Kachin Orgs Demand Chinese President Abandon Myitsone Dam Project

Myitsone dam project at Tanghpre, 27 miles north of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, northern Burma.

More than 50 Kachin organizations have called on Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is currently visiting Burma, to permanently cancel the China-backed Myitsone Dam on the confluence of the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State.

President Xi Jinping is on his first official visit to Burma in more than 10 years, from January 17-18 to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Kachin organizations sent a nine-point open letter to the Chinese embassy in Burma outlining their concerns regarding China’s investment plans, which President Xi Jinping is expected to promote during his trip to the country.

“We wrote this open letter because there are ongoing armed conflicts in our state. We want them to create fair investment and trade between Burma and China. We want them to respect justice and the local people,” Tsaji, who is working with the Kachin civil society network, told KNG.

Kachin organizations also demanded that China call off the Myitsone hydropower dam project, because of its threats to the environment, land rights, and social infrastructure of communities that stand to be negatively affected.

The Chinse government has invested in multiple projects in Kachin State, including the Kambaiti trading zone, the Nanjing special economic zone in Myitkyina, and massive sugar cane and tissue culture banana plantations and rare earth mining projects.

The 50 Kachin organizations also sent copies of their open letter to the President’s Office, State Counsellor’s office, and the Kachin State government.

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