Asia

Eviction order for Burma monk Shwe Nya War Sayardaw

Burmese monk Shwe Nya War Sayardaw
Image caption Shwe Nya War Sayardaw is an abbot at Rangoon's Sadhu monastery

A senior Burmese monk has been ordered to leave his monastery in Rangoon because of a speech he gave at a pro-democracy event.

Shwe Nya War Sayardaw, a well-known critic of the government, addressed the National League for Democracy at a recent event in Mandalay.

He was among several figures who met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visited Burma in December.

The Burmese government has recently implemented a series of reforms.

But it still continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners and the country is still plagued by ethnic conflicts.

The actual order to leave came from the monks' governing body, but this is backed by the Burmese authorities.

'Refusing to obey'

Shwe Nya War Sayardaw, who is an abbot at Rangoon's Sadhu monastery, received a letter from the monks' governing body informing him that he was being disciplined for delivering a speech to pro-democracy leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The letter states that he must move away from the Sadhu monastery and that he cannot teach in monasteries without permission from the governing body - the Sangha.

Although he has been ordered to leave the Sadhu monastery, he can live in other monasteries.

However, according to one local journalist, he is refusing to obey the order and says that he will stay at the monastery until forced out.

He is well-known for his outspoken views and for using Buddhist stories to draw unflattering parallels between the government and past administrations, correspondents say.

Ms Suu Kyi's NLD recently re-registered as a political party, and she is expected to stand for parliament in forthcoming by-elections.

Recent reforms by the government included freeing Ms Suu Kyi from detention and allowed to her take up a role in public life, prompting speculation that decades of isolation could be about to end.

The army handed power to a civilian government last year, but the military's primacy is entrenched in the country's constitution.

The US maintains tight sanctions on senior leaders in Burma, which was ruled by a brutal military junta from 1962 until 2010.

Chinese meeting

Meanwhile on Thursday China said its ambassador to Burma held talks with Aung San Suu Kyi in what is thought to be the first formal meeting between the most important supporter of the military-backed government and its most prominent critic.

A spokesman for China's foreign ministry, Liu Weimin, said the meeting had been arranged at the request of Aung San Suu Kyi but he did not say when it took place.

The spokesman said the ambassador met her because China was willing to speak to all sectors of Burmese society.

Aung Sun Suu Kyi's NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the junta refused to recognise the result and the party was never allowed to take power.

Ms Suu Kyi spent much of the past 20 years in detention.