Myanmar’s Chief Censor Is Closing His Office –

Progress in Burma?  An Arab Spring without the morning after fallout?  Is this country opening to follow the Chinese model or market reform with some political opening?

His office was once the site of an interrogation center run by Japan’s feared military police during World War II. And that is how U Tint Swe got his nickname: the literary torturer.

“We didn’t arrest or torture anyone, but we had to torture their writing,” Mr. Tint Swe said, his serious expression yielding to a faint smile

via Myanmar’s Chief Censor Is Closing His Office –


4 thoughts on “Myanmar’s Chief Censor Is Closing His Office –”

  1. A look at the Economist magazine’s 2011 Democracy Index (an index that classifies 166 countries of the world from most to least democratized) places Myanmar at the very bottom of the list as number 166. Even from reading this article, it is apparent that the country is still led by a very strong, highly-centralized government. However, I’m highly interested in where it will fall in next year’s index. I find it to be quite monumental that the government there no longer sees a need to censor everything that its citizens are writing. Above all else, I was quite surprised that Mr. U Tint Swe — a man who needless to say is of an older age — not only has access to, but seems to know how to use Facebook. My own grandfather doesn’t even know how to use the internet, and yet this man from Myanmar seems to have it down already. Maybe Myanmar was well overdue to take a step in this direction….

    An interesting side note with regards to that Democracy Index is that the USA only ranks 19th, falling behind countries like Ireland (12), the Czech Republic (16), Uruguay (17), and only just beating out a closely trailing Costa Rica (20), Spain (25), and Mauritius (24). I don’t mean to stray from the topic of Myanmar, but maybe this is a good opportunity — especially with the nearing elections — for us all to take a step back and evaluate how our own country is lagging behind other democracies in the world.

    Here’s the link to that 2011 Democracy Index — it’s quite an interesting article. Definitely worth reading……

  2. Late last year, Hilary Clinton became the first secretary of state to visit Myanmar as well as the highest ranking American to visit in about 50 years. This visit came after a few reforms were made by Myanmar’s government. Many were concerned that the US was rewarding Myanmar too quickly after only small reforms. There are definitely many things to still be concerned about in Myanmar, among them human rights issues. Reforms, such as closing the censorship office, are going slowly, but they are still taking place. I too am interested to see where Myanmar falls in next year’s Democracy Index, especially if they continue with reforms such as these.

    This article discusses Clinton’s visit to Myanmar in November of last year.

  3. An interesting side note to the democratization of Myanmar is the country’s relationship with the United States and China. Although it may be moving away from the political ideology of its closer neighbor; the recent economic relationship keeps China and Myanmar close. And while the US has lessened sanctions on Myanmar, it may not be enough to successful secure an alliance that could help the US increase political influence in the region and its access to natural resources.

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