Over 1,000 Chinese workers in Burma’s Chibwe hydropower project

Written by KNG
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 16:07
To expedite the hydropower project in N’Mai River at Chibwe city in Burma’s northern Kachin state, about 1,000 Chinese workers have been inducted in the project site since late December, 2008, said local sources.1205-chibwe-dam
The junta’s seven hydropower projects in Mali and N’Mai Rivers in Kachin State, northern Burma.
The Chinese workers are employed by China’s China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) and they are working together with about 300 Burmese workers of the Burma-Asia World Company which is owned by Burma’s former drug king Lo Hsing Han, residents of Chibwe said.

The number of Chinese workers have increased significantly in Chibwe hydropower project site to about 1,000 from about 300 in early December, 2008, added residents of Chibwe.

Currently, workers from the two companies are working in two projects— inspection work in N’Mai River near Chibwe, the second largest river in Kachin state and construction of small hydropower plant in Chibwe stream which joins the N’Mai River for generating electricity for constructing a bigger hydropower plant in N’Mai River near Chibwe, according to local people.

Mr. Awng Wa, an anti-dam activist and chairman of Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) based on the Sino-Burma border told KNG today, “Chinese companies working under CPI in Chibwe hydropower project are also taking out valuable minerals from the project areas to China while working for the hydropower project.”

According to residents and traders on the Sino-Burma border in Chibwe, the area has ore, silver, aluminum, lead, graphite and other minerals which are highly priced in neighbouring China.

The Asia World Company is also constructing a building — 300 x 50 feet in the Chibwe Football Ground which was confiscated by the Burmese ruling junta in October, 2008 for three military helipads. The building will be used as the general office of the Chibwe hydropower project and it has a meeting room, office staff room and car parking space, said sources close to the company.

Owners of restaurants in Chibwe are also seriously suffering and are about to close their shops because the workers in Asia World Company eat daily at their restaurants without paying for the past six months to a year. On the other hand, owners of house construction stores have to provide the materials demanded by the company without getting payment for a long time.

The shop owners are unable to complain to the CPI and Asia World Company because they are strongly backed by the Burmese ruling junta, added local residents.

Chibwe hydropower project is one of a total seven hydropower projects in Mali and N’Mai Rivers in Kachin state which is being built by the CPI and Asia World Company of the junta since 2006. The Chibwe hydropower project will generate a total of 2,000 MW of electricity.

According to sources from the two companies, the Chibwe hydropower project is being implemented under a 20-year project. http://www.kachinnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=1

Kachin party – but not KIO – to contest 2010 election

by Mizzima News
Tuesday, 13 January 2009 22:51

(Interview with Dr. Tu Jar)

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) will not be transformed into a political party to contest the planned 2010 general election, however civilians from the party will contest the election. Meanwhile, the KIO will cautiously follow news being circulated on the mounting pressure on ceasefire groups to surrender, according to Dr. Tu Jar, Vice-Chairman of the KIO, which reached a ceasefire agreement with Burma’s military junta in 1994.

Mizzima’s Phanida interviewed the Vice-Chairman and asked him of his views on politics, economics and environmental and health issues.

Q: Will the KIO contest the 2010 general election as a political party?

A: The KIO will never form a political party and contest the election. Only civilians will form a party and they will contest this election. The KIO has nothing to do with forming political parties and contesting elections; as this is a matter solely for civilians.

Q: We heard that the Kachin Consultative Council will form a political party. Is it true?

A: No, the Kachin Consultative Council will not form a political party, only civilians will form a political party. There will be occasional consultation and cooperation between leaders of the Consultative Council and leaders of other Kachin organizations, but the Kachin Consultative Council has nothing to do with politics and it will not form a political party. The people will form a party freely. This is our plan.

Q: If they so desire, how can KIO members join this party?

A: If they wish to join the party, they must quit any other organizations. The newly established party will be an independent party. It must be like that, and it will be like that.
Q: Let me ask again. Are you sure the KIO will not contest the 2010 election?

