burmese Army, which at 400,000 members is Southeast Asia’s second largest military, and armed it with over $2 billion in communist Chinese weaponry and materiel since 1989. Also, communist China is heavily involved in constructing deep water harbors suitable for naval operations on Burmese territory, including the Indian Ocean’s Coco Islands, where in late 1992 U.S. satellites detected an enormous electronic surveillance station (most likely operated by communist Chinese technicians). Our intelligence reports how, anxious to spy on and intimidate India with regards to border disputes, communist China is pressing the Burmese regime for access to three major, strategically located listening islands along Myanmar’s coast, one of which is near the northern entrance to the Strait of Malacca.

While deplorable, it is not surprising Communist China remains as disdainful of the plight of the Burmese freedom-seekers as it was in 1990 (a year removed from Tiananmen Square), when it offered no official reaction to the junta’s nullification of a free election. In 2007, after Burmese troops opened fire on monks and their supporters in Rangoon on the bloodiest day of the week-long protests, the United Nations (UN) Security Council held an emergency session to consider a joint call by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) for sanctions; but any thought of imposing international sanctions upon the Burmese regime was blocked by communist China and Russia, who had tried to halt the late night council meeting.

On October 5th, following his mission to Burma, UN Envoy Ibrahim Gambari reported to the Security Council, which commenced drafting a statement condemning the Burmese junta’s violent repression; demanding the release of political detainees, notably the democratic leader Suu Kyi; and supporting open talks between the government and the opposition party. But dissent from communist China and its prodigal fellow traveler, Russia, has delayed the release of the statement until next week, if then.

In accord with its doctrinal insistence human liberty threatens a nation’s security and prosperity, communist China’s UN Representative Wang Guangya argued Myanmar’s [Burma’s] internal problems were “complicated” and “do not constitute a threat to international and regional peace and security.” Further opines this communist humanitarian: “It is quite understandable for the outside world to express concern and expectation regarding the situation on the ground… However, pressure would not serve any purpose and would lead to confrontation or even the loss of dialogue and cooperation between Myanmar and the international community, including the United Nations." Then in an old school totalitarian perversity of morality, Mr. Wang warned how, "If the situation in Myanmar takes a worse turn because of external intervention, it will be the people of Myanmar who bear the brunt." In human terms, if the Free World tries to help the freedom-seekers being slaughtered, it will be the Free World’s fault the Burmese junta has to shoot more of its defenseless subjects.

Yet while communist China and Russia are blocking Security Council sanctions, the U.S. is not content to just beg for Beijing’s assistance in protecting the Burmese freedom-seekers. America has also frozen the U.S.-held assets of 14 senior Burmese officials and imposed a U.S. travel ban upon more than 200 of the junta’s officials and family members. While insufficient to depose the junta, the U.S. response still bests the collective UN response to date, wherein communist China and Russia agreed to a watered-down Security Council press statement expressing "concern" and urging "restraint especially from the government." Any stronger resolution is unlikely, as communist China and Russia – who both have long defended the Burmese regime in the UN and both well remember Ronald Reagan’s “interference” in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – clearly oppose UN sanctions to end the killings and spread liberty, on the grounds such an action would constitute interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country (like, say, using sanctions to stop the genocide in communist China’s ally Sudan).

Apart from evidencing the English academe has dropped George Santayana down the memory hole, the British UN Ambassador wryly provided this fetid episode of “Freedom on the Farce” with its defiling moment: Ever so tactfully resurrecting the specter of potentially prosecuting the junta’s leaders for crimes against humanity, John Sawers gravely intoned to the Burmese butchers and the world "the age of impunity is dead and people will be held accountable for their actions they take." This from a member of a Security Council which, in return for recognizing the junta’s continued role in Burma, crows communist China has finally deigned to “strongly deploring” the extermination of humans and the extinguishing of freedom.

The sibling butchers of Rangoon and Tiananmen got the joke.


Thaddeus McCotter

A life-long resident of southeast Michigan, U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter was first elected to Congress in 2002 to represent the citizens of Western Oakland and Western Wayne Counties.

Be the first to read Thaddeus McCotter’s column.
Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.
Sign up today


TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP