VOA Burmese Blog

July 13, 2011

The Dalai Lama’s Exclusive Interview with VOA

The Dalai Lama sat down with VOA yesterday on July 12, 2011 to tell us about his life now-after he stepped down his role as the Tibetan exiled government leader. He actually reveals that he feels ” freer”. He also wanted to meet with the staff of the Mandarin service (Chinese service) because he had a special message for China. If he were ever asked to help relations with China, he said, he would. Watch the full interview here.

My coworkers have had the chance to meet and talk to the Dalai Lama back in 1997- over 14 years ago; and they remember his kindness and enthusiasm in lending a hand to his Buddhist counterparts in Burma. (picture attached) I’ve been in the same room with the Dalai Lama; and whether he is talking to you in a small conference room or to thousands of people during his meditation services, he exudes the same great aura and that special kind hearted spirit. He is unbelievably down to earth and personable- and he is also controversial to many people and nations around the world.

The Dalai Lama  – Intv. Part 1:

The Dalai Lama – Intv. Part 2:


Attached are the pictures of the Dalai Lama during the interview yesterday. Hope you enjoy.

With Metta,



Kyaw Win’s Exclusive Interview with VOA


Burmese defector, U Kyaw Win resigned from his position 10 days ago. In an exclusive interview with VOA Burmese Service, he talks about his fellow defector and former colleague, Soe Aung’s resignation.


Kyaw Win:


As far as I know, he was summoned back to (Burma) within 24 hours.  That indicated he’s considered guilty of wrongdoing.  It also indicates that the Burmese government does not trust the civilian staffer. They trust only ex-military officials.
VOA: Why 24 hours? What kind of wrongdoing do you think?

KW: I believe that it is related to my defection. But, I’ve never seen such a practice throughout my career, that someone was summoned back within 24 hours. It is very difficult to gauge why they hastily wanted him back in the country.
VOA: Can you tell me more about why do you think there’s discrimination (between the civilian diplomatic staff, and the ex-military)?

KW: Look at the investigations being done for my defection. Why is Soe Aung only accused, who is a civilian staffer? There are so many other people responsible in the Washington office. Everyone is responsible whenever anything happens in the office, so they should be investigated all together.
Also, throughout my career, I’ve noticed that there’s unequal treatment to the civilian staff, in reference to promotion, transfer and benefits. We don’t mind serving as followers and assisting those who are qualified for the jobs. However, in many cases, our seniors and bosses are not really qualified.

We (both ex-army and civilians) have equal love for the country. And nobody should think we are more patriotic than the other or that one side only deserves to lead the country.
VOA: What have you heard about other embassy staffers who have returned to Burma? We hear that they’re being investigated for your defection.



KW: I hope that they will be alright. Think about that – how would they know my defection. Why would I tell them?
VOA: Yet they’re being investigated…

KW: Yes, they are. But I don’t know much detail.
VOA: U Soe Aung was summoned back to Burma. Do you think that (his summons) was related to your defection? Can you elaborate?

KW: They (U Soe Aung and the two other civilian diplomats under investigation in Burma) are being blamed for not knowing about my defection earlier. But you know that they are my inferiors.
VOA: You stated that when you defected last week that the Foreign Ministry in Burma was disappointed about your attempts to improve relations between the U.S. and Burma. What particular areas?

KW: To improve bilateral relations, we have a lot of give and take and compromise and a lot of negotiations. What I understand about U.S. policy toward Burma is that it very much depends on improving the human rights record and democratic reforms in Burma.
What is difficult for me to understand, as you know, is the human rights situation especially in the remote areas is getting worse. But for me, I think, working throughout my career, I was hoping that the situation would improve gradually. But it hasn’t.
After 1998, (the military leaders) promised changes but it never happened. And in 2004, the (new) government led by General Khin Nyunt was talking about the changes, but it again never happened. Things are getting worse…

Another Burmese Defector in Less than 10 Days…

Filed under: Uncategorized — voaburmese @ 7:34 pm


In fear for his safety, another senior Burmese diplomat has defected. Soe Aung defected within less than 10 days after Kyaw Win’s resignation. VOA News reports…


( Radio report- transcribed: )


Soe Aung, the Burmese embassy’s first secretary in Washington, on Wednesday sent a letter to the U.S. State Department declaring he wanted to defect.


He told VOA’s Burmese Service that he feared for his safety and that of his family. He has been ordered to return to Burma for an investigation into last week’s defection of another diplomat.


Soe Aung said he was told Tuesday that he must return to Burma within 24 hours, accompanied by a military official. His and his wife’s diplomatic passports had been confiscated.


Soe Aung told VOA that two other diplomats already have been called back to Burma and placed under investigation.


Kyaw Win, the embassy’s deputy chief of mission, defected last week.


Kyaw Win has said he defected because his efforts to push for reform had been rejected and he feared he would be prosecuted in Burma.


Kyaw Win on Wednesday told VOA’s Burmese Service that he had hoped that following last year’s election, Burma’s military would ease its grip on power and improve its human rights record.




He says the human rights situation is getting worse, especially in remote areas. In 1988, the military leaders promised changes, but they never happened. In 2004, leaders promised change. But it never happened.


Kyaw Win says he thinks Soe Aung and other civilian diplomats are being blamed for his defection, but he says, they were his subordinates. And he says, military and ex-military staff at the embassy are not being investigated.