A: Our KIO organization will not contest the election and will not form a political party. We will follow the current path and will enter into a dialogue with the new government, which will emerge at the end of the 7-step roadmap. So, the KIO will not form a political party and will not contest this election. We will not make any trouble until the end of the roadmap, maintaining our current position and status. continue http://www.mizzima.com/edop/interview/1540-kachin-party-but-not-kio-to-contest-2010-election.html

The chronological aspect of the karen ancestry and their national movement background histiory in briek

Monday, January 12, 2009

Karen Youth Seminar8 to 11 January 2009AUSTRALIA KAREN ORGANIZATION INCComplied by:Mahn Chit SeinThe chronological aspect of the Karen ancestry and their nationalmovement background history in briefThe Karen’s settlementThe Karen are the decendants of Mongolian.They are the first to migrate and settled down in a country known as Burma followed by Mon, Shan,Rakine and Myanmar etc.According to Saw Aung Hla,a Karen Historian,the Karen routed from MongolianPlateau,through Tibet,crossing western China into Burma.For the first time, the Karenmoved down through Mekong Meinum riverine route to the South East Asia region in the year 1125 and settled down in Laos.Cambodia andVietnam.In BC 739,the cruised down the coast of the river Salween and Irrawaddy andput down roots at north and south easten Thailand,southern Shan State and centralBurma from where they also spread down to deltra region and Sitting river basin.Historically,the Karen settled down in nine areas in river valleys and basins namely(1)Yangse valley(2)Ho-valley(3)sit-kyan valley(4)Kong-tone valley(5)Mai-Kongvalley(6)Mei-Num valley(7)Salween valley(8)Irrawaddy valley and(9)Siottaung valleyin south east asia more than 3000 years ago.Because of their past habitation in these river valleys they are known as “Koe-D_Thar”.Yang-se river in China is named after the Yen people who lived in the upper reaches of the river and the Chinese historical document recorded that Yen are the Karen people.Karens existence during feudalistic eraMon,Shan,Myanmar and Rakhine arrived successively and adopting feudalism,set uptheir individual satets. Serious rivalries developed between the states and numbers ofclashed took place.Feudalism is absolute monarchy.A handful of autocrats ruled and enslaved the people.Clashes between the states were brutal and the losers were slaughtered by the winners.Cilivization and cultural heritages were confiscated and the masseive ones are destropyedand set on fire.Because of these reciprocal cruelties there was no peaceful period.Only whena powerful country defeat and colonized all other countries, the fightingcased and the rehabilitation of the country began.The benefits of the undertaking areenjoyed only by the autocrats,their families,their relatives and the service personnel.TheBurmese despots wrervictorious during King Anawrahtar reign in 1044AD, Bayin-naungreignduring 1531 AD-1551 ADand A-Long-Pha-Yar regin during 1753-1761AD.The Burmese historians interpreted these period as “ability in country-wideorganization”.The losers weregathering strength for revenge and they relative whenever they can.Thewinners used various methods of brutality to oppress these rebels.The feeling of tacialhatred was conceived among the people ever since autocrats ruling.Because of theseautocrats expansionism and theiragression thee lives of the karen became slaves tocultivation.All land,houses,prperties and animals belonged to them were robbed andconfiscated.Had to go on hiding at remote and uninhabited places. Suffered death forlack of food and illness.This deadly life and suffering went on for thousands of years.Therefore the karen areabysmally poor, out-of-date,prepetually rearing,discouraged,low self opinion,over contented,low self esteem.These are thelegacy of undesirabletraits and illness left to the Karen by the auto crafts.Colonialism and the Karen existence.While,Mon,Burmese,Rakhine and Shan arefighting each ther for aggression andtrespassing.In 17AD,the western European countries began colonization to establishcolonies.Portugese,Spanish,Dutch,English and French arrived in Asian countries for trade and commerce and gradually colonizedthe countries.The British owned EastIndian Company came intoconflicits with the Burmese King over the trade and wagedthree wars with the Burmese Kings.After the first battle in 1824,The British seized Rakhine and Tennesarim coastal area,thesecond battle in1852,lower Burma ,Pegu divisionand Irrawaddy delta area.In 1885,theBritish made the final assualt and occupied the whole country.Nearly one thousand yearsrule of ruthless,ferocious and bullinf Burmese autocrats has come to an end.The countryhas fallen into the hands of British Empire.It was said that the Karenw who suffwered the atrocities andmistreatment under the Burmese autocrats,felts relieved and better.The Britisn colonized Burma and monopolized the economy of the country and Capitalism developed.They conduct the bureaucracy means of administration,oppressiveandinflexible,divide and rule and created hatred and contempt which resulted inhostilities and provocations among the races.In the year 1830 and 1840,it was said the Karen made progress in S’ gaw Karen andPwo Karen literature. The American Missionariesnot only initiated this literacy but setup the class room for teaching.In 1914,primary schoool was established followed bymiddle schoole in1924 and high school in1926. 2/3 of the Karen male and femalestudents were able to attend the universities and colleges operated by the BritishGovernment.Brilliant and outstanding Karen students werechosen to study in Englandand America for higher education.The Karen intellectuals were employed to work in the British administration departments.That time, the Karen p[eople set up organizations fortheir religions,social and national developments.They are:-Daw-ka-lu(KNA)formed in 1881Karen Buddhist Association formedin 1919Byin-ma-so-AssociationKaren Baptist AssociationKareb Educational AssociationKarenWriters AssociationKaren Labors OrganizationKaren Research AssociationThese organizations worked for the comprehensive developement of the Karencommunity.The significant betterment the community made compares to threat,oppression,torture and killing suffered under the rule of autocrats,is noteworthy.But the changes were meanningful;

