As the rule of Burma’s paramount leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, drags on and Burma sinks deeper into crisis, the behavior patterns and political moves of this aging despot are the subject of increasing attention and speculation. The very fate of Burma is linked to Than Shwe, whose manic, xenophobic and superstitious character bode ill for a country that needs to pull itself into the 21st century and into the international community of democratic nations.
Since the start of 2006, The Irrawaddy has been keeping a special file on Than Shwe, and it forms the basis of a new online feature, the Than Shwe Watch. We shall be following his movements, his decisions, statements, and also carrying anecdotes and grapevine news about this enigmatic figure. Perhaps this chronology will yield clues about the future course of Burma.
Than Shwe Watch
December 14, 2007
Than Shwe Opens 'Cyber City'
Burmese junta head, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, visited Yadanabon Myothit, Burma’s Silicon Valley in Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly known as May Myo) Township in Mandalay Division, to attend the opening of Burma's first "cyber city" on Thursday. Than Shwe also visited the elite military school, Defense Service Academy (DSA). Than Shwe was expected to watch the SEA Games Football final on Friday— the competition was between Burma and Thailand, its historical rival.
December 04, 2007In a message on the 87th anniversary of National Day, Snr-Gen Than Shwe exhorts the people to join with the government in implementing the seven-step roadmap to building a democratic state with patriotic spirit, nationalism and union spirit.
November 30, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe sees off Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein who leaves by air for Cambodia at the invitation of the prime minister of Cambodia Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.
November 19, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe sees off Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein who will attend the 13th Asean summit and related meetings to be held in Singapore.
November 16, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe, the patron of the Union Solidarity and Development Association, addresses a speech at the annual USDA meeting held at the University of Veterinary Science on Yezin University Campus. In a speech, he stresses that the Seven-step Road Map is the only means to a smooth transition towards a new State, and they have started to implement the third step of the Seven-step Road Map towards democracy.
November 15, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe meets the Chinese government’s special envoy, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, in Naypyidaw with other senior members of the SPDC, including Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, Gen Thura Shwe Mann, Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein and Secretary-1 Lt-Gen Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo. On this occasion, Wang calls on the junta to speed up democratic reforms, state-run media reports.
November 08, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe sees off Prime Minister Gen Thein Sein who leaves by air from Naypyidaw airport on a state visit to the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
November 02, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe meets Yasuaki Nogawa, the newly accredited ambassador of Japan, for the first time since a Japanese journalist was killed during the September protests.
October 24, 2007In his message to the 62nd anniversary of United Nations, Snr-Gen Than Shwe warns that an unsustainable environmental poses a threat to global security.
Than Shwe appoints Lt-Gen Thein Sein to head the cabinet as prime minister and also assigns duties to hardliner Lt-Gen Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo as Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council.
October 14, 2007Snr-Gen Than Shwe and his wife, Kyaing Kyaing, attend the state funeral for the late prime minister, Gen Soe Win, held at Mingaladon Defence Services General Hospital.
Together with his deputy, Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, and other top brass, Than Shwe is photographed at the funeral shaking hands with diplomats. The state-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, devotes a front page report to the event.