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.

Cardinal Charles Bo Asks Myanmar, Chinese Leaders to Scrap Myitsone Dam

Statement issued Monday is the cardinal’s second on the topic this year.

Myitsone—Decision Time for the ‘People’s Leader’

For State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, saving the Irrawaddy River means saving herself.

Myitsone Dam Is Now a Sovereignty Issue

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.

Prominent Activists, Writers Form Group to Oppose Myitsone Dam

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.

As China Pushes, Opposition to Myitsone Dam Builds

Politicians, Kachin activists, environmentalists join displaced villagers in taking a stand against the BRI project on the Irrawaddy River.

Suu Kyi Repeats Call for ‘Wider Perspective’ on Myitsone Dam

She vows a transparent decision that will be socially, environmentally sustainable, but does not offer a personal view or a timeline.

Chinese Company Lobbies Locals on Reboot of Suspended Myitsone Dam Project

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.

Analysis: Behind the Threats and Warnings of Chinese Ambassador’s Kachin Visit

During meetings with Ambassador Hong Liang, Kachin leaders felt he pressured them on westerns relations and Belt and Road Initiative projects.

Why Is China In a Hurry to Revive the Myitsone Dam 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.

Gov’t Working on Final Decision for Myitsone Dam, Minister Says

Minister U Thaung Tun acknowledges ‘misguided’ project has many environmental, social challenges and is deeply unpopular

Myitsone Dam ‘Must Be Stopped’: Cardinal Bo

‘Mother Irrawaddy’ in danger of being lost to the ‘greed of a superpower’, he warns

Military Chief Discusses IDPs, Peace, Myitsone Dam with Kachin Religious Leaders

He says Tatmadaw wants to get peace talks on track and facilitate IDPs’ return; Myitsone Dam ‘in Parliament’s hands’

One Year On, No Response on Myitsone Impact Assessment

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.

Say No to Myitsone

As the government equivocates, public outrage against the dam project is building.

Police Open Case Against Anti-Myitsone Dam Protest Leader

Ja Hkawn faces lawsuit over ‘unauthorized’ loudspeakers, headbands at huge rally in Myitkyina

Chinese Officials Again Pressure Kachin Leaders to Back Myitsone Dam

Yunnan officials insist dam will benefit Myanmar, Kachin religious leaders say after meeting in Ruili