Villagers, who were forcibly relocated to make way for the Myitsone dam, received a surprise visit last month from the head of the Chinese firm behind the project, in an attempt to convince the villagers to support the stalled mega dam.
On April 18, China Power Investment (CPI)'s chief Lu Qizhou met villagers at the Aung Min Thar relocation camp where authorities had moved them to. According to villagers who attended the five hour meeting, Lu claimed he came to see them after asking Burma's armed forces chief General Min Aung Hlaing to facilitate his visit.
The CPI president blamed internet news sites and environmentalists for stirring up opposition to the dam, according to a villager who attended the meeting. Lu also claimed that contrary to the warnings of the project's opponents, CPI will construct the dam to last 1,000 years. Lu attempted to win the villagers trust by claiming they would benefit from the dam, he offered relocated villagers another year’s worth of free rice and electricity if the project is restarted.
On September 30, 2011 President Thein Sein announced that the Myitsone dam would be officially suspended. Opponents of the dam say a recently leaked letter written by Chinese officials to their Kachin state counterparts requesting immigration permits for hundreds of CPI employees, is further proof that the project will soon be renewed.
Despite the fact the dam is suspended, 200 CPI workers remain at the dam site and the 2,000 villagers who were forced to move to make way for the project have been blocked from returning to their homes.
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