Kyaukphyu Locals Plan Protest Against Chinese Company Over Compensation Claims

By Moe Myint 24 July 2015

RANGOON – About 100 Kyaukphyu residents plan to hold a protest on July 29 near the office of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) on Maday Island, close to the site of a deep-sea port, according to a local community organization.

“Even though the project [the deep-sea port] is completely finished, the issue of compensation for farmlands is still unresolved. That’s why we will protest,” said Tun Kyi, coordinator of Kyaukphyu Rural Development Association (KDRA).

Protesters from three villages where over 100 acres of land were damaged or appropriated to make way for the port and related infrastructure will participate in the rally.

Tun Lwin, coordinator of the Kyaukphyu Social Network, said Arakan State chief minister Maung Maung Ohn had made past pledges to resolve the compensation issue, but no progress had been made.

CNPC could not be reached for comment on Friday.

While the would-be demonstrators have applied for official permission, Tun Kyi insisted that villagers would march the over one mile from their community to CNPC’s offices, with or without the authorities’ consent.

Kyaukphyu District Police Colonel Win Kyi confirmed on Friday that police had received the locals’ application to protest, but no decision had yet been made.

Local opposition to large-scale development projects has materialized on numerous occasions in Kyaukphyu, the starting point of dual oil and gas pipelines that stretch across Burma to China’s Yunnan province.

In May, Kyaukphyu villagers held a demonstration against a coal-fired power plant backed by South Korea’s Daewoo International. Around 150 farmers also assembled in June to demand adequate compensation from the South Korean firm for ruined paddy fields near the site of the Shwe gas project.