Committee Promises ‘Mass Demonstration’ If Myitsone Dam Continues

Ja Hkawn, Kachin activist at Yangon event on April 1, 2019

‘All citizens have a responsibility to stop it,’ an individual from a committee opposing the hydropower project said.

If the Burmese government fails to permanently call off the Myitsone hydropower dam in Kachin State, a major public demonstration will take place, a committee concerned with the project announced this week.

The Committee for the Complete Halt of the Myitsone Project organized a national meeting in Yangon on April 1 to explore how the dam—which is backed by China—could be stopped, in accordance with “the people’s desire.” More than 500 people from across the country attended the event, which was held at the hall of the Free Funeral Services Society.

“This relates to the whole nation of Burma. If the Myitsone project is implemented, it will affect the whole country. All citizens have a responsibility to stop it,” U Aung Myint, who is in charge of the committee, told KNG.

He went on to describe support for the Myitsone dam “treasonous” and said the government must take responsibility for calling off such projects deemed harmful by the people.

In Monday’s meeting, held at the hall of the Free Funeral Service Society’s office, representatives from state and regional governments discussed the risks of and concerns surrounding the dam and released a joint statement.

The statement declared that any continuation of the project would have a negative impact on national reconciliation and work toward democracy in Burma.

The Myitsone dam is proposed to be built on the confluence of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State, where the N’Mai and Mali rivers meet; the thousand of megawatts of electricity produced would be primarily exported to China.

Burma’s former President Thein Sein suspended the project in 2011. The current National League for Democracy administration is re-examining the proposed dam; in a public meeting in March in Bago Region, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi asked people to be “open-minded” about the Myitsone project.