Col Yawdserk, leader of the SSA South, was not so sure about this. “However, he’s entitled to his opinions,” he said without elaboration.

Wa could be junta diversion
by admin — last modified 2009-01-13 07:21
Despite a flurry of activities that have been seemingly directed against the Wa, the real objective of the Burma Army’s military preparations could be against the anti-Naypyitaw Shan State Army (SSA) South, according to seasoned border watchers
One quoted a recent complaint made by a local Military Affairs Security (MAS) officer in Mongton, opposite Chiangmai: “We want them (the Wa) to fight against the SSA, but they are not interested. We want to finish them off, but our offensive will only result in pushing them to the SSA. The Chinese (believed to be patrons of the Wa) also don’t like the idea much.”

One senior border watcher agreed. “The SSA-UWSA alliance may also be able to jeopardize the upcoming 2010 elections especially in Shan State”, he said. “On the other hand, attacking the SSA, and not the UWSA, could prevent it from disrupting the elections.”

Col Yawdserk, leader of the SSA South, was not so sure about this. “However, he’s entitled to his opinions,” he said without elaboration.

The comments followed reports of a visit on the Thai-Burma border by Maj-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Chief of Bureau for Special Operations (BSO) #2, who oversees military operations in Shan State, on 11-12 January.

Among his reportedly 20-men entourage was Maj-Gen Mya Win, Chief of Directorate of Artillery. The visit also coincided with a report of 20 armored vehicles arriving in Monghsat, 42 miles east of Mongton. The Burma Army has also been hounding the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to allow it to establish a heavy weapons base near Hwe Aw, where the UWSA’s 171st Military Region is headquartered.

In the meantime, the pro-junta militia units are being re-organized on township basis, according to a local source. “For instance,” he said, “Tin Win of Maeken has become the head of all the militia units in Mongton township and Ja Pikoi of Nakawngmu his deputy. They have also been ordered to expand their bases, and to recruit and train.”

Min Aung Hlaing is expected in Mongla and Mongpawk on the Sino-Burma border today and tomorrow, according to a source from the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), officially known as Shan State Special Region #4. “We’re used to dealing with him since he was the regional commander in Kengtung until last year,” he said. “His style is a stick and carrot one, not only urging us to surrender but what the benefits will be for us if we surrender.”

The UWSA meanwhile has begun a year long cadet training in Longtang near Kunma, north of the Wa capital Panghsang. There are 180 cadets in all and the head of the training is none other than Bao Youliang, the Wa supreme leader Bao Youxiang’s younger brother.

