Monday, December 3, 2007

China leaders petitioned on Burma dam projects

Burma anti-dam activists sent a petition to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging him to better regulate Chinese companies involved in the construction of 10 hydropower projects worth $30 billion in military-run Burma.

The Burma Rivers Network petition - endorsed by 50,000 ``affected people,'' 98 Burma organizations and 24 international organizations - called on the Chinese government to require the 10 Chinese companies involved in dam building in Burma to conduct proper social and environmental impact studies and reveal details on the projects to the affected communities.

``The dams would represent over 30 billion dollars in investment, `` the petition said.

``This would be by far the biggest inflow of money to a military regime that Transparency International rates as the world's second most corrupt.''

China is currently under considerable pressure from the international community to use its close economic relations with Burma's ruling junta to bring about political reform in the country after a brutal crackdown in September on peaceful anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks.

``These Chinese dams will cause huge environmental and social damage for the peoples in Burma and will damage China's international image,'' said Aung Ngyeh, spokesman of the Burma Rivers Network.

The Burma Rivers Network, a non-governmental organization comprised of representatives of ethnic organizations from potential dam-affected communities in the country once known as Burma, has used its petition to highlight the extent of Chinese companies' involvement in Burma's hydropower sector, which has been largely ignored because of a lack of publicity and transparency surrounding the deals.

Here is the full article.