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» 10/08/2007
MYANMAR
Opposition supporters burnt alive in Yangon crematorium
AsiaNews sources confirm the existence of a crematorium in the suburbs of the former capital to hide the number of victims and add: detainees seriously injured during the September protests are also being thrown in. The junta’s fear of the monks grows: the largest Buddhist monasteries are ordered to transfer outside city limits and seminaries are closed.

Yangon (AsiaNews) –Myanmar’s repression has become open religious persecution and the cruelty used against protesters asking for an end to the dictatorship, has gone beyond all stretches of the imagination.  AsiaNews sources confirm the existence of a crematorium in the suburbs of Yangon, where soldiers burn the bodies of protesters as well as detainees gravely injured during the anti-regime demonstrations.  In this way the military junta hopes to make it impossible to estimate the exact number of victims.

These same sources – anonymous for obvious security reasons – tell of a veritable persecution and absurd measures being used against the Buddhist monasteries, the starting point of the peaceful protests against the generals.  The government is waging a defamatory campaign against the monks, who – according to state media – do not follow Buddha’s teachings, violate his laws and thus deserve to be punished.  But as criminals, they underline, not as political prisoners.  The propaganda machine meanwhile continues to propose pro government marches throughout the country: every family must “contribute” one or two members, or face a fine and up to 3 months prison, Burmese citizens explain.  They add: “People take part, but refuse to shout the slogans imposed by the regime”.

The tone is one of open religious persecution. This weekend authorities called the heads of the major monasteries and ordered they be transferred outside city limits in an attempt to quell the protests.  “We are worried for the fate of the monks – they say in Yangon – how will they survive outside the city, or collect alms which are their only maintenance”.  The government fears most of all the activities of the young novice monks, on the frontline of marches since August.  This is why it has ordered that seminaries be closed, and that all student monks return to their villages of origin.

The harsh international criticism and the threat of UN sanctions have in no way upset the Burmese generals, who have ruled the country with an iron fist for over 45 years.  Yesterday fresh raids and arrests were carried out.  Authorities maintain that they found arms, knives and bullets in some monasteries.  According to the State newspaper “The New Light of Myanmar”, 135 monks are still being detained along with 78 civilians under interrogation.  Diplomats and activists say these estimates are false and speak instead of more than 6 thousand people detained and “hundreds” dead.  Eye witnesses tell  AsiaNews: “Soldiers strip the arrested monks of their tunics, as if to avoid committing a sacrilege, and then during the interrogation they beat and torture them”.

 


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See also
10/03/2007 MYANMAR
Repression continues, new forms of protests appear in Yangon
09/22/2007 MYANMAR
Thousands of monks march on Yangon “until the regime falls”
11/26/2009 MYANMAR
The Burmese junta continues the persecution of Buddhist monks
08/20/2008 MYANMAR
Burmese junta prevents Christians and Buddhists from providing help, increasing censorship
11/30/2007 MYANMAR
Junta shuts down monastery close to pro-democracy movement

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
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Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

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