News / Asia

    Burma's Suu Kyi Offers to Mediate Mine Dispute

    Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visits Buddhist monks, wounded in a police crackdown on activists fighting a Chinese copper mine project, at a hospital in Monywa, Nov. 29, 2012.
    Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi visits Buddhist monks, wounded in a police crackdown on activists fighting a Chinese copper mine project, at a hospital in Monywa, Nov. 29, 2012.
    VOA News
    Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has offered to mediate a dispute involving villagers and monks opposed to the expansion of a Chinese-backed copper mine in the country's northwest.

    She made the offer Thursday as she visited the mine, hours after police used water cannons, tear gas and smoke bombs to drive away hundreds of anti-mine protesters who had occupied the area for 11 days.

    A monk who joined the protesters in the town of Monywa said in an interview with VOA that at least 20 other monks suffered burns during the police operation and had to be hospitalized.  Witnesses said the burns resulted from devices fired by security personnel as they raided several protest camps around 3:00 a.m. local time.

    Buddhist monks are treated at a hospital in Monywa after a police crackdown on protesters at a controversial copper mine, Nov. 29, 2012.
    Buddhist monks are treated at a hospital in Monywa after a police crackdown on protesters at a controversial copper mine, Nov. 29, 2012.

    Burmese President Thein Sein's office initially denied police used excessive force or dangerous chemicals in the operation, but a spokesman said the president ordered the statement to be retracted after several hours.  

    The evicted protesters were among hundreds who had defied a government order to end the occupation-style protest.  Protesting villagers and monks say planned mine expansion threatens their environment. They also accuse authorities of unlawfully seizing land for the $1 billion project.

    Speaking to thousands of villagers near the copper mine later in the day, Aung San Suu Kyi said she met with the mine's operators and wants to speak to the protest leaders as well.

    "I wish to find a peaceful resolution to the problem we are facing today at this copper mine project," she said. "It should be solved in the best interests of our people, by protecting our country's dignity and our future. I will try my best  to achieve this. Although I cannot guarantee whether I will succeed or not, I believe that if the people work together with me, we can succeed."

    In her speech, the Nobel Peace Prize winner made no criticism of the security crackdown. She later went to a nearby hospital where