Than Shwe

Than Shwe

Infobox President

| name = Than Shwe
| caption =
order = Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar
primeminister = Khin Nyunt
Soe Win
Thein Sein
vicepresident = Maung Aye
term_start = 23 April 1992
term_end =
predecessor = Saw Maung
successor =
birth_date = birth date and age|1933|02|02|df=y
birth_place = Kyaukse, Mandalay, British India
death_date =
death_place =
spouse = Kyaing Kyaing
party = SPDC
Senior General Than Shwe ( _my. သန်းရွှေ; IPA2|θáɴ ʃwè; born 2 February 1933 [cite web |url= |title=Than Shwe |accessdate=2008-07-02 |publisher=Alternative Asean Network on Burma] ) is Head of State of Myanmar (Burma), serving as Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw and chairman of the State Peace and Development Council since 23 April 1992. SPDC is the new name of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), established in 1988. He is also the Head of Union Solidarity and Development Association. These positions and titles effectively amount to Shwe being what is generally referred to as the "head" of Myanmar's ruling military junta.

Early life and career

Than Shwe was born in Minzu village, near Kyaukse, Mandalay Division. He enlisted in the Burmese colonial army, where he participated in the government's powerful and ruthless counter insurgency campaign against ethnic-Karen guerrillas in eastern Burma. [Brown, Kerry. [,,2179078,00.html "Paranoid, insular and inept, the junta has no Plan B"] , "The Guardian", 28 September 2007, p.37] Shwe was known as a great and merciless fighter; his no-holds-barred style brought a promotion to the rank of captain in 1960.

After the military coup of 1962 by General Ne Win, Than Shwe continued rising steadily through the ranks. He reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1972, Colonel in 1978, Commander of the South West Regional Command in 1983, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Brigadier-General and Deputy Minister of Defence in 1985 and then Major-General in 1986.

He also obtained a seat on the ruling Burma Socialist Programme Party's Central Executive Committee.

Ascent to Power

The State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) was created as a response to the democracy uprising of 1988, and Than Shwe was appointed as one of 21 members of the Cabinet of General Saw Maung.

On 23 April 1992, Saw Maung unexpectedly resigned, citing health reasons, and Than Shwe replaced him as Chairman of the Council, head of state, Secretary of Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Style of leadership

Initially, Than Shwe was seen as a more moderate-style military leader than some of his predecessors. He freed some political prisoners, and released democracy-movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest in the late 1990s. (She won the 1990 presidential election despite being in prison. In 1993, he ordered the writing of a new Constitution.

Than Shwe relaxed some state control over the economy, and has been a vocal supporter of Burma's participation in the Association of South East Asian Nations. He also oversaw a large crackdown on corruption, which saw the sackings of a number of cabinet ministers and regional commanders in 1997.

The convention for the so called "Discipline Democracy New Constitution" was convened from 9 January 1993 to 3 September 2007, a period of more than 14 years and 8 months. Although the main political party, NLD, which won the Multiple Party Democracy General Election in 1990, did not participate, the chairman of National Convention Congress Lieutenant General Thein Sein announced that the creation of the "Constitution" has been accomplished.

He has continued the suppression of the free press in Burma, and has overseen the detention of journalists who oppose his regime. While he oversaw the release of Aung San Suu Kyi during the late 1990s, he also oversaw her return to detention in 2003. Despite his relaxation of some restrictions on Burma's economy, his economic policies have been often criticized as ill-planned.Fact|date=February 2008

He maintains a low profile. He tends to be seen as being sullen and rather withdrawn, a hardliner and an opponent of the democratization of Burma. He marks national holidays and ceremonies with messages in the state-run newspapers, but rarely talks to the press. The lavish wedding of his daughter, involving diamonds and champagne, was particularly controversial in a country whose people continue to suffer enormous poverty and enforced austerity.cite web |url= |title=Drugs and astrology: how 'Bulldog' wields power |accessdate=2008-05-08 |last=Beaumont |first=Peter |coauthors=Alex Duval Smith |date=2007-10-07 |work=The Observer |publisher=The Guardian]

For many years, Than was seen as something of a figurehead as head of state, with the power over policy being held by his ministers. However, more recent reports suggest that, in recent years, he has been consolidating his power over the country. When he reached the mandatory retirement age of 60, he simply extended it, which has led to suggestions that he may remain as head of state for the rest of his life.Fact|date=February 2008

Power struggles have plagued Burma's military leadership. Than Shwe has been linked to the toppling and arrest of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, which has significantly increased his own power.Justin McCurry, Jonathan Watts & Alex Duval Smith, [,,2180173,00.html How Junta stemmed a saffron tide] , September 30, 2007The Observer ] Khin Nyunt was sacked and arrested in 2004. The former premier, who said he supported Aung San Suu Kyi's involvement in the National Convention, was seen as a moderate who was at odds with the junta's hardliners.

