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To no one’s surprise, the military junta that runs Myanmar (also known as Burma) has extended the house arrest of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi for another year. The continued detention of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is proof of that government’s contempt for international opinion, fundamental human rights and the will of the people of Myanmar.

Ms. Suu Kyi leads prodemocracy advocates who want an end to military rule and who, in 1990, won a national election. The junta ignored that ballot and the international outcry that followed, and have consolidated their grip on power ever since. Ms. Suu Kyi’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 only angered the government more. She was arrested and has spent 11 of the past 17 years under house arrest. Her most recent term of detention continued for the past four years; she last left her house in November 2006 to meet with a United Nations envoy for one hour. The government justifies the decision by calling her a threat to public order. In fact, the only violence she has suffered has been at the hands of a government-supported mob.

Her house arrest order was due to expire last weekend. The government extended it, despite calls worldwide to let her go. In fact, the junta appears to be tightening its grip. The U.N. estimates that there are 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar, including the top leadership of the opposition.

The junta has shrugged off harsh criticism and sanctions from Western countries, Japan and the U.N. It gets crucial support from China, which is always wary of international pressure against a government to improve its human rights policies. Meanwhile, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is reluctant to criticize a member’s internal politics and worries about losing whatever influence it has among the junta.

The “go slow” approach has had no effect. The junta has made no concessions and there has been no progress toward a political system that actually reflects the will of the Myanmar people. It is time for a harder line: sanctions that bite the leadership and real isolation of a “rogue state.”

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