Myitsone Dam Roundup
By The Irrawaddy 19 April 2019
The controversy over whether to resume work on the Beijing-backed Myitsone Dam has intensified since China’s ambassador to Myanmar attempted to pressure Kachin political and religious leaders to support the project late last year. But the people of Myanmar are still in the dark on their government’s plans for the dam—construction of which was suspended in 2011 by the previous government following a nationwide public outcry—as their leader, State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has been silent on the issue. The public is concerned that the US$3.6-billion (5.4 trillion kyats) project will destroy the country’s lifeline Irrawaddy River and disrupt its water flow downstream, and are worried about the project’s potential to flood an area the size of Singapore, destroy livelihoods and displace more than 10,000 people. Currently, anti-dam sentiment is running high in the country, with prominent environmentalists, academics, writers and artists rolling up their sleeves to save the Irrawaddy by saying no to the dam. At the same time, people are interested to see what the State Counselor will say on the issue when she meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week.
The Irrawaddy has been covering the Myitsone Dam issue since the late 2000s. Here we present some of our recent stories dating back to January of this year, when the dam issue was put back on the table by the Chinese side.
Statement issued Monday is the cardinal’s second on the topic this year.
For State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, saving the Irrawaddy River means saving herself.
As the State Counselor prepares to attend the BRI summit in Beijing, the likely political cost of yielding to China is becoming impossible to ignore.
More than 200 environmentalists, writers and civil society leaders formed the national committee on Monday to urge the government to cancel the Chinese-backed project.
Politicians, Kachin activists, environmentalists join displaced villagers in taking a stand against the BRI project on the Irrawaddy River.
She vows a transparent decision that will be socially, environmentally sustainable, but does not offer a personal view or a timeline.
Kachin State locals and officials say China’s State Power Investment Corporation is urging them to back the dam, which the government suspended under public pressure in 2011.
During meetings with Ambassador Hong Liang, Kachin leaders felt he pressured them on westerns relations and Belt and Road Initiative projects.
The reasons are many. For one, Myanmar’s falling out with the West over the Rohingya crisis gives China leverage to insist on a project neither Naypyitaw nor locals want.
Minister U Thaung Tun acknowledges ‘misguided’ project has many environmental, social challenges and is deeply unpopular
‘Mother Irrawaddy’ in danger of being lost to the ‘greed of a superpower’, he warns
He says Tatmadaw wants to get peace talks on track and facilitate IDPs’ return; Myitsone Dam ‘in Parliament’s hands’
A commission tasked with assessing impacts of hydropower projects on the Irrawaddy River submitted their findings one year ago, but a response is yet to come from the government.
As the government equivocates, public outrage against the dam project is building.
Ja Hkawn faces lawsuit over ‘unauthorized’ loudspeakers, headbands at huge rally in Myitkyina
Yunnan officials insist dam will benefit Myanmar, Kachin religious leaders say after meeting in Ruili