Ethnic Kachin people in the United Kingdom urged the Chinese government to withdraw their investments in the Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam project, which is being constructed by Chinese companies operating in Kachin State, because it is creating more human rights abuses.
The UK Kachin community made their request in a letter sent January 19th, to Madam Fu Ying, the Chinese Ambassador to London.
In it they asked the Chinese state-owned China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) halt dam construction in Kachin State, because it is being done against the will of the local people and it will cause harm to the environment.
“If we destroyed China’s Great Wall, China will be really angry. It is the same situation. We don’t want them to destroy our natural heritage,” Hkamhpa Tu, the joint secretary of UK-based Kachin National Organization (KNO) told the Kachin News Group.
The KNO’s appeal letter pointed out the negative impact on the environment, cultural heritage, livelihood, and safety of the local people by the hydro power projects.
It argued that the project only benefits the military junta, but, the local Kachin people will suffer hardship.
“It is well-documented that development projects in Burma are accompanied by increased militarization and associated abuses, including forced labor and rape,” said the KNO’s statement.
The KNO joint secretary added, “China and the Burmese government should understand this is our homeland, so they should not go ahead with the project against with our wishes. They should respect the autonomy of the Kachin people”.
The open letter also included a letter from Kachin elders and leaders in different areas of Kachin State and Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) Chairman, Lanyaw Zawng Hra, who also urged the Burmese junta to halt the project.
Although, the Kachin representatives urged the country’s military leader Senior General Than Shwe to act quickly to halt the construction, he has failed to do so.
The official opening ceremony for the dam construction phase was held December 21, 2009, by officials of the military, CPI and Asia World Company. Continue reading “Exiled Kachins urge China to stop Irrawaddy Myitsone dam project”