A Burmese poet who spoke out against the Tatmadaw’s takeover of the country has turned up dead with several organs missing after being taken into custody, according to his wife.
Khet Thi, a poet who strongly opposed the military coup earlier in the year, was taken into custody after protesting against the coup on May 8. His wife, Chaw Su, says Thi’s dead body was presented to the family the next day at the hospital where they discovered his internal organs were missing.
“I was interrogated. So was he. They said he was at the interrogation center. But he didn’t come back, only his body,” said Su in an interview with BBC.
“They called me in the morning and told me to meet him at the hospital in Monywa. I thought it was just for a broken arm or something…But when I arrived here, he was at the morgue and his internal organs were taken out.”
Activist group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) claimed in a May 10 blog post that Thi was found with wounds “consistent with torture” and that his wife was forced to sign a confession stating that the poet died from pre-existing health conditions in order to recover his body.
According to Reuters, Chaw was told at the hospital that her husband had a heart problem, and did not read the death certificate, believing it to be falsified. She claimed the Tatmadaw had planned on burying the body, but gave it to Su when she pleaded.
Prior to quitting his job in 2012 to focus on writing poetry, Khet Thi was an engineer. He later took to selling cakes and ice cream to support himself.
The man is the third poet reported to die since the military took control of the country in February. Another of the slain poets was Thi’s friend, K Za Win, who was said to have died from gunfire on March 3 while shielding protestors from harm, according to Vice.
783 people are reported to have died in clashes with the military since the coup took place. An additional 1581 people have been charged with crimes and are evading arrest.
China’s role in the Myanmar military takeover has also been under scrutiny. In February, Beijing blocked a UN Security Council statement aimed at condemning the coup.
“Through this foreign policy equivalent of gaslighting, China seems to be signaling its tacit support, if not emphatic endorsement, for the generals’ actions,” said Elliott Prasse-Freeman of the National University of Singapore to BBC.
“China seems to be proceeding as if this is Myanmar’s ‘internal issue’ in which what we are observing is a ‘cabinet reshuffle,’ as China’s state media put it.”
However, ousted National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was the one who signed numerous Belt and Road Initiative agreements with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which included giving China a railway to the Bay of Bengal and construction of a deep sea base.
Some analysts have speculated that the Party doesn’t care whether the NLD or the Tatmadaw is in charge, so long as they can continue to manipulate whoever is leading Myanmar into giving them the geographical and resource advantages they desire.
The CCP has conducted heinous atrocities such as forced organ harvesting against dissidents and prisoners of faith like Falun Gong practitioners. Reports of the poet’s missing organs raises questions about how involved the Party is in Myanmar’s strife.