Some of the world's best-known novelists, poets and artists of Asian heritage called on the Myanmar junta to stop its repressive campaign against pro-democracy advocates and release political prisoners.
Thirty artists signed an "open letter to Burma," as the country was previously called, that condemned the bloody crackdown on popular street protests last week.
The government said 10 people were killed, but dissident groups put the death toll at up to 200 and say 6,000 people were detained, including thousands of Buddhist monks who led the protests.
Among those who signed the letter, which was dated on Wednesday, were novelists Maxine Hong Kingston (author of The Woman Warrior), Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Amitav Ghosh (The Glass Palace) and Le Ly Hayslip (When Heaven and Earth Changed Places).
Other signatories included famed artist-architect Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
"As citizens of the world, as artists valuing free expression, as people of Asian heritage, we write in support of the courageous Buddhist monks and nuns, and other people from all religions and walks of life in Burma, as they continue to seek peaceful change and national reconciliation," the letter said.