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US urges China to condemn Myanmar after execution of activists

The US has urged China to increase pressure on Myanmar following the military junta’s execution of four democracy activists.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said China could influence Myanmar more than any other country. “We are calling on countries around the world to do more. We will be doing more as well,” he said. However, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China did not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.

Price said there could be no business as usual with the junta regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and called on all countries to ban sales of military equipment to the country and refrain from lending the regime any degree of international credibility.

He said the US was considering “all options” to cut off the regime’s revenue. Activist Kyaw Min Yu, better known as Ko Jimmy, and former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw were among those executed. The activists were arrested after an army-led coup last year and accused of committing terror acts. They were sentenced to death in a closed-door trial that rights groups criticised as being unjust.

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Both Phyo Zeya Thaw and Ko Jimmy lost their appeals against their sentences in June. Rights group Amnesty has warned that 100 more people in the country have been sentenced to death after being convicted in similar proceedings. The executions have been roundly criticised by the international community.

In a joint statement, the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, the UK and the US called them “reprehensible acts of violence that further exemplify the regime’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law”. 

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