News / Asia

    Burmese Government Demands Opposition Use 'Myanmar'

    VOA News
    The nominally civilian Burmese government is demanding that democracy icon and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi stop referring to the country as "Burma," the colonial name still used by dissidents and many foreign governments.

    In a terse statement Friday published by state-controlled media, the Union Election Commission called on the Nobel laureate's National League for Democracy party to call the country the "Republic of the Union of Myanmar." 

    That name was adopted more than two decades ago by the military junta that ruled the country until last year. The name "Myanmar" was also enshrined in the country's 2008 constitution, which was written under junta supervision.

    Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD party have vigorously opposed the name change, with officials arguing that the country has for centuries been referred to as Burma in English. NLD legal adviser Nyan Win said that English-language references to "Burma" are not against the law.
     
    Nyan Win noted the Burmese-language version of the constitution does call the country Myanmar, but the English version does not.

    The NLD adviser said the existing English-language constitution is not an "authentic translation." As he put it, "We don't even know who translated it into English."

    Another senior NLD official, Win Tin, was more blunt.

    He said the official warning shows that Burma's government "is just trying to restrict ... and harass" the National League for Democracy.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has not commented on the warning. She was scheduled to return home late Friday from a two-week tour of Europe, where she frequently referred to her homeland as Burma while speaking in English.

    Global leaders remain split on the name controversy, which is gaining strength as Burma begins implementing democratic reforms while emerging from decades of diplomatic and economic isolation.

    U.S. officials, siding with Aung San Suu Kyi, argue that the name Myanmar was decreed by military rulers and has never been approved either by popular referendum or a democratically elected government. Former colonial power Britain also refers to the country as Burma.

    You May Like

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Mali, a Way Station for Syrians Headed to Europe

    Another door may be closing for Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country, this time in Africa

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: kevinpan from: vancouver
    June 29, 2012 3:46 PM
    Aung San Suu Kyi is a western pet, she only says things to please outsiders.
    In Response

    by: Kyawthu from: Auckland, New Zealand
    July 03, 2012 1:37 PM
    You must be one of those who only say things to please Than Shwe and his cronies. Shame on you!
    In Response

    by: Ko Kyaw Maw from: Rangoon, Burma
    June 30, 2012 9:14 AM
    Rose is rose whatever name you may call.

    Aung San Su Kyi is legitimated real leader . Her party won more than 90% in 1990 election. Again her party won more than 90% again in 2012 bilateral election.

    She is the peoples' real leader. 99% of Myanmar peoples support her, love her. Most of the Myanmar youths can lay down their lives to protect Su Kyi because they know only Su Kyi is the hope for the country. Without her, generals will not move an inch.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora