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Myanmar: Banana Plantation owned by Chinese companies raises local concerns over land and environmental problems

In 2016, the media reported the emergence of the Chinese investment allegedly involved in the land confiscations by renting land for banana plantation from local authorities in Kachin state where the land grabbing was widespread and longstanding. Along with the expansion of the banana plantation, villagers displaced by fighting and living in IDP camps increasingly concern their land may be occupied, and they will not be able to farm when returning home.

In February 2018, about 200 villagers in Waingmaw in Kachin State protested against Chinese companies that are planting tissue culture bananas, which they say are causing land and environmental problems. Objection letters signed by some 800 residents were sent to the chief minister’s office twice last year… After the protest, the township administrator asked the Chinese companies to acknowledge their protest letter and told them to begin work after getting permission from the national and state governments.

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11 March 2019

Myanmar: Chinese joint venture Tha Khin Sit Mining faces charges for assaulting two reporters after story about protest against company’s site clearances for banana plantations

Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy

"Joint Venture Chinese Company Faces Charges for Assaulting Reporters", 27 Feb 2019

The managing director and staff of a mining company who detained and assaulted two journalists on Tuesday, face five charges including assaulting a woman and wrongful restraint, according to the editor-in-chief of Myitkyina Journal where the reporters work.

A Chinese joint venture, Tha Khin Sit Mining, Import and Export Company’s director and employees forcibly took two reporters from the office of the Myitkyina Journal one day after the journal published a story about local residents’ plans to stage a protest against the companies which are carrying out site clearances for banana plantations in Waimaw Township, Kachin State.

The reporters were detained in separate rooms in the company’s compound…The two reporters were only released after their employers contacted Waimaw Township Police Station, which sent police officers to surround the company’s compound. The Myitkyina Journal editors opened a case against the managing director and five other employees of the mining company at the Waimaw police station under five charges…If found guilty, they could face a one-month to two-year prison sentence and a fine.

According to Myanmar TradeNet, the company is a joint venture between a local Kachin business and a Chinese partner which is active in mining, imports and exports and tissue-culture banana plantations…For more than two years, China-backed banana plantations have been facing a backlash from local residents in Kachin State, where operators are accused of working lands acquired controversially. As the banana plantations expand, villagers displaced by fighting and living in IDP camps are increasingly concerned that their land may be occupied, and that they will not be able to farm it when they return home…

According to a 2017 environmental study by the Lisu Civil Society Organization, Chinese companies have been planting tissue culture bananas since 2012 in Kachin State’s Special Region 1…the companies are using insecticides, weed killers and fertilizers and disposing of them carelessly. This has led to the pollution of water supplies in these areas, in turn causing soil damage and killing fish and livestock.

The Irrawaddy was unable to reach anyone at Tha Khin Sit for their comments on Wednesday.

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Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy


據記者工作的密支那雜誌主編稱,一名礦業公司的總經理和工作人員周二拘禁並襲擊了兩名記者,他們面臨五項指控,其中包括企圖傷害一名女性和非法拘禁。一家中國合資企業,Tha Khin Sit Mining進出口公司的主管和員工在該雜誌發表了一篇關於當地居民計劃對該公司清拆位於克欽邦Waimaw鎮的香蕉種植園提出抗議的報導後一天,強行從密支那雜誌辦公室帶走了兩名記者。記者被分別單獨關押在公司大院的房間裡...這兩名記者是在雇主聯繫了Waimaw鎮警察局後才被釋放,警察局派出警察包圍了公司大院。密支那雜誌編輯根據五項指控向Waimaw警察局提起對礦業公司主管和其他五名僱員的申訴...如果被判有罪,他們可能面臨一個月至兩年的徒刑和罰款。


