Friday, 22 June 2018

Chiang Mai, Thailand: Over 30 activists yesterday held demonstration and submitted letters, calling on Burma’s President Thein Sein to suspend China’s trans-Burma oil and letter regarding gas pipelines project, said Nay Myo Tun who eye-witnessed the strike in front of the China’s embassy in Chiang Mai.

Activists with placards in front of  the China Embassy in Chiang Mai

“Activists from Shwe Gas Movement and students from Chiang Mai University were participated in the strike holding banners and shouting slogans yesterday at about 10:00am.” 

The demonstration was held around half an hour in front of China embassy.

“The activists submitted one letter to ambassador for President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, and another one is a press release of Shwe Gas movement. The ambassador gave promise to the activists that the letters will be sent to the President, Nay Myo Tun added.

The letter expressed sober concerns over human rights abuses as well as social, economic and environmental impacts of the Burmese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian company-led project.

The Shwe Gas Projects -- trans-Burma oil and gas pipelines -- are currently under construction, starting from Burma’s western coast and stopped in Yunnan Province of China, and set to come online in 2013, the statement said.


A placard show in the demonstration

The project will become the country’s largest source of foreign revenue generating US $29 billion over 30 years, the report said.

“The open letter to Thein Sein which strongly condemns the confiscation of the thousands of acres of farm lands for the project, and the military offensives against ethnic armies in the pipeline corridor in Northern Shan State. The letter references the previous suspension of the Myitsone Dam and Dawei coal-fired plant and “call[s] for a consistent policy of social and environmental responsibility, and an immediate postponement of the project”.

The Shwe Gas will be exported to China while around 75% of the local population is not receiving electricity from the national grid. “Resentment to these pipelines is growing day by day, Thein Sein should listen to the will of the people” according to the press release of Shwe Gas Movement,

Wong Aung, the representatives of Shwe Gas Movement  with activists

Thousands of acres of farm lands in Akan and Shan State have been confiscated in Arakan, Shan State, Mandalay and Magwe divisions.

Revenues from oil and gas are not managed transparently in Burma.  “Under the current unaccountable structure, gas monies from the project will only feed corruption and not benefit the people” said Wong Aung of the Shwe Gas Movement.