Aung San Suu Kyi

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi (ouN săn sōō chē), 1945–, Burmese political leader, B.A. Oxford, 1969, Ph.D. Univ. of London, 1985. The daughter of assassinated (1947) nationalist general U Aung San, who is regarded as the founder of modern Myanmar, she lived outside the country after 1960. Returning in 1988 to care for her dying mother, she joined the opposition to U Ne Win and became leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). Her outspoken criticism of the military leaders of Myanmar and the memory of her father made her a symbol of popular desire for political freedom and a focus of opposition to the dictatorship. In July, 1989, she was placed under house arrest. The NLD won 80% of the seats in 1990 elections for parliament, but the military refused to yield power. Awarded the 1990 Sakharov Prize from the European Parliament and the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent struggle, she remained under house arrest until 1995 and was subsequently subject to severe restrictions. Nonetheless, she has stayed in Myanmar, continuing to write and speak for her cause. She was again subjected to house arrest or detention from Sept., 2000 to May, 2002, and from May, 2003, to Nov., 2010. Myanmar's military government adopted constitutional (2008) and electoral (2010) restrictions designed to prevent her from running for office or heading a political party. The NLD declined to reregister (2010) under the new election law and was dissolved by the government before the Nov., 2010, voting. Improved relations under President Thein Sein led to the NLD's recognition by 2012, when Aung San Suu Kyi announced she would be a candidate in the Apr., 2012, elections for parliament; she and more than 40 NLD candidates won seats.

See biographies by J. Wintle (2008) and P. Popham (2012).

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