The SSA South is also training nearly 1,000 recruits and 140 officers at their main base in Loi Taileng, opposite Maehongson province, according to a local security source.

On the political side, it has also formed an alliance with several non-Shan groups in Shan State in December, when a 7 member committee was formed to draft a charter acceptable to most of not all parties.

Min Aung Naing’s Mongton visit was preceded by a two-day tour by Brig-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, Commander of Kengtung-based Triangle Region Command, 6-7 January.

Migrants’ work permits being extended

by Shanherald
y Hseng Khio Fah
13 January 2009

On 7 January, authorities from Department of Employment (DOE) in Thailand announced that there are 88,787 migrant workers whose work permit will expire in 2009. They are requested to prepare the necessary documents such as the old work permit (pink card) or receipt of the work permit registration, medical certificate or receipt of medical checkup and insurance, and application form Tor Thor 13.

The report said that those work-permits must be finished extending by the scheduled date from 5-20 January, 2-28 February, 4 May to 30 June 2009 depending on when their existing work permit expires. In February of 2010 all Burmese migrants will have to return to their home country to apply for a new system of legal work-permit papers from the Burmese authorities.

On 6 January at 20:00, local authorities in Chiangmai called on representatives of the Workers Solidarity Association (WSA) also based in Chiangmai to discuss work permits to be issued by the Burmese junta, according to Sai Hawm Khurh from WSA.

“They [Thai authorities] said there won’t be an extension of work permits again next year. So, they have started to collect names [of current workers] to begin work under this new system. They told us to give our names to apply for it,” said Sai Hawm Khurh. continue http://www.shanland.org/general/2009/migrants2019-work-permits-being-extended

Eight Burmese human trafficking victims were freed during a raid by Thai immigration authorities in Mahachai, Thailand, yesterday. The victims include 2 women and 6 children, ages 15 to 17.

logoHurform-Immigration raid frees eight human trafficking victims near Bangkok
January 13, 2009
Women and Child Rights Project:
Eight Burmese human trafficking victims were freed during a raid by Thai immigration authorities in Mahachai, Thailand, yesterday. The victims include 2 women and 6 children, ages 15 to 17.
The eight victims had been forced to work 7-day workweeks of 19-hours per day, for the last 3 months. Though they had agreed to work off a 25,000 baht debt to the trafficker who transported them to Thailand, they were only being given a fraction of a legal or fair working wage.
According to the victims, they were receiving only 1,000 baht per week, far below the salary their long days should have been earning. Thai law sets the minimum wage at 203 baht per day for a working day of 8 hours. Over-time is supposed to earn an extra 38 baht per hour.
The victims are now in a safe house controlled by the Thai government. None of them possess work permits, said the WCRP field reporter who spoke with them, and they are likely to be deported when the investigation into the trafficking closes.
The victims could give little information about the trafficker, whose name they said they did not know. He is around 30 years old, they described, and from their native village in Teinzayut Township, Mon State.
The victims arrived to Thailand by traveling via bus to the border near Mae Sot, and then walking for 5 or 6 days to Mahachai, on the outskirts of Bangkok.
“I didn’t want to come to Thailand to work, but I was worried for my daughter and son. So I follow them to Thailand,” said one of the victims.
The victims were initially arrested along with 171 other migrant workers from Burma. On January 12th, officials from the Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI) entered a shrimp factory in Mahachai and arrested 100 women, 19 children and 52 men.

