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Myanmar Locals Stand Fast Against Chinese Dam

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:51 am
by CEOCambodiaNews
China faces backlash as it bids to rekindle stalled US$3.6 billion Myitsone Dam project
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2019, 8:31am

Political and religious leaders in Myanmar’s Kachin state have hit back at apparent efforts by Beijing to breathe new life into a controversial China-funded dam project as the Southeast Asian nation comes under fire from the West over its treatment of the Rohingya Muslims.

In a joint statement released on Monday, three ethnic Kachin political parties said they were seeking the “permanent suspension” of the US$3.6 billion Myitsone Dam project, which has been on hold since 2011 but had been slated for completion this year.

“This is the people’s desire. We won’t change our policy on the Myitsone hydropower dam,” Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, chairman of the Kachin Democratic Party, told Myanmar’s Network Media Group.

“Construction of the Myitsone dam should never be allowed.”

The backlash from community leaders came after the Chinese embassy in Myanmar said local people in Kachin, as well as political and religious leaders there, had a “positive attitude” towards the dam, which is the largest of several Beijing-backed energy and mining projects approved by the military government before 2011.

It also underscores the dilemma China faces as it seeks to extend its geopolitical influence over its neighbours through infrastructure and investment.

In December, during a visit to Kachin – a mountainous area bordering China where civil war has been raging for years – China’s ambassador to Myanmar Hong Liang said the Myitsone project was crucial for both Beijing and Naypyidaw, and that any further delays could hamper bilateral relations.

“One of the difficulties facing China-Myanmar cooperation is the issue of Myitsone hydropower project, which has been on hold for seven years,” he was quoted as saying in a statement published on the embassy’s Facebook page.

“If this issue fails to be resolved … it will seriously hurt the confidence of Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Myanmar,” it said, adding that the two sides should “find an acceptable solution as soon as possible”.

Last week, in a Facebook video of his visit to the Yeywa Dam, another China-backed hydropower plant on the Myitnge River and currently the country’s largest, Hong said Myanmar needed more dams as a shortage of power was damaging its economy.

The Chinese embassy’s statement came after The Irrawaddy News Magazine reported that during Hong’s visit to Myiyktina, the capital of Kachin, he had been “bossy” towards local leaders, urging them to back the Myitsone dam – which he said had the support of Aung San Suu Kyi – and telling not to fraternise with Western diplomats, who were also visiting. ... 36-billion

Re: Myanmar Locals Stand Fast Against Chinese Dam

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:07 pm
by CEOCambodiaNews
Back story on the Chinese Myitsone Dam project in Myanmar:

Myanmar official suggests downsizing or relocating controversial dam
29 Jan 2019 at 17:49
NAYPYITAW: A top Myanmar investment official on Tuesday suggested alternatives such as downsizing or relocating a stalled Chinese-backed dam project that has strained ties between the neighbours.

Myanmar angered China in 2011 when its former quasi-civilian government suspended the $3.6 billion reut hydro-power dam in the country's north amid environmental concerns.

Asked about the dam at an investment conference, Thaung Tun, chairman of Myanmar's investment commission, listed several problems, from an earthquake fault line running under the project site to a large catchment area affecting residents.

"Catchment area would be twice the size of Singapore. This would mean that a lot of villages will have been displaced from their accessible land. That is the issue," Thaung Tun told reporters at the conference in the capital Naypyitaw.

Thaung Tun listed several alternatives, including scaling back the dam, moving it to a different location, or offering the operator an alternative project. He did not say if the government had a preferred option.

Myanmar had to consider its relations with China, its largest trade partner, and "was working hard to find the solution," he said.

The dam in the northern state of Kachin is very unpopular. Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) lost a seat in Kachin by-elections last year and party officials have voiced concern about their popularity in ethnic minority areas ahead of the 2020 general election.

China's Yunnan province, the planned destination for about 90% of the dam's electricity, now has a power surplus, Thaung Tun said. ... ersial-dam

Re: Myanmar Locals Stand Fast Against Chinese Dam

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:47 am
by CEOCambodiaNews
By Mizzima
08 February 2019
Protests continue over Myitsone Dam

About 10,000 people in northern Myanmar’s Kachin state staged a massive protest Thursday against the controversial Chinese-backed Myitsone Dam and recent calls by China for the suspended project to resume, RFA reported.

Kachin activists, leaders from Kachin political parties, religious leaders, local civil society groups, Buddhist monks, and residents of Waingmaw and Myitkyina townships marched in the state capital Myitkyina demanding the complete halt of the hydropower project. ... itsone-dam

Re: Myanmar Locals Stand Fast Against Chinese Dam

Posted: Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:51 am
by willyhilly
You wouldn't want to piss off those Kachins too much, they have a track record of constant war.

Re: Myanmar Locals Stand Fast Against Chinese Dam

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:52 am
by CEOCambodiaNews
Aung San Suu Kyi's Myanmar dam dilemma with China
27 July 2019
In 2011, construction work on a massive dam project in Myanmar's restive Kachin state was halted after large protests. China is now lobbying hard for the work to resume, but as BBC News Burmese's Soe Soe Htoon found, local people are still not convinced they will ever see its benefits.

The dam was due to be completed this year - but so far work has barely begun, and the project has exposed simmering tensions over the balance of power between China and the country it often refers to as its younger brother.

The Myitsone was to be the largest of seven dams SPIC is promising to build in the region, to provide quickly-developing Myanmar with much-needed electricity.

By some estimates, the project would by itself generate more energy than the entire country produces now.

The full contract the former military government signed with SPIC has never been publicly released. But in a rare interview in May, with BBC News Burmese, the former deputy minister of Myanmar's state power company, U Maw Thar Htwe, confirmed the most provocative part of the deal - that 90% of the electricity the dam generated would go back over the border to China.

According to U Maw Thar Htwe, the government will get a 10% stake in the dam but will only see a return on its investment two decades after it starts operations.