Burma leads the world in number of child soldiers. Kids are literally pulled off the street and “drafted”:
While 15-year-old San Lin Aung stood waiting for a train home at Pyinmana railroad station, an army sergeant approached him and asked to see his ID. The boy couldn’t produce one, so the soldier sent him to an army recruitment unit in Mingalardon, on the outskirts of Rangoon. The officer in charge of the unit refused to enlist him, but another unit in Mandalay accepted him without question. Two 14 year-olds, Kyaw Min Thu from South Dagon, and a youngster from North Okkalapa, were also forcibly recruited by the army in late April, according to reports.
There may be as many as 70,000 child soldiers (and the number is growing) in Burma, according to a 2002 Human Rights Watch report. Because of this and all the other horrible things happening in Burma, the press there is heavily censored and intimidated, according to Reporters Without Borders. Meanwhile, across southeast Asia, Pure Land Buddhism was officially recognized by the government of Vietnam. This is not a small thing for a Communist government to do! And more good news about Tibet (from China’s officially news agency):the economy is growing by leaps and bounds and five million tourists are expected to visit in 2008!
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