Ethnic Leader Barred from Public Speaking Engagement
7 December 2009: Burmese authorities had barred a prominent Chin politician from appearing at a pre-arranged public speaking engagement during the gathering of students in Chin State. The move was the latest in a continuing attempt by the military regime to silence dissidents’ voice ahead of the planned 2010 polls.
Pu Chin Sian Thang, the president of Zomi National Congress (ZNC), and MP-elect during the 1990 elections, is a high profile ethnic leader on the national scene. Now based in the former capital Rangoon, Pu Chin Sian Thang was on a rare visit to Chin State late November where he was to deliver a speech to a gathering of about 200 students.
The Chin MP was to appear at a conference organized by Zomi Student Organization in Tiddim in northern Chin State during the last week of November. Ironically, the topic of his speech was to be “Post 2010.”
Chin Sian Thang was among a delegation of prominent ethnic leaders that was met by the visiting high-level US State Department officials in October. Two of his sons are currently serving lengthy prison terms in Burma for their parts in the monk-led mass uprising in 2007 that was brutally put down by the military regime.
A member of Chin Sian Thang’s Zomi National Congress who is based in the US said that the Chin leader was closely monitored by Burmese intelligence officials during his stay in Chin State and was prevented from appearing before the public.
“The house he was staying in was closely monitored upon his arrival in Tiddim on November 23. He wasn’t even allowed to meet his very own people,” the US-based ZNC member told Chinland Guardian.
Chin Siang Thang left Chin State on November 27 having been barred from any public engagement in Chin State.
The Zomi Student Seminar was organized from 24-29 November and participated by about 200 students from colleges and universities around the country.