截止週三,《伊洛瓦底》雜誌未能與Tha Khin Sit公司取得聯繫。

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Author: Nan Lwin, Irrawaddy


据记者工作的密支那杂志主编称,一名矿业公司的总经理和工作人员周二拘禁并袭击了两名记者,他们面临五项指控,其中包括企图伤害一名女性和非法拘禁。一家中国合资企业,Tha Khin Sit Mining进出口公司的主管和员工在该杂志发表了一篇关于当地居民计划对该公司清拆位于克钦邦Waimaw镇的香蕉种植园提出抗议的报道后一天,强行从密支那杂志办公室带走了两名记者。记者被分别单独关押在公司大院的房间里...这两名记者是在雇主联系了Waimaw镇警察局后才被释放,警察局派出警察包围了公司大院。密支那杂志编辑根据五项指控向Waimaw警察局提起对矿业公司主管和其他五名雇员的申诉...如果被判有罪,他们可能面临一个月至两年的徒刑和罚款。


截止周三,《伊洛瓦底》杂志未能与Tha Khin Sit公司取得联系。

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9 March 2019

Myanmar: Banana plantation's chemical use pose harm to livestock & people

Author: Khine Thazin Han & Zaw Linn Naing, Myanmar Times

"Villagers say banana business threatens their way of life", 7 March 2019

Villagers and farmers protesting against the practices of a nearby banana plantation....

...They said the plantation, which is believed to use the tissue culture method to grow bananas, has led to the death of livestock and losses to farmers due to the chemicals it uses.

U Aung Myint, Khout Sint village administrator, said: ..."The plantation claims that the government bought the land and allowed them to operate it, so we have to move, as we are considered squatters. We have been living in the area and working the land for many years. They use large amounts of chemicals that could be dangerous to animals and people, so we are trying to stop them."

U Aung Myint claimed that some of the village's cattle had died as a result of the chemicals.

U Tun Aye, secretary of the Myanmar Ethnic Farmers Union, said "...Land collectively owned by villagers has been gradually disappearing. Cattle die if they fall into the plantation's ditches or just by drinking the water,"....


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23 June 2018

Myanmar: Villagers fleeing armed conflict in Kachin lose lands to Chinese banana plantations

Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times

"Chinese banana plantations flourish as villagers lose their land in Kachin", 22 June 2018

As residents in Kachin State flee from their homes due to fighting between the Tatmadaw (military) and the ethnic Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Chinese businessmen are planting tissue-culture bananas....

...Land is being lost...and it is increasingly difficulty to earn a living, the villagers said.

Officials of the company said that tissue-culture bananas are grown on more than 10,000 acres near Law Sar by a joint venture between China’s Zhen Xin Co. and Chang Yin Khu Development Co., which is locally owned. 

...Chinese companies use insecticides, weed killers and fertilisers on the bananas, and these are disposed of carelessly. This has led to the contamination of water in the area, resulting in the deaths of cattle and damage to the soil....

...Another difficulty that the villagers are facing daily is water. The Chinese growers are pumping water from the streams....

There are difficulties to take action against Chinese companies as they are doing their business under the protection of the armed forces, he said. 

Because of expansion of Chinese banana plantation areas at abandoned villages, the refugees are afraid that they have no more place to return to once the fighting ends....


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Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times


香蕉公司的員工稱,這些在Law Sar地區的組織培養香蕉種植面積超過10,000英畝,是由中國Zhen Xin公司和當地的Chang Yin Khu發展公司組建的合資企業投產…中國企業使用殺蟲劑、除草劑和化肥培育香蕉,並隨意丟棄。這引發了當地的水污染,導致牲畜死亡和土壤破壞…村民們日常面臨的一大問題就是飲水。中國種植者們從溪流中抽水…


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Author: Char Thar, Myanmar Times


香蕉公司的员工称,这些在Law Sar地区的组织培养香蕉种植面积超过10,000英亩,是由中国Zhen Xin公司和当地的Chang Yin Khu发展公司组建的合资企业投产…中国企业使用杀虫剂、除草剂和化肥培育香蕉,并随意丢弃。这引发了当地的水污染,导致牲畜死亡和土壤破坏…村民们日常面临的一大问题就是饮水。中国种植者们从溪流中抽水…



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11 February 2018

Tissue culture bananas called a threat

Author: Khin Su Wai, Myanmar Times

About 200 villagers in Waingmaw in Kachin State are protesting against Chinese companies that are planting tissue culture bananas, which they say are causing land and environmental problems. The Chinese companies started planting three years ago, and it has been spread to Myitkyina and Tar Law Gyi from Waingmaw. Objection letters signed by some 800 residents were sent to the chief minister’s office twice last year but there has been no response from the authorities… After the protest, the township administrator asked the Chinese companies to acknowledge their protest letter and told them to begin work after getting permission from the national and state governments….