Corrupt taxation enriching government appointed headman in Mudon Township

HURFOM: A government-appointed headman in Nang Hlone village, Mudon Township, is enriching himself by collecting higher taxes than his counterparts in neighboring villages, say local sources.
Last week, the headman, Nai Win Shinn, began collecting a 4,000 kyat tax from rubber plantation owners, per 400 trees. The tax came at the behest of the Forestry Department. According to a source in the Naung Hlone Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC), the order was only for 200 kyat to be collected per 400 trees.
Other nearby headman appeared to be raising the tax for personal profit, but not to the degree experienced in Nang Hlong. “Some villages nearby our village have to pay one thousand kyat for four hundred trees. But in our village, the headman collected four thousands kyat,” said a local resident. Nai Win Shinn, who was appointed by the government three years ago, is reaching the end of his term as headman.
According to a former resident who moved to Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai-Burma border last year, the recent taxation is usual practice for Nai Win Shin. “He takes every opportunity on collect taxes from villagers. If upper levels order him to collect one thousand, he will collect two,” said the former resident. “There are many kinds of taxes: security taxes, for the pipeline, for militia. The cost of my labor is not enough to pay. I didn’t want to live that kind of life so I moved to Three Pagodas Pass. My life here is better – I do not have to the taxes at all.”
Nai Win Shinn stands to make substantial income from just this recent round of taxation, said the VPDC source, even though he has to share a portion of the proceeds with the Forestry Department. According to the VPDC source, Nang Hlone village is home to at least 500 families, each with more than 1,000 rubber trees.
Plantation owners, meanwhile, say that they are struggling to pay the tax, with some refusing. “The price of rubber has dramatically dropped,” said one plantation owner. According to a recent report by the Independent Mon News Agency, rubber currently fetches less than a fourth of its value a few months ago. “I own one thousand and five hundred trees,” added the owner. “I don’t know where can I get the money. Some of the rubber plantation owners in Nang Hlone villagers have given the tax to the headman, but the rest have not agreed to this.” http://rehmonnya.org/archives/579

170 migrant workers arrested in raid on Thai factory
Tue 13 Jan 2009, Mon Son, Blai Mon
Over 170 Burmese migrant workers were arrested yesterday when Thai officials conducted an immigration raid on a shrimp factory in Mahachai, Samut Sakorn Province, Thailand. ……The victims are currently in a safe house controlled by the Thai government, says a press release from the WCRP, though they are likely to be deported once the trafficking case has been investigated. The other workers seized in the factory raid are being held at the Mahachai police station, said the family member, and are likely to be deported back to Burma soon.

According to a release from a consortium of eight Thai non-governmental organizations helping migrant workers in the area, Mahachai is home to over 200,000 migrant workers, 90% of whom are from Burma. The majority are employed in the seafood processing industry.

The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British Government to investigate if UK registered insurance companies have bribed the Burmese junta. The call follows insurance giant, Aon, being fined £5.25 million last week for financial crimes, including reportedly bribing a junta owned company.

British Government Must Investigate If UK Insurers Bribed Burmese Junta
12 Jan 2009
The Burma Campaign UK today called on the British Government to investigate if UK registered insurance companies have bribed the Burmese junta. The call follows insurance giant, Aon, being fined £5.25 million last week for financial crimes, including reportedly bribing a junta owned company.

“Corruption is endemic in Burma, the Financial Services Authority must now investigate all companies that have insured business in Burma, focusing on Lloyd’s of London. We know a number of Lloyd’s of London companies, including Catlin, Atrium and Kiln, have insured business in Burma – but the million dollar question is “have they bribed the junta?” said Johnny Chatterton, Campaigns Officer at the Burma Campaign UK. “This is a warning to all companies operating in Burma. By trading in Burma you are not only funding a murderous dictatorship but also exposing your company to million dollar fines and reputational disaster.”

In a letter to the British Government Anna Roberts, Director of the Burma Campaign UK wrote: “Given the widespread corruption in Burma we are concerned that (re)insurance companies operating in the Burmese market may have committed financial crimes in their dealings with businesses in the country.” Corruption is endemic in Burma; Transparency International ranks Burma as the second most corrupt country in the world in its 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Many UK companies have provided (re)insurance services to companies in Burma, as detailed in the Burma Campaign UK report, Insuring Repression. Lloyd’s of London chairman Lord Levene was criticised by the Foreign Office in September 2008 for allowing Lloyd’s syndicates to insure companies in Burma.

Note to editors:

The Burma Campaign UK report, Insuring Repression is available here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/insurance.php
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index is available here: http://www.transparency.org/news_room/in_focus/2008/cpi2008/cpi_2008_table
The Times Article regarding the Aon fine is available here: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article5477968.ece