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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid