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Burma: Govt. to halt Myitsone Dam project over environmental concerns, say media reports; NGOs have also cited massive displacement of Kachin minority

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30 September 2011

Burma to halt Myitsone Dam project: media reports

Author: Mizzima News [Thailand]

Burma’s President Thein Sein informed both houses of the Burmese Parliament by letter on Friday that the controversial Myitsone Dam project on the Irrawaddy River would be halted during his government’s term. According to Rangoon media reports, he cited general public concern about the environmental destruction that the project would cause...Thein Sein said the government will discuss the contract agreed to with neighboring China, which is funding the project... [refers to China Power Investment and Asia World Company, which are running the project]

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Author: Agence France-Presse

Le nouveau gouvernement birman, qui multiplie les signes d'ouverture envers ses opposants, a décidé de suspendre un projet de barrage géant financé par la Chine dans le nord du pays, après d'inhabituelles protestations populaires...Les défenseurs de l'environnement dénoncent depuis longtemps ce barrage qui selon eux devait inonder des dizaines de villages, entraîner le déplacement d'au moins 10.000 personnes...[U]n collectif d'ONG, le Groupe de travail environnemental sur la Birmanie, avait appelé à mettre un terme à tous les projets d'exploitation des ressources naturelles birmanes, financés principalement par des étrangers. Ils les accusaient d'être une source de conflit dans des zones où vivent les groupes ethniques minoritaires...Ces derniers mois, des combats violents ont eu lieu entre des rebelles kachins et l'armée birmane aux alentours de Myitsone, qui est devenu un symbole de la lutte des Kachins pour plus d'autonomie. [se réfère à China Power Investment]

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4 October 2011

[PDF] Burma Rivers Network response to China Power Investment Corporation comments on Myitsone dam

Author: Burma Rivers Network

On October 3, Chinese media interviewed Lu Qizhou, the President of China Power Investment Corporation, about Burma’s Myitsone hydropower project. Below is a response to key points in the interview by the Burma Rivers Network. Lu Qizhou: I also learnt about this through the media and I was totally astonished. Before this, the Myanmar side never communicated with us in any way about the "suspension" BRN: The villagers at the dam site, numerous political and community organizations, international human rights organizations have attempted to contact CPI and discuss the concerns about the impacts and process of the project. Even though CPI never responded to all these attempts at dialogue, they cannot claim to be unaware of the feeling about this project by the people of Burma...

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5 October 2011

Warning as dam project halted [Myanmar]

Author: Teddy Ng, South China Morning Post [Hong Kong]

A Chinese company…has warned of potential legal consequences in response to the Myanmese government's sudden decision to halt the joint venture last week…Lu Qizhou, president of the state-owned China Power...Investment Corporation, said…[t]he suspension could lead to sizeable losses for both sides...Myanmese President Thein Sein made the surprise announcement to parliament on Friday that the project...had been shelved because of public concerns the flow of the Irrawaddy River would be threatened, and that the project would flood an area about the size of Singapore…Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Saturday urged Myanmar to protect the legal and legitimate rights of Chinese companies operating there…Thein Sein might be attempting to gain political legitimacy by projecting an image that his government was not controlled by the country's military Myanmese government had become very anxious about perceptions that it was selling out the country's interests to Chinese state firms…

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