44 Facts About Than Shwe


Than Shwe is a Burmese strongman politician who was the head of state of Myanmar from 1992 to 2011 as Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council.


Than Shwe continues to retain great power in the military.


Than Shwe was born in Minzu village, near Kyaukse, British Burma in 1933 or 1935.


In 1949, Than Shwe attended and finished in Government High School in Kyaukse.


Than Shwe took up employment at the Meikhtila Post Office as a postal clerk.


Than Shwe was promoted to platoon commander with the rank of lieutenant on 11 July 1955 and to company commander with the rank of captain on 21 February 1957 in the same battalion.


Than Shwe was involved in military operations carried out by No 1 Infantry Battalion in Karen State, Southern Shan State and Eastern Thanlwin area.


On 26 February 1958, Than Shwe was transferred to the newly established Directorate of Education and Psychological warfare within the War Office.


Between April 1958 and November 1958, Shwe attended a special course for army officers in the Soviet Union run by the KGB.


Than Shwe was posted as a Company Commander to No 1 Psychological Warfare Battalion under Northern Regional Military Command on 9 December 1961.


Than Shwe became Psychological Warfare Officer of 3rd Infantry Brigade on 4 December 1961.


Than Shwe was posted to 101 Light Infantry Battalion as a temporary company commander for battalion headquarter unit.


Than Shwe was promoted to the rank of major and posted to the 77th Light Infantry Division on 27 January 1969.


Between 1969 and 1971, Than Shwe attended and graduated from the Higher Command and Staff Course from the Frunze Military Academy in the Soviet Union.


Than Shwe was involved in various military operations carried out by the 77th LID in Karen State, Irrawaddy Delta region and Bago Hills.


Than Shwe was transferred to Operations Planning Department within the Office of Chief of Staff as a General Staff Officer on 16 December 1969.


Than Shwe became a temporary commander of No 1 Infantry Battalion on 23 August 1971 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel on 7 September 1972.


Than Shwe was transferred back to Operations Planning Department within the Office of Chief of Staff as a General Staff Officer on 4 August 1975.


Than Shwe then became a deputy commander of the 88th LID Light Infantry Division on 2 May 1978.


Than Shwe became commanding officer of the 88th LID on 29 March 1980.


Than Shwe oversaw the various operation such as Operation Ye Naing Aung, Operation Nay Min Yang and Operation Min Yan Aung carried out by the 88th LID.


In 1981, Than Shwe was elected as a member of the ruling Burma Socialist Programme Party's Central Executive Committee during the fourth session of Party's conference.


Than Shwe was posted to the South Western Regional Military Command as the commanding officer on 22 July 1983 and subsequently became chairman of Irrawaddy Division Party Committee on 5 August 1983.


Than Shwe became a brigadier general on 16 August 1984.


Than Shwe became vice chief of staff on 4 November 1985.


Than Shwe was promoted to the rank of major general on 4 November 1986 and to the rank of lieutenant general on 4 November 1987.


Than Shwe became Deputy Minister of Defence on 27 July 1988.


Than Shwe was promoted to the rank of full general and became vice-commander in chief of Myanmar Armed Forces and commander in chief of Myanmar Army on 18 March 1990.


Than Shwe relaxed some state control over the economy, and was a supporter of Burma's participation in the Association of South East Asian Nations.


Than Shwe oversaw a large crackdown on corruption, which saw the sackings of a number of cabinet ministers and regional commanders in 1997.


Than Shwe has continued the suppression of the free press in Burma, and has overseen the detention of journalists who oppose his regime.


Than Shwe tends to be seen as being sullen, humorless, and rather withdrawn, a hardliner, skilled manipulator, and an opponent of the democratization of Burma.


Than Shwe has been linked to the toppling and arrest of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt in 2004, which has significantly increased his own power.


Than Shwe is said to rely heavily on advice from his soothsayers, a style of ruling dating back to Ne Win, a leader who once shot his mirror to avoid bad luck.


However, Than Shwe refused to meet Gambari when he visited Burma in November 2007 and again on 10 March 2008.


In early May 2008, Than Shwe refused many foreign aid workers from entering the country in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis.


Than Shwe's leadership has been criticized for violence and human rights abuses.


In 1998 Than Shwe ordered the execution of 59 civilians living on Christie Island.


Than Shwe's wife, Kyaing Kyaing, is of Chinese and Pa'O descent.


Than Shwe is known to be a diabetic, and he is rumored to have intestinal cancer.


Concerns about Than Shwe's health intensified after he failed to appear at an official Independence Day dinner for military leaders, officials, and diplomats on 4 January 2007.


Than Shwe had checked out of the Singapore General Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment, and returned to Burma two weeks later.


In January 2009, Than Shwe was talked into buying one of the world's most popular football clubs, Manchester United, for $1 billion by his favourite grandson Nay Shwe Thway Aung.


Than Shwe often performed superstitious yadaya rituals to maintain his power and followed the advice of astrologers and shamans.