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  • After Myanmar protests, China says companies should respect laws

    05/10/2016

    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

    05/04/2016

    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.

  • The Mekong River winding through the flooded forest in Cambodia.

    Asia’s Troubled Water

    04/23/2016

    Asia’s water woes are worsening. Already the world’s driest continent in per capita terms, Asia now faces a severe drought that has parched a vast region extending from southern Vietnam to central India. This has exacerbated political tensions, because it has highlighted the impact of China’s dam-building policy on the environment and on water flows to the dozen countries located downstream.

  • Will China save its last undammed river?

    04/12/2016

    In a remote corner of southwestern China, close to the Myanmar border, the towering Nu River gorge narrows to a frothy boil of rushing water, its powerful flow creating swirling eddies.

    Thrown across the river from one rock face to the other hangs a flimsy suspension bridge. “No entrance” reads a sign on its locked and rusting gate. “For construction only.”

    The abandoned bridge is the sole hint here of a lengthy environmental battle that may be nearing its end. For more than a decade, activists have fought a state-owned hydropower company’s plans to build giant dams on the Nu, the last natural river in China. Now, dam opponents say they scent victory.

  • Doubts raised over Chinese oil refinery plan

    04/11/2016

    A Chinese-led US$3 billion plan to build Myanmar’s largest oil refinery near the southern city of Dawei has raised questions about China’s strategic intentions in launching apparently commercially unviable projects, while local groups have already signalled their opposition.

  • Sino–Japanese competition heats up over Myanmar’s SEZs

    04/11/2016

    China and Japan are eager to be involved in massive special economic zone (SEZ) projects in Myanmar, amid rising economic competition in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Since 2011, Myanmar has rapidly improved its diplomatic relations with the West and Japan in order to broaden its economic relations and mitigate its excessive dependence on China.

  • China’s Sudden Dam Water Releases Killing Wildlife in Lower Mekong River Basin

    04/07/2016

    It’s not just humans but also animals downstream who are affected every time water is released from Chinese dams into the Mekong River.
    “The survival rate of baby birds has dropped to less than 60% over the past three years, as their nests lie on the riverfront and the water level of the Mekong is so unpredictable,” lamented the administrator of a Facebook page devoted to bird lovers.

  • China seeks ‘new chapter’ in first visit with Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

    04/06/2016

    China and Myanmar pledged to open a “new chapter” in their sometimes strained relationship, raising the prospect that stalled Chinese investment projects in the Southeastern Asian country could be allowed to resume.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, head of Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy and newly installed foreign minister, and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, said the two had “reached consensus” to approach existing problems through negotiations. Wang’s trip — the first high-level diplomatic visit since Suu Kyi’s party filled top government offices last week — signaled China’s interest in firming up ties tested by the previous military-backed government’s halt of projects such as the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam.

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