Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi

After the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she announced she would use her $1.3 million winnings to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people. Whether that trust ever got off the ground under the repressive regime of the reclusive state is unclear. A trawl of Burmese discussion forums on the Internet suggests that people in the country have never heard of the project and express doubts that Burma's military rulers would have allowed Suu Kyi to go ahead with the endowment. In 2007, a Burmese national newspaper reported that the government had accused Suu Kyi of tax evasion for spending her Nobel money abroad and not in Burma. The accusations were widely interpreted as unjustified and regarded as yet another attack by the government on its most influential critic. — R.F.