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Burmese Regime Urged To Ban Publications Calling Country ‘Burma’

Sun., June 30, 1996, midnight

The state-controlled press urged the military regime Saturday to ban publications that call their country Burma rather than Myanmar, the name adopted by the government.

Calling the Southeast Asian nation Burma is an “insult,” according to an article signed “Patriot” in the English-language New Light of Myanmar.

The ruling junta, known as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, or SLORC, announced in 1989 that Burma would henceforth be known as Myanmar and the capital, Rangoon, as Yangon.

Myanmar is the name most citizens use, feeling it represents the entire country, while Burma, the name given by British colonizers, recognizes only the ethnic Burmese. The regime rejects it and all who use it as neo-colonialist. Yangon is the way inhabitants pronounce the name of the capital city. Rangoon is a British approximation.

In what amounts to a denial of the regime’s legitimacy, pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi uses the old names.

Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, rose to prominence in 1988, when the current junta came to power by suppressing pro-democracy protests. She was freed in July after six years of house arrest. The military has ruled Burma since 1962.

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