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China silent to appeals from across the globe to halt dam on Irrawaddy River

By Kachin Development Networking Group  •  March 2, 2010

Ignoring its stated commitments to social responsibility in foreign investment projects, the Chinese government has failed to reply to numerous public appeals from affected peoples and petitions submitted by overseas Kachin to Chinese embassies in five countries to stop the Irrawaddy-Myitsone dam project in Kachin State, Burma.

Open letters from Kachin State leaders and affected villagers, highlighting concerns including the forced displacement of 15,000 people and the likelihood of a disastrous dam break in an earthquake-prone area, have been ignored.

Recent petitions addressed to Premier Wen Jiabao were submitted in January to Chinese embassies in Bangkok, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Wellington. Only the Chinese embassy in Singapore responded, replying that the submission had been passed on to relevant authorities.

The Irrawaddy-Myitsone dam is a 50-storey-tall project being built by state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI). The dam will produce 6,000 MW of power for export to China, and is the first in a series of seven Chinese dams on the Irrawaddy and its tributaries.

The Chairman of the Kachin Independence Organization in an open letter to Burma’s Senior General Than Shwe underscored the importance of the Irrawaddy to millions of people depending on the river, saying that “the reliability of the Irrawaddy’s natural fluvial flow allows the Delta to exist as one of the world’s biggest rice-producing areas.”

Despite widespread resistance to the project, road construction to the dam site is going ahead at high speed.

“Affected peoples and Kachin from across the globe have made it clear they don’t want this dam. How can China remain silent?” said Ah Nan from the Kachin Development Networking Group. “We urge the Chinese government and Chinese Power Investment to respond to our appeals.”

China’s domestic dam-building standards call for public participation in decision-making while the State Council’s principles for overseas investment require “caring for and supporting the local community and people’s livelihood.”

For more information please contact:
Ahnan: (66)848854154, kdngchn@gmail.com
Or visit: www.burmariversnetwork.org

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This post is in: Press Release

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