Arakan Suffering for China's Pipeline
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Burma

Arakan Suffering for China's Pipeline


By KHIN OO THAR Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Workers building the Kyaukpru deep seaport project (Photo:The Irrawaddy)
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Surrounded by deep sea and possessing a long, pleasant and beautiful coastline with thriving coral reefs, it is a major port in Arakan State.

However, due to the deep seaport and other projects, Kyaukpru's natural beauty has been destroyed and its residents also suffer.

In May, Chinese companies dynamited coral reefs near Maday Island to clear way for a gas pipeline. Local people tried to protest against the action since it would damage the environment and kill marine life, but were not successful.

They again submitted the issue to their state government but no action was taken. Even resident politicians criticized their government for being silent.

Ba Shin, a member of Pyithu Hluttaw [Lower House] and resident of Kyaukpru, told The Irrawaddy that during parliamentary meetings in Naypyidaw, he and other legislators from Arakan State discussed environmental conservation plans relating to projects in Kyaukpru.

He plans to form a community group with local young people in order to protect the area, believing the many factories planned for the future coupled with existing projects means environmental damage will be inevitable.

“Those who have power and are in the administration don't pay attention to environment conservations, that's why I am preparing to start a formal organization by myself to deal with the matter,” said Ba Shin.

U Ohn, one of Burma's most prominent environmentalists and vice-chairman of the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association, also pointed out that laws regarding the deep sea port and related projects should be written and enforced systematically.

He said that while stated government policy regarding environmental conservation is undeniably positive, there has been little or no implementation in practice.

“Apart from damage to coral reefs and mangrove forests, the amount of water pollution can be huge because of waste from project sites,” said U Ohn.

The Kyaukpru deep seaport is being constructed mainly for Chinese benefit, and will carry imported crude oil from Africa and the Middle East across the Sino-Burmese border. Currently, Beijing transports crude oil through the treacherous Straits of Malacca, which requires a lot of time and money. The seaport will reduce China's dependence on shipping and its exposure to potential risks.

Furthermore, Beijing signed an agreement with the Burmese government in 2008 to buy natural gas from Arakan offshore rigs for 30 years. Thousands of acres of farmland and many villages along the planned gas pipeline have been confiscated and destroyed.

The Kyaukpru deep seaport project was signed between Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping and junta leader Sr-Gen Than Shwe in 2009, while the former was visiting Burma. When Wen Jiabao, China's premier, visited the country in 2010, he opened the gas pipeline project as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

According to Shwe Gas Movement, a Burmese fossil fuel watchdog based in Thailand, the Burmese government will earn $1.2 billion annually from the project.

From Maday Island, the gas pipeline will go through Ann Township in Arakan State, Magwe and Mandalay divisions and Shan State, stopping at Nanning in China. It will stretch for a total of 2,806 kms and is expected to transport 12 billion cubic-meters of gas and 400,000 barrels of crude oil to China every year.

Burmese state-run media reports that the construction of all projects, most of which started in October 2010, will finish by 2013.



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COMMENTS (3)
 
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George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
22/07/2011
“Those who have power and are in the administration don't pay attention to environment conservations, that's why I am preparing to start a formal organization by myself to deal with the matter,” said Ba Shin.

BRAVO BA SHIN!

You are DOING RIGHT and for HISTORY as well.
Don't let Than Shwe/Thein Sein SELL your country to the CHINESE I say!
Lead the Arakans and MAKE HISTORY man!

Get your people and DESTROY ALL CHINESE PROJECTS in your land right away now.
Watch the KACHINS MAKING HISTORY TODAY.
PEOPLE POWER TODAY WILL PAVE THE WAY for your POSTERITY lest you forget.

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
21/07/2011
Overall Arakanese people has to suffer and Chinese has to enjoy at the cost of Arakanese sweat and blood.Is it justify? Where is the law and order? Bama power monger will never and ever consider what Arakanese are facing difficulties for the sake of this deep sea project.

tocharian Wrote:
21/07/2011
This poisonous pipeline and the damned dams have planted seeds of hatred and resentment in Burma. There are more and more regions in Burma now, where the greedy, materialistic and inconsiderate Chinese are considered public enemy number one. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for the ruling junta?

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