The head of the Myanmar military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) described resistance fighters battling the military dictatorship as “thoughtless” on Monday during a meeting with USDP members in Sagaing Region’s Monywa.
U Khin Yi vowed also to “wipe away tears, grip the sword, move a step forward and fight” the People’s Defense Forces (PDF), according to the USDP’s Facebook.
The hardline nationalist also challenged the PDFs during a November 3 meeting with USDP members in Tatkon Township in Naypyitaw: “You can kill me. I am a former military officer. I am in charge of the USDP. I’m the true pillar [of the regime]. I am the hardcore. Why don’t you come and kill me?” the 70-year-old said as he condemned the killing of USDP members.
Led by former generals, the USDP took the lead role in organizing pro-military rallies before and after the February 2021 coup and has helped the regime arrest opponents and dissidents. USDP members have also joined the junta-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia.
The USDP said that over 1,600 of its members and supporters have died at the hands of anti-junta forces since the military takeover.
While meeting USDP members in Sagaing, a stronghold of the resistance and the Spring Revolution against the military regime, U Khin Yi called for better security arrangements for USDP offices and members. He comforted the relatives of slain party members and told members to be ready to fight the PDFs when the time is ripe.
“I’ve come here to help you, to listen to your concerns and solve your problems,” U Khin Yi told the USDP members.
But despite his challenge to the PDFs, U Khin Yi did not dare to travel to Sagaing by road, instead arriving by air.
Since being appointed as the USDP chair last month, U Khin Yi has travelled extensively in Yangon, Mandalay and Ayeyarwady regions, devoting himself to inflaming nationalism, slamming the National League for Democracy (NLD) and encouraging party members to fight the PDFs.
Echoing the claims of the Myanmar military, the former brigadier general accused the ousted NLD government of electoral fraud and of failing to protect Buddhism in Myanmar.
“[If the Myanmar military had not seized power], you might not have a Buddha altar in your house now,” said U Khin Yi.
A henchman of successive military dictators, U Khin Yi oversaw the brutal 2007 crackdown on the nationwide anti-regime movement known as the Saffron Revolution. He also oversaw the house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under the previous regime.
He served as Minister for Immigration and Population in U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian administration. U Khin Yi was also involved in planning the 2021 coup while serving as a vice chair of the USDP, organizing pro-military rallies in which so-called military sympathizers went on the rampage in Yangon, punching and stabbing those who denounced them.
After the coup, U Khin Yi was again appointed Minister for Immigration and Population, before taking over as USDP chair. It is thought he was put in place by regime chief Min Aung Hlaing to oversee the election the junta plans to hold next year, which Min Aung Hlaing hopes will enable him to seize the presidency.