Aung San Suu Kyi taken to task for ignoring renaming of Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi has said she sees nothing wrong with calling her country Burma even though the government objects, as it uses the name Myanmar.

Opposition activists have used the name Burma as a form of protest against the now-defunct army junta that renamed the country two decades ago.

The election commission complained last week that Ms Suu Kyi repeatedly called the nation Burma during her recent trips to Thailand and Europe. The commission said she should stop and respect the constitution. Speaking in Rangoon (now Yangon), she pointed out that the name was altered in 1989 “without consulting any public opinion”. She said she would use whatever term she wants.

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The distinction between the names exists in English but not in the local language.

The government meanwhile released 23 political prisoners, as Burma continues to expand the political freedoms that saw Ms Suu Kyi able to travel abroad for the first times in decades last month. Under president Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian regime, which took office in March last year, more than 650 political prisoners were freed between May last year and January.