Human rights envoy says at least 15 people died in the country’s biggest city alone.
China, Myanmar’s main political ally, has traditionally held the position of strict non-interference in the country’s internal affairs.
But in recent weeks, the country has been credited with working behind the scenes to pressure Myanmar to embrace democratic reforms.
China had supported the mission of Ibrahim Gambari, the UN envoy, by supporting a UN Security Council declaration and helping to persuade Myanmar to allow him to visit twice since the military’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in September.
In another development, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have said that the situation in Myanmar is “not sustainable” but that Asean leaders have a limited ability to push for change.
“Until the generals’ military hardware is crumbled, they won’t listen to anyone”
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According to Lee Hsien Loong, Singapore’s prime minister, the bloc had “no choice” but to condemn the suppression of pro-democracy protests in Myanmar.
“The present situation in Myanmar is not sustainable. Asean had no choice but to speak up and take a clear stand, because the developments in Myanmar have an impact on the region as a whole,” he told the Straits Times daily.
Asean leaders are under increasing pressure to hold the Myanmar government accountable over the violence in September, which the generals have now said left at least 15 people dead, according to Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, a UN human rights investigator.
Plea for sanctions
However, Lee said Myanmar’s place in the grouping was not up for discussion.
He said: “Myanmar is a member of the Asean family. No one wishes a family member ill, even if we do not always agree with it.”
Senior General Than Shwe, Myanmar’s leader, has vowed that the only path to political reform is via the goverment’s own “road map to democracy”.
He said: “We have declared a seven-step roadmap towards a democratic state.
“The seven-step roadmap is the only means to smooth transition towards a new state.”
Stage one – drawing up the outline of the charter – ended in September after a national convention that first met 14 years ago, but hit trouble when Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) refused to attend while she was under house arrest.
A drafting commission of 54 people handpicked by the military has now been appointed and will hold their first meeting on December 1.