Renewed fighting and refugee influx a wake-up call to Chinese dam-builders Burma Army clashes with Kokang at site of planned Upper Salween Dam

Shan activists are calling on China to immediately halt all investment in dams on the Salween River following the recent heavy fighting between the Burmese military regime and the Kokang ceasefire army near the site of the Upper Salween Dam planned by Chinese companies in northern Shan State.

Heavy clashes have taken place just east of the town of Kunlong, about 15 kms from the planned dam site. Fighting broke out on August 27, 2009, after the regime deployed thousands of troops to seize control of the Kokang territory, shattering the 20-year ceasefire and causing over 30,000 refugees to flee to China. Kokang forces have sought to repel the Burma Army troops.

Plans to build the Upper Salween Dam, also known as the Kunlong Dam, were announced in April 2007 by two Chinese companies, Hanergy Holding Group (formerly Farsighted Investment Group) and Gold Water Resources Company. Since then a team of Chinese and Burmese technicians have been conducting feasibility studies for the 2,400 MW dam, 25 kms from the Chinese border.

The Kunlong Dam is one of five mega dams being planned on the Salween in Burma by the SPDC and Chinese and Thai companies, to produce electricity to be sold to China and Thailand. The Shan Sapawa Environmental Organisation, together with the Salween Watch coalition of environmental groups from Thailand and Burma, has been monitoring the controversial dam plans for ten years and advocating for their immediate halt.

“The renewed fighting and the flood of refugees into Yunnan should be a wake-up call to China about the risks of investing in Burma,” said Sapawa spokesperson Sai Khur Hseng. “Not only is there no free and informed consent to these dam projects, but they are being built over the dead bodies of our people.”

The other mega dam being planned in Shan State is the giant 7,110 MW Ta Sang dam, 100 km from the Thai border. In early August, the regime renewed a scorched earth campaign in townships close to the Ta Sang dam site, torturing and killing civilians and driving 10,000 villagers from their homes.
For further information on the Salween dam plans, see www.salweenwatch.org

Comments

The Burmese generals are now

The Burmese generals are now trying to take back from China the portions of Northern Burma they effectively ceded to Chinese control over the past few decades. It remains to be seen who will win the battle between the twin oppressors of the people of the region, the Burmese or the Chinese.

The Burmese offensive is taking place in the wake of former US Secretary of the Navy, now US Senator, Webb's appeasement trip to Burma. Clearly the US under the imperialist Obama regime is not content to leave any path to world-wide suffering and strife untrod, and has emboldened the Burmese Generals to open this offensive.

The wheels of the hegemonists are in motion and the people of the region seem destined to continue to suffer either way, at the hands of the Chinese or at the hands of the US-backed Burmese junta.

I thought he went to Burma to

I thought he went to Burma to get the US citizen back.

According to JFL, Burmese government needs a sanction from the US. to atack a guerrilla organization in their territory. It means America has quite a strong leverage to change Burma. This is a ray of hope, indeed.

I think the US wish to

I think the US wish to 'downplay' China's immense influence in Burma. The plight of the ethnic minorities, the democratic movement,all made up for good excuse for the US( Bush or Obama or any figurehead).

Thailand didn't seem to hesitate to join the exploitation on Burmese vested natural resources. Will the current government reconsider its role in Burma? I'd seriously doubt that.

The Burmese generals

The Burmese generals certainly don't need any urging to murder their own people or any and all other ethnic groups in Burma, but they do need a supply of guns and ammunition to do so, and they have relied upon China for those for some time now.

Since they are now attacking Chinese nationals in Burma as well as their traditional targets among the peoples who've always lived in the region they must now have another source of arms secured.

US governments are always ready to use US taxpayer dollars to subsidize the export of the US Military Industrial Complex' weaponry, the only thing still "made in the USA" available for export, so I conclude that that may well be how Webb got immediate access to the otherwise terminally paranoid Burmese thugs in chief.

Who knows, maybe the "crazy" Mormon Seer was a CIA plant to gain entre, to bring down Aung San Su Kyi at the same time, "by mistake" of course, and to prepare for the story of the "resurgent democracy in Burma"?

Asia Sentinel has a story, Does China Have Designs on a Troubled Area? which talks about a Chinese apparatchik named Zhan Lue and his internet musings that argued that India [Assam] could be split into 20 to 30 nation states by pushing for the local aspirations of indigenous communities.

Certainly that strategy could be played out by China at least as effectively in Burma as in Assam. Perhaps it's even the US' game plan versus China itself in Tibet and the Uighar provinces.

After all, that's where al Qaeda came from: an offhand US creation while spreading "democracy" throughout the world.

Someone named David I

Someone named David I Steinberg, billed as "a distinguished professor of Asian Studies, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University" puts forth an apology for Webb's "amelioration" of US sanctions against Burma in Sondhi's online rag.

You will remember Georgetown as that resurgent center of Jesuit casuistry: the school that has embraced the War Criminal Douglas Feith on its faculty. No doubt another "distinguished professor of Foreign Service".

HRW calls for Myanmar

HRW calls for Myanmar prisoners' release
"Burma's generals are planning elections next year that will be a sham if their opponents are in prison," said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. "Despite recent conciliatory visits by U.N. and foreign officials, the military government is actually increasing the number of critics it is throwing into its squalid prisons."

US takes a radical turn on

US takes a radical turn on Myanmar

Senator Jim Webb's high-profile visit with senior junta members last month also hinted a move towards more policy engagement was on the cards... it is notable that the US State Department said that it was the generals who are seeking engagement with the US, not the other way around... it was also made clear by [Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt] Campbell that discussion of easing sanctions would be possible if significant reforms were taken "to address core human rights and democracy issues that are inhibiting [Myanmar's] progress". Campbell said that... the US government... will stress to the regime what conditions would be acceptable by Washington to label the electoral process credible. The US waived travel restrictions to junta members, allowing them to leave New York and travel to Washington during their stay.

We shall shortly be hearing of the "green revolution" in Burma and the "resurgence of democracy" there. Aung San Suu Kyi will stay in prison and the US will begin arms shipments to the Generals.