Regional press encouraged by Burma election

Man reads a newspaper in Rangoon, Burma, 8 November 2010 In Burma the election was reported as a success

Newspapers in the Asian region support Burma's first election in 20 years as a small but important step towards eventual democracy.

Chinese papers strongly urge Burma and the rest of the region to ignore the West's condemnation and press on with their own methods of political change.

A Thai paper says that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will have no choice but to endorse the results as Burma's inclusion in the group helps support its high economic growth.

The Indian press hopes that small political steps will eventually "open the floodgates".

However, a Burmese exile publication replies that it is a "fantasy" to think that change is just around the corner.

EDITORIAL IN CHINA'S HUANQUI SHIBAO (GLOBAL TIMES)

If the outside world wants to encourage Burma to open up, the West should take the lead in toning down its hostility... The incompatibility of China's policy on Burma with the West is difficult to change. We should do more work on Southeast Asian countries and form a consensus with them on Burma.

SUN GUANGYONG IN CHINA'S RENMIN RIBAO (PEOPLE'S DAILY)

While in Myanmar (Burma), this reporter contacted the people of Myanmar from all walks of life and felt the common aspiration of the masses: The new government produced by the general elections will be able to ensure social stability, improve the lives of the masses, and enable Myanmar to take the road of prosperity and development.

ZHUANG GUOTU IN CHINA'S GLOBAL TIMES (ENGLISH EDITION)

Though the election may not be perfect, it's a step forward in the country's democratic development... There is no successful precedent among developing nations to achieve democracy by following Western instructions. I believe developing countries, including Myanmar, should seek their own democracy based on domestic conditions.

YIN HONGWEI IN CHINA'S GUOJI XIANQU DAOBAO (INTERNATIONAL HERALD LEADER)

Even though many restrictions and many challenges still exist, it was indeed not easy for the Burmese military government to take this step. If international public opinion really cares about Burma, it should be a little more tolerant.

EDITORIAL IN BANGLADESH'S DAILY STAR

Regrettably, neither Myanmar's immediate neighbours nor the Asean countries have been able to do much to convince the military rulers in Yangon (Rangoon) to return power to where it belongs: the people.

However, notwithstanding the negativities we would like to share the optimists' view that in the dark cloud there is yet a silver lining and that this will be the start of the process of democratisation in Myanmar, albeit slowly.

KAVI CHONGKITTAVORN IN THAILAND'S THE NATION

The poll again places Asean in an awkward position as it must be the first to endorse the outcome being condemned worldwide. It also comes at a time when Asean wants to expand its international role. Asean's overall bargaining power still rests on its continued high economic growth contributing to global economic recovery.

Asean argues that Burma's full integration with Asean would help to sustain such dynamism due to its huge population and abundant natural resources. Eventually, it is inevitable that Asean will have to embrace Burma's post-election by concurring to have Burma take up the Asean chair in January 2014, after Brunei. It is a fait accompli.

COMMENTARY IN THE AUSTRALIAN

For those who believe there is a way out of the Burma impasse, other than confrontation, and that more pragmatism and less sloganeering is needed to achieve the economic reform that will, as in China, bring real improvement to the lives of its 50 million people, there is no doubting the potential importance of the poll.

EDITORIAL IN INDIA'S THE TRIBUNE

Let us hope that the optimists prove right. The elections should be used by the pro-democracy forces in Myanmar to force the military junta to go back to the barracks and leave the task of governance to politicians.

EDITORIAL IN INDIA'S DECCAN HERALD

While the election is a farce, it is not without its merits. It signals that the generals are testing the waters, albeit gingerly. However flawed it might be the vote is a small step in Myanmar's political transformation.

Several Western countries have rejected the election outright. Their approach is wrong. They must use the opportunity the election has thrown up to engage with Myanmar's new government. They must leverage to push it to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners. Isolating the generals has not worked in bringing change in Myanmar; perhaps engaging them positively will rid the generals of their deep suspicion of the world.

EDITORIAL IN THE INDIAN EXPRESS

If a door opens even a crack, the light must come in. This hint of progress must be expanded from here. Moreover, it should also be kept in mind that the most difficult or dangerous moment for a dictatorship is precisely when it begins to reform. It's quite possible that the tiny changes wrought by the military now will eventually open the floodgates. India is aware of the fine print, and has thus silently encouraged this process.

ZOYA PHAN IN BURMESE EXILE MAGAZINE IRRAWADDY

There has been too much focus on the small possible changes after the election, and not enough on how very little will really change, or possibly even get worse. The imagined changes are equivalent to giving a starving man a single grain of rice. It is not enough.

Aung San Suu Kyi has said that we must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Sadly, much of the international community seems to be living in a fantasy land when it comes to the election, not just hoping for the best, but trying to convince itself that change may be just round the corner. We know from experience with this dictatorship, however, that it is the worst which happens to us over and over again.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Asia-Pacific stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.