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  • Chinese Delegation Visits Myanmar Locals Displaced by Controversial Dam Project


    China’s ambassador to Myanmar met on Friday with residents forced to relocate for the construction of the controversial China-backed Myitsone Dam project in Kachin state in a bid to gain local support for the restart of the project, a local resident and state official said.

    China wants to resume construction of the U.S. $3.6-billion hydropower project, which was temporarily halted by former President Thein Sein in 2011, Ambassador Hong Liang told Kachin Chief Minister Khent Aung and his cabinet during his first visit to the state.

  • Dangerous Myanmar Jade Mines Bring Income, Death


    Within days of the start of the monsoon rains, the dangerous conditions and lack of safety measures at Myanmar’s jade mines were highlighted when a dozen miners were killed while scavenging in a mining pit.

    The area in Hpakant Township, in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State, is a vast wasteland of deep pits and huge rubble heaps produced by mining companies using heavy machinery and dynamite.

  • Mekong Investment Underscores Japan’s Economic Clout in Southeast Asia


    Earlier this month, Japan announced a three-year, $7 billion investment deal with the countries of the lower Mekong River to boost development and improve infrastructure. In an email interview, Phuong Nguyen, an associate fellow with the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Japan’s relations in Southeast Asia.

  • Burma: Jade mining companies forced to suspend operations after arson attacks


    TWO jade mining firms in the township of Hpakant in the Kachin State, Burma (Myanmar), have been forced to stop operations after being hit by numerous hand-made bombs in suspected arson attacks, following similar attacks a week before.

    The Yadanar Moe Myay Co. Ltd. and Lin Htet Aung Co. Ltd. companies were both operating in Hmaw Si Sar village, according to The Irrawaddy newspaper.

    Village administrator Lama Tu Ja told the newspaper that about eight people entered the mining compound around 8pm on Sunday. After telling people present to stand aside, they began to light and throw “hand-made bombs wrapped in tape”.

  • China May Shelve Plans to Build Dams on Its Last Wild River


    On a roadside next to the Nu River, Xiong Xiangnan is trying to sell fish to tourists. He doesn’t look like a traditional fisherman. Xiong sports a pompadour and wears a brown jacket, jeans, and white Crocs, with a money purse slung across one shoulder. As several of his friends stand around smoking, Xiong makes his pitch.

    The fish were very hard to catch, he says. The nets must be set at night and checked early in the morning. That’s why he’s charging 240 yuan—about $37—for the biggest trophy in his buckets.

    Behind Xiong, the Nu River flows freely, bumbling with rapids, swirling with eddies. Some of this water has spilled down from glaciers on the Tibetan plateau, filling a channel that snakes 1,700 miles (2,736 kilometers) through China, then Myanmar and Thailand, before spilling into the Andaman Sea.

  • Residents in Myitsone urge President to end Myitsone Dam project


    Residents in the Myitsone Dam project area have urged President Htin Kyaw and the new government to end the Myitsone project so that relocated villagers can return to their villages

    “If the new government does not end this project, how must we, the residents, live? Our hearts are pounding. I want to cry. We have suffered repeatedly from troubles. If the project is not cancelled, I am sure that I will die there,” Ja Hkaung, whose farmland in Tan Hpe village was confiscated due to the project, said in a press conference.

  • China’s rise takes centre stage at ADB annual meeting


    China’s growing economic influence through the One Belt, One Road initiative and the newly operational Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank were key topics of discussion at the Asian Development Bank’s annual conference in Frankfurt this week.
    The Chinese-led AIIB has 57 founding members with others expected to join. The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project aims to strengthen infrastructure on the land and sea routes from China through Central Asia and Southeast Asia respectively – incorporating some 60 separate states.

    Both initiatives affect Myanmar, as a member country of the AIIB and as a host to Chinese OBOR infrastructure projects – including a recently approved US$3 billion refinery near the southern city of Dawei.

  • After Myanmar protests, China says companies should respect laws


    China has consistently demanded its companies operating abroad respect local laws, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday after hundreds of villagers in Myanmar protested against the resumption of operations at a Chinese-backed copper mine.

    The protests have gathered momentum since last Wednesday when some people broke through police barriers protecting the mine, operated by Myanmar Wanbao, a unit of a Chinese weapons maker, in one of the first tests for the new government’s ability to deal with public anger.

  • Dawei residents protest against $3 billion oil refinery


    A collection of civil society groups in the southern city of Dawei has begun to actively protest a Chinese-led US$3 billion proposal to build Myanmar’s largest oil refinery on their doorstep.
    Local businesses, civil society organisations and villagers are circulating a petition calling for the new National League for Democracy-led government to reconsider the project – which received approval on the last full day of former president U Thein Sein’s administration.

    Local residents were hardly involved in the approval process, according to the appeal, which suggests the environmental effects of the 100,000-barrels-per-day project may be catastrophic.

    More than 2000 people from six villages have signed the petition, according to the Dawei Development Association.

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