Protest against China-sponsored Dam Projects in Burma
16 September 2011: Amid a series of global protests against the ‘controversial’ Myitsone dam projects in Burma, Thein Sein’s government is to go ahead with its joint plan in partnership with China.
Last week in Naypyidaw, Zaw Win, from the Ministry of Electric Power-1, confirmed that the Myitsone Dam project on the Irrawaddy River, the largest in Burma, would carry on in the national interests.
Today in London, another demonstration was organised by the Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) with about 150 people in front of the Burmese Embassy, protesting against the China-Burma mega-dam projects in the northern region.
Myo Thein, BDC Director, said: “The protest today is organised for two reasons: first to call for a review on Myitsone Irrawaddy Dam and second to recall the 23rd anniversary of the military coup on 18 September 1988. On that day, thousands of peaceful protestors were killed on the streets for demanding democracy, justice and rule of law in Burma.”
“People of Burma are still suffering, after 23 years on, but we don’t forget the fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives in our struggle for democracy in Burma.”
The demonstration opened with paying tribute to fallen heroes in the struggle for democracy in Burma, followed by singing a national song and chanting anti-dam project slogans that include ‘Save Irrawaddy River’ and ‘Stop Myitsone Dam Project’.
Grave concern has been raised over the past months to protect the Irrawaddy for the sake of the millions who depend on its tributaries. The proposed dam project will displace more than 12,00 people in Kachin State, according to the International Rivers.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also joined a campaign to save the Irrawaddy River, making an appeal to the Chinese companies and Burma’s government to reassess the scheme and to prevent undesirable consequences on the lives and homes of the local Kachin people and the environmental impacts in the country.
During the protest, Chin activist Raymond Lyan said that all the peoples of Burma, both inside and outside, must be united in the struggle for democracy, freedom and justice as Burma’s new government is still behaving exactly the same as the military regime.
Another protest was organised in front of the Chinese Embassy in London, calling for an end to the dam projects which will cause serious social and environmental problems, and directly affect people living both upstream and downstream along the Irrawaddy River.
A statement by the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand said that the Myitsone dam is one of the seven projects on the Irrawaddy River and its upper tributaries, which the Chinese government has announced as its largest foreign hydropower investment.
The Myitsone Dam, which will provide between 3,600 to 6,000 megawatts of electricity for Yunnan of China, is believed to be the fifteenth largest hydro-electric power station in the world if completed as planned in 2017.
Van Biak Thang