Anti-Irrawaddy dam movement gathers momentum
Thursday, 28 January 2010 KNG
With the anti-Irrawaddy Myitsone Dam movement gaining momentum, signatures collected demanding a halt to the project in Burma’s Northern Kachin State were handed over today by ethnic Kachins in Singapore to the Chinese Embassy in the city-state, said anti-dam activists.The signature campaign letters were signed by 110 Kachins in the city-state and were handed over this morning to Mr. Cheng Hong Bo, Second Secretary of the Political and Press Section of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China by two representatives of the Singapore-based Kachin Literature and Culture, also called Jinghpaw Laili Laika hte Htunghking Hpung (JLH) in Kachin, the organization’s general secretary Awng Di told Kachin News Group today. Awng Di, one of the two JLH leaders, who delivered the letters to the Chinese Embassy said, “We talked to the Second Secretary of the Chinese Embassy and he promised a reply”. The two JLH leaders talked to Mr. Cheng Hong Bo in his office from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Singapore time, he added.
“He said this is the first time ever that his office had received such letters so he needed to discuss it with his senior officers and then make a response,” he added.
The JLH leaders said the two anti-dam letters with signatures in English and Chinese languages were delivered to the Chinese embassy. It pointed to the damaging effects of the dam construction, where 15,000 villagers will be displaced and millions will face insecurity over flooding if the dam collapses. It detailed the wish of the Kachin people.
“We hope China will consider our request. If they say no, the Burmese junta will go ahead. The decision to continue is in the hands of the Chinese,” said Awng Di.
He said they were into the anti-dam movement to save local people, whose lives are threatened by the dam project.
Awng Wa, Chairman of the Kachin Development Networking Group (KDNG) on the Sino-Burma border urged all Kachin people inside and abroad to unite in protest against the dam construction because it will destroy not only the place but also put in danger the lives of those living along the Irrawaddy River.
“It is a good thing that Kachin people around the world are becoming involved in the protest. We need to stop it because it threatens not only Kachin people but the ecology and the environment,” he said.
On January 19, the Kachin community in the United Kingdom sent the signature campaign to the Chinese Embassy in London. They are to protest against the Myitsone dam project outside the Burmese Embassy in UK on February 5, the 49th Kachin Revolution Day, organizers said.
On the same day anti-dam demonstrators also plan to protest outside the Burmese Embassies in Japan and Australia, according to the London-based Kachin National Organization (KNO) which is organizing the movement.