‘China must act’ Tutu tells Swedes

Desmond Tutu has told an audience in Gothenburg that China must act to stop the violence of Burma's military junta. The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town compared the struggle for democracy in Burma with the struggle to end South Africa's apartheid system.

'China must act' Tutu tells Swedes
Photo: Benny Gool

Tutu said that if China did not act, he would join the campaign to boycott next year’s Beijing Olympics. He praised the bravery of the demonstrators in Rangoon:

“We knew that apartheid would fall and we want to say to our brothers and sisters in Burma that you have been extraordinarily courageous and wonderful. We support your struggle for freedom and justice,” he told a rally outside the Swedish Book Fair in Gothenburg on Friday.

“In South Africa we used to say to those who supported apartheid that they should join the winning side, you have already lost, join the winning side.”

Tutu referred to Aung San Suu Kyi – the democratically elected leader of Burma – as “the Nelson Mandela of Burma.” He said he was looking forward to meeting her as prime minister of Burma.

Penny Davies of the Swedish Burma Committee described Tutu’s address as “a very strong speech.”

“The hairs were standing up on the back of my neck,” she said.

“He showed his heartfelt commitment, and sent a strong message to the Chinese government and to the Burmese military leaders.”

Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish Development Minister, and Jan Eliasson, UN special envoy to Sudan, also addressed the rally.

Meanwhile on Friday evening in Stockholm, politicians were joining demonstrators to march in support of the Burmese democracy movement.