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Country Profile: Myanmar (Union of Myanmar)

1. Geography
Area: 676,577 sq.km.; basin and delta of the Irrawaddy River ringed by a horseshoe of high mountains that isolates the country from India, China and Thailand.
Population: 45,611,177 in 2000; 50,902,661 in 2010; 58,120,485 in 2025
Capital: Yangon (5,000,000)
Other major city: Mandalay (800,000)

2. Peoples
Sino-Tibetan: 89.3%
Burmese: 57.5%
Other: 19.8%
Tai: 8.5%
Chinese: 3.5%
Mon-Khmer: 5.7%
Other: 5%
Literacy: 83%
Official language: Burmese

3. Economy
Rich in natural resources, but ravaged by the greed of its rulers. Few countries have been so effectively plundered and impoverished by its own leaders. The large teak forests are being stripped. The most successful export is opium, producing over 50% of the world’s supply from the so-called Golden Triangle in the Lao-Thai border region.

4. Politics
The country has known little peace since the Japanese invasion of World War II, in 1942. Independent from Britain in 1948 as a Federal Union of seven districts and seven ethnic minority states. Insensitivity of the central government to the aspiration of ethnic minorities provoked unrest and bitter ethnic wars in nine areas. Popular demands for democratic rule opened the way for elections in 1990. The opposition party won 85% of the seats, but the military regime refused to hand over power. The secretive military junta, the State Peace and Development Council , has turned Myanmar into a prison with widespread human rights abuses and killings, forced labour, rape and imprisonment used as tools of repression. Most of the democratic leaders have been arrested, exiled or killed. A member of ASEAN.

5. Religions
Buddhist: 37,811,666 adherents (82.90% of population)
Christian: 3,970,000 adherents (8.70% of population)
Muslim: 1,733,225 adherents (3.80% of population)
Chinese: 1,368,335 adherents (3.00% of population)
Traditional ethnic: 364,889 adherents (0.80% of population)
Hindu: 228,056 adherents (0.50% of population)
Non-religious/other: 136,834 adherents (0.30% of population)
Churches: Myanmar Baptist Conv (617,781 members)
Catholic (372,671 members)
Assemblies of God (110,000 members)
Churches of Christ (100,000 members)
Methodist (60,000 members)
Lisu Christian (35,000 members)
Ch of Prov of M (27,794 members)
Seventh-day Adventist (20,555 members)
Evangelical Free (12,000 members)
Presbyterian (11,785 members)
Self Supp Karen Bapt (14,000 members)
Believer’s Church (15,625 members)
Christian Brethren (9,200 members)
Mara Evangelical (10,938 members)
Foursquare Gospel (6,000 members)
Jehovah’s Witnesses (2,950 members)
Full Gospel Assembly (5,000 members)
Christian Reformed (2,800 members)
Chr & Miss Alliance (1,989 members)
Other denoms (356,000 members)

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