ASIA: Protests continue against Burma junta in Hong Kong, region

(Hong Kong, September 29, 2007) Protests against the military junta in Burma over its suppression of pro-democracy protestors and monks in recent days continued in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday night, around 300 persons gathered outside the Legislative Council building in the heart of Hong Kong for a three-hour candlelight vigil.

Speakers and participants came from all walks of life, including politicians, human rights defenders, religious practitioners, trade unionists and migrant workers.

Basil Fernando, executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), said that the people of Burma had been pushed to the wall and had no choice but to fight.

“There is no other way to avoid a far bigger catastrophe in Burma than for the people to win this struggle,” Fernando said.

“The indicators are economic. It’s a fight for their very survival,” he said, pointing to recent reports of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the country by the International Committee of the Red Cross and others.

“Before the generals didn’t care about their people, now they don’t even care a damn,” Fernando remarked.

“So it is a battle that the people of Burma simply can’t afford to lose,” he concluded.

Other speakers pledged their continued support for the struggle against dictatorship in Burma.

On Saturday, a group of demonstrators marched to the liaison office of the Beijing government in Hong Kong and submitted a letter calling for stronger action on Burma by the Chinese authorities.

The letter, addressed to President Hu Jintao, called for his help to see that political prisoners would be released, violence ended, and dialogue commenced for national reconciliation in Burma.

Meanwhile, the head of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association on Friday issued an open letter saying that he felt “deep sorrow” over the crackdown and asserting that those responsible for the killing of the monks in Burma would go to hell.

“To shoot innocent monks… amounts to spilling Buddha’s blood,” Sik Kok Kwong was reported in local media as saying.

“Those responsible will fall down to Avici Hell,” he said, referring to the lowest tier of all worlds reserved for those with the worst sins.

The events in Burma have obtained constant media coverage in Hong Kong as in other parts of Asia.

In Bangkok, protestors continued actions outside the Burma embassy there, with a demonstration by hundreds on Friday morning and a candlelight vigil that night.

On Saturday night, an interfaith gathering calling for an end to the bloodshed in Burma also came together outside the embassy.

Similar rallies have taken place in most major cities across Asia.

The images of monks fleeing from marauding troops and riot police have been particularly shocking to people in other countries with large Buddhist populations.

“We simply can’t believe that peaceful monks would be treated in this manner,” said one local participant at Friday night’s vigil.

“Such barbarity is so far outside of our religion and culture that it is as if these events are taking place in another planet, not a nearby country,” another said.

“As fellow Buddhists, we are shocked, outraged and distraught,” she said.

“We hope and pray for the people of Burma that they will be rid of these generals soon,” she added.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PL-041-2007
Countries : Bangladesh, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand,
Campaigns : Burma Peoples Protests