“There are four Chinese firms. One company owns 1200 acres and another company owns 850 acres. These two firms came and signed but the list is not complete yet. Only the field belonging to one firm has ripe bananas. …[V]illagers [who] have rented out their land to Chinese companies [were affected]. To make things worse for local people, the companies involved in the plantation bring their own workers from China, who are involved in every stage of production. …[A]ccording to rumours, no other plants can be grown on land used to grow tissue culture bananas for at least five years.

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18 January 2018

Kachin IDPs fear land grabs in the villages they once called home

Author: Htun Khaing, Frontier Myanmar

Border trade, …has…revived and crossings are busy with trucks entering China loaded with products from Myanmar, particularly corn, banana, rice, watermelon and animal feed. Many of the companies that have set up banana plantations are thought to be fronts for Chinese investors. …[A] lawyer from Waingmaw Township in Kachin State, said the technical expertise and investment come from China, and all of the produce from the plantations is exported. Most of the labourers are migrants from Rakhine State. …“Only Myanmar companies are allowed to invest in banana plantations but everyone knows many Chinese people are investing[.]”

… The news that companies from China are investing in banana plantations is causing anxiety among…villagers living in IDP camps in Kachin, …U Dashi Lamaing…was shocked to recently find a plantation had been established on part of his orange orchard. …U Thein Soe…said local media had reported that the government has granted a 30-year lease to a private company to establish a banana plantation near his village. He despairs at the prospect of losing his land.

Kachin State Hluttaw lawmaker U Naw Li…said…that the government had not given legal approval to plantations on land owned by IDPs. …[He] submitted a question to the state assembly about the banana plantations, and the government responded that it would “find a way to solve the problem”. “…I got a lot of complaints from IDPs about their land,” … “We have started collecting information on how much land has been occupied, when the plantations were started and where they are located.” …the Kachin Independence Organisation, issued a statement…warning that the illegal occupation of land by some companies and individuals to establish plantations must stop. …

The Reverend Lama Yaw, of the Kachin Baptist Convention, said the Union government and all armed groups in Kachin – including ethnic armies and the Tatmadaw – had a responsibility to ensure that villagers displaced by war did not lose their land. “There will be problems if the refugees return home and discover that their land has been taken[.]”…

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22 February 2016

FEATURE-Conflict and powerful companies stoke land disputes in Myanmar's Kachin

Author: Thin Lei Win, Reuters

La Laung Daung Nan vividly remembers …[a]lone in front of the two-acre plot of land her family had been allocated in a United Nations-led project, she waited for fellow villagers to turn up. They had been sent by officials and were coming to take down the barbed wire that protected her rubber saplings from the trampling of cows and buffalos. …Daung Nan, her husband and 16 others…are in a legal tussle with village authorities over land they consider theirs, but which officials say is part of 1,600 acres designated as grazing ground. The villagers say they were not consulted about plans to turn their land into grazing grounds and believe it was a ploy by officials who planned to profit from renting out 300 acres to a Chinese company for a banana plantation.

Campaign group “Land In Our Hands” said in a 2015 report Kachin…has the second largest number of land confiscations after Shan state. “Land confiscations in Kachin have been so rampant there is little vacant land left,”…“Villagers are too scared to speak up….”Fighting between ethnic insurgents and the army, which flared up again in 2011 …has weakened communities’ rights and driven more than 100,000 civilians from their homes. Many worry whether they will still be able to access their farmland when peace returns and accuse the army of seizing swathes of land.

… Changes in land ownership and use are among key issues in Myanmar’s political and economic transition, with deep resentment and protests over acquisitions for infrastructure, development or large-scale agricultural projects.

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