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HRW seeks China's intervention in Myanmar

world Updated: Oct 18, 2007 09:30 IST

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Noting that China is one of Myanmar's largest investor, a United States human rights watchdog has urged Beijing to use its influence to help end "state repression" in Myanmar.

"Chinese officials have publicly called for 'cooperation and dialogue' between the Burmese generals and their critics, but said nothing when these critics were arrested, disappeared or killed," regretted Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Richardson called for suspension of involvement by state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation and Sinopec, both official Olympic partners, in proposed Myanmar-China oil and natural gas pipelines.

He also wanted the state-owned firms, with business ties to Myanmar to publicly and fully disclose all payments made to the Myanmar military, directly or through the entities it controls.

"If China takes a strong stand on Burma now, it will be credited rather than criticized on 08-08-08," said Richardson. "Doing so isn't just right; it's also in China's self-interest."

HRW asked China to immediately place an embargo on all weapons transfers from Myanmar, suspend all military training, transport, assistance, and cooperation and support or abstain from vetoing UN Security Council resolutions calling for sanctions or other collective action to address the crisis.

HRW noted that 08/08/08 will not only be the opening date of the Beijing Olympics, but will also mark the 20th anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy protests in Myanmar during which an estimated 3,000 people were killed.