Aung Din is the executive director of the United States Campaign for Burma, a rights group in Washington. He says diplomats could face stiff punishment if military intelligence authorities decide they have failed in their duties in the Kyaw Win case.




“He will be severely tortured, and he will be sent to the military tribunal for imprisonment. So I believe that he or she will have a great danger when he or she returns back to Burma.”




Burma’s government has long been considered one of the most repressive in the world. The United States and many other governments have imposed tough economic sanctions on the country because of its lack of political reform.


The military described last year’s election, the first in 20 years, as a key element of a plan to return the country to civilian rule after four decades of army leadership.


But critics of the government say the vote solidified military control, since an army-backed party won 80 percent of the elected parliament seats.


Aung Din says there could be more defections in the coming months. That is in part, he says, because the new foreign minister is replacing many career civilian diplomats with people he trusts.


But also, he says, some diplomats may feel the way Kyaw Win does.


Burmese Defector – U Kyaw Win

U Kyaw Win, a Burmese diplomat in Washington, sent a letter to Hillary Clinton stating why he is defecting from his role at the Burmese embassy in DC.

Kyaw Win is seeking asylum in the US because the Burmese government has considered him as a threat to the new parliament as he pushes to develop US and Burma bilateral relations. He is worried about the safety of his family back home in his native land as well as for the safety of the pro democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Win has been serving as a high ranking Burmese diplomat in Washington since 2008.

Below is the letter Kyaw Win had written to Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Diplomat U Kyaw Win’s letter to The Honorable Hillary Clinton

The Honorable Hillary Clinton

The Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dated : July 4, 2011
Dear Secretary Clinton,
I am writing to inform you that, as of today, I have no choice but to leave the service of the
Government of Myanmar and I am formally requesting political asylum in the United States for me and my family. After over 31 years of service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I had lost confidence and my conscience would no longer allow me to work for the government. It has always been my hope that democratic reform could finally be realized in my country. The truth is that, despite the election that was held up as a democratic process, the military continues to hold uncontested power and democratic change under this system will not happen in the foreseeable future.

As the Deputy Chief of Mission to the Myanmar embassy in Washington, I was responsible forreaching out to the Washington, D.C.-based diplomatic community, members of Congress, the media and the governmental and NGO circles. Unfortunately, my efforts of reaching out to groups and individuals here, and my reports suggesting of actions to improve bilateral relation between Myanmar and the U.S. have been continually rejected and resulted in my being deemed dangerous by the government. Because of this, I am also convinced and live in fear that I will be prosecuted for my actions, efforts and beliefs when I return to Naypyidaw after completing my tour of duty here.
When I first began my service in the Foreign Ministry I thought that, over time and perhaps
with the help of my efforts, the military would ease its grip and send Myanmar on a path to
greater political pluralism. However, the truth is that senior military officials are consolidating
their grip on power and seeking to stamp out the voices of those seeking democracy, human
rights and individual liberties. Oppression is rising and war against our ethnic cousins is
imminent and at present, threats are being made against Aung San Suu Kyi –they must be taken seriously.
I have not left the service of my people, but I have defected from working for a government
which is against its countrymen. I know that many in the military believe, like me, that the army of General Aung San has been corrupted and is now an oppressor of the people, not a defender of the people. I want to urge them not to fear democracy, but embrace it as the only way forward that can bring peace to the land we love. They too can become the heroes for whom the army used to represent by preventing violence and take steps to ease tensions and build respect with our ethnic minorities.
Madam Secretary, I respectfully want to urge you to use the political will of the United States
to create through an international body, a council of inquiry to investigate the human rights
violations that have taken place in the conflict zones of my country by the government’s armed forces or any other armed groups. I also respectfully urge you to fully implement highly targeted financial sanctions against the government and their cronies that serve to keep them in power.These sanctions can play a critical role in denying the regime, and the businessmen who live off of them, access to the international financial system.
The United States has played a special role in standing up for democracy and freedom in my
country. Please, it is more important than ever that my country not be allowed to disappear
behind the headlines of countries experiencing their own troubles. There are many civil servants and those in the military who can benefit greatly from greater exposure to the international community and international norms and values. Continued engagement with my government at all levels can help open a window, change the mindset imprinted by the regime, and let them see an alternative path towards peace and freedom.
Recently, Mongolian President Elbegdorj, a strong supporter of democracy in my country,
spoke in Washington where he stated that “no dictatorship, no military regime, no authoritarian government can stand against the collective will of a people who want to be free.” I could not agree more and I hope those words start the leaders in Naypyidaw thinking about how to build  meaningful peace and prosperity in Myanmar.
I look forward to devoting my time, energy and my future to the freedom of my homeland. I
thank you for your efforts on behalf of my countrymen and, as the American people celebrate their Independence Day, we will one day soon celebrate ours. The democracy movement in my country cannot be crushed. It is alive and well and at some point will prevail.
Kyaw Win
I also included a video of Kyaw Win in January of 2010, when he came outside to speak and work out relations with protesters outside of the Burmese embassy. You can see his picture at 1:53.

Is China the Root of All Problems for Tibet, North Korea and Burma?

Top US officials, a well known actor and advocates of democracy came together to discuss US policies and engagement with Tibet, North Korea and Burma. China was the culprit of the hearing and Congress questioned the motives and impact of China on the nations.

English Version:

Burmese Version:

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