In May and November 2006 he met with UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari in the newly-built capital of Naypyidaw, which had replaced Yangon in the previous year, and permitted Gambari to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Myanmar National Hero General Aung San.

Than Shwe refused to meet the United Nations's special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, during his visits to Myanmar in November 2007 and on 10 March 2008. [ [ How Myanmar leader snubs U.N. envoy] , March 11, 2008]

In early May 2008, Than Shwe refused many foreign aid workers from entering the country in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis (May 2, 2008). This led to many criticisms from the UN as well as the international community.

Health and family

He is known to be a diabetic, and he is rumoured to have intestinal cancer. He rarely makes public appearances. [cite web |url= |title=Burma's hardline generals |accessdate=2008-05-08 |date=2007-10-12 |work=BBC News]

Than Shwe flew to Singapore on 31 December 2006. Concerns about Than's health intensified after he failed to appear at an official Independence Day dinner for military leaders, officials and diplomats on 4 January 2007. It was the first time since he took power in 1992 that Than did not host the annual dinner. Than Shwe had checked out of Singapore's General Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment, and returned to Burma two weeks later.

In 2006, home video footage of Than Shwe's daughter, Thandar Shwe's wedding, was leaked on the internet, which sparked controversy and criticism from Burmese and foreign media for the lavish and seemingly ostentatious reception. [cite web |url= |title=Lavish Myanmar junta wedding video sparks outrage |accessdate=2008-05-08 |last=Cropley |first=Ed |date=2006-11-02 |work=The Star Online]

After days of anti-government protests, there were unconfirmed reports that Than Shwe's wife and pets fled the country on 27 September 2007, possibly to Laos. [ [ Than Shwe's family in Laos] Mizzima News, September 27, 2007.]

See also


External links

* [ Than Shwe's daughter's wedding] - YouTube
* [ Understanding Burma's Generals] Dylan Rushton, Founder of the Burmese Movement in Australia 2008

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Than Shwe — im Oktober 2010 Generalissimus Than Shwe (birmanisch သန်းရွှေ, [θáN ʃwè]; * 2. Februar 1933 in Kyaukse, Mandalay Division, Britisch Indien) ist ehemaliger Staatschef …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Than Shwe — est un nom birman ; les principes des noms et prénoms ne s appliquent pas ; U et Daw sont des titres de respect. Than Shwe Than Shwe Mandats …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Than Shwe — Than Shwe. (2 de febrero de 1933). General del Ejército de Myanmar y Jefe del Estado desde el 23 de abril de 1992 en calidad de dictador militar. Se alistó en el ejército con veinte años, ascendiendo a capitán en 1960. Después del golpe de estado …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Than Shwe — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar …   Wikipedia Español

  • Than Shwe — ▪ Myanmar soldier and politician born Feb. 2, 1933, Kyaukse, Burma       Myanmar soldier and politician who was leader of the ruling military junta in Myanmar (Burma) from 1992.       Than Shwe worked as a postal clerk before joining the army in… …   Universalium

  • Than Shwe —    (1933 )    Senior general, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and concurrently commander in chief of the Defence Services, minister of defence, and minister of agriculture. He also served as prime minister until this… …   Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar)

  • Than Shwe — /tan ˈʃweɪ/ (say tahn shway) noun born 1933, Myanmar army general; head of state of Myanmar (chairman of the State Law and Order Restoration Council) 1992–2011 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Shwe — ist der Name von Man Shwe, (1947 ), Militärangehöriger und Politiker aus Myanmar Than Shwe, (1933 ), Militärangehöriger und Politiker aus Myanmar Nyaung Shwe, Ort in Myanmar Diese Seite ist eine Begriff …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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