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China Expresses Support for Burma's Democracy Process


A senior Chinese government official says his country "whole-heartedly hopes" for a move toward democracy in Burma, provided the democratic process is appropriate for that country.

A member of China's State Council, Tang Jiaxuan, met with Burma's foreign minister Thursday in Beijing.

The Burmese visitor, U Nyan Win said his government is concentrated on maintaining Burma's internal stability, reinforcing national solidarity and promoting economic development.

Burma's constitutional convention completed drafting guidelines for a new charter earlier this month -- a process that took 14 years. Delegates to the convention were appointed by the military government and did not include any pro-democracy figures.

Human-rights groups say the country's new constitution will strengthen the military's role in politics and bar pro-democracy candidates from participating in elections.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, called on Burma Thursday to release more than 150 protesters detained after demonstrating against the country's sharp increase in fuel prices.

The United States also has urged Burma to allow visits to the detainees by international humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. There have been multiple reports of detainees suffering brutal beatings and interrogations.

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