Sat, Oct 08, 2011 - Page 5 News List

China investment in Myanmar defended by ‘People’s Daily’

Reuters, BEIJING

Chinese projects in Myanmar spur economic growth and guarantee environmental protection, Chinese state media said yesterday, defending infrastructure investment there from public opinion it said had been hijacked by foreign press.

Beijing has pressed for an “appropriate solution” after Myanmar shelved plans for the US$3.6 billion Chinese-backed Myitsone dam, slammed by opponents for the forced relocation of residents and environmental damage.

“In recent years, Chinese companies have been active in building Myanmar’s economy and have provided large amounts of advanced technology and equipment,” the People’s Daily said.

The paper said a network of hydroelectric dams relieved power shortages and that bridges built across the Irrawaddy River would improve transportation and promote development.

Experts from the two countries had found the environmental impact to be “rather small,” the article said.

China Power Investment Corp, which had been building the Myitsone dam project, met the demands of Myanmar’s government and used World Bank and Asian Development Bank environmental impact assessment standards, the report said.

It had spent more than US$25 million resettling people on the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy, creating a model for local village construction, the paper said.

“The people of Myanmar have clearly not received full and accurate information ... especially in regard to Chinese investors’ fulfillment of social obligations and contributions to local society,” it said.

Economic relations between China and Myanmar are booming, with trade rising by more than half last year to US$4.4 billion. China’s investment in Myanmar reached US$12.3 billion, according to Chinese data.

Myanmar, under comprehensive sanctions imposed by Western countries for human rights issues, also sees Beijing as an important diplomatic ally. The People’s Daily report lashed out at the US and Europe for those sanctions.

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