‘Vote-No’ Campaign Against Burma’s Referendum Heats Up Among Chin People
London, UK: Chin organisations and individual activists continue their campaign, urging Chin people worldwide to vote ‘No’ in the military-drafted forthcoming referendum which is scheduled to take place on 10 May, 2008.
SPDC’s referendum has been branded “unfair” by the campaign, claiming that this is another way of the Junta’s attempt to hold onto power since it is drafted only by the military hand-picked representatives across the country.
Vote-No campaign has ‘mushroomed’ among Chin people even inside the country where there are fears and concerns that anyone casting a ‘No’ vote can face severe punishment by the military authorities.
Pu Cin Sian Thang of Zomi National Congress (ZNC) talked about the people’s dilemma of voting and concerns over their fates if they vote ‘No’ as he urged them not to worry about the regime’s reprisal but to cast the ‘No’ vote, according to Mizzima News.
The campaign highlighted the importance of participation in the polls and making their voices heard, saying this is a very rare opportunity for the peoples of Burma.
Salai Bawi Lian Mang of Chin Human Rights Organisation (CHRO) said, “The voice of the Chin public in the upcoming referendum will be symbolically significant given that the Chins are co-founding member of the Union of Burma. We, the Chin people, should wholeheartedly participate in the upcoming referendum with a clear conscience and express our sincere opinion.”
On the other hand, SPDC Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Brigadier General Thura Aung Ko and Chin State SPDC Administration Head Brigadier General Hung Ngai have been touring across Chin State, campaigning in support of the regime’s draft constitution since the first week of April, 2008.
The message from the SPDC two Generals to the Chin people is “vote yes if you really want democracy otherwise there will be another 15 years of military rule if you reject the draft constitution.”
In several towns of Chin State and adjacent Sagaing Division, leaflets encouraging the people to vote ‘No’ in the coming referendum have been found. In Thantlang town, a young lady who is one of the Sunday school teachers from the Baptist Church and two other elders were summoned by the local authority regarding the leaflets. The authority released them after long hours of interrogation the following day.
One of a few points, based upon the SPDC’s 104 basic principles, Salai Mang described ‘enough’ for saying ‘No’ said, “All Chin political parties such as Zomi National Congress, Chin National League for Democracy, Mara People’s Party and several elected MP’s during 1990 general election in Burma have been declared illegal organizations by SPDC and no Chin political party will have a place in the coming election.”
Chin university students inside Burma and abroad sent their strong messages in support of the ‘Vote No’ campaign, declaring they are ready to bravely vote ‘No’ in the polls.
Chin National Council also called for worldwide demonstrations against SPDC’s referendum.
Chin Freedom Coalition (CFC) and Burmese Democratic Forces in Washington Metropolitan Area will continue their ‘Vote No’ campaign by marching a peaceful protest in Washington DC, USA on May 3, 2008.
Van Biak Thang
03 May, 2008