Aug 6, 2008 (DVB), Burmese rights activists have called on people visiting China for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing to avoid buying any jewellery or souvenirs made of Burmese jade.
The All Kachin Students and Youth Union and 8-8-08 for Burma made their plea in a report released this week entitled "Blood Jade: Burmese Gemstones and the Beijing Games", which outlines abuses linked to jade mining in Burma and the military regime's reliance on the gem trade as a source of revenue.
In a statement issued to mark the release of the report, Cristina Moon of 8-8-08 for Burma said that the use of Chinese jade in the Olympic medals and official souvenirs could lead to an increased demand for jade, including that sourced from Burma.
"The generals will keep using their jade profits to buy weapons and crush dissent in Burma unless individuals take a stand," she said.
Naw La of the AKSYU told DVB that visitors to Beijing should be aware of the abuses linked to jade sourced from Burma.
"We are urging people not to buy jade as it has come onto the market as the result of various human rights abuses, loss of life and environmental destruction," Naw La said.
Naw La also urged Burma’s neighbours China, Thailand and Singapore to stop supporting the military regime in Burma by purchasing gems from the junta.
Reporting by Naw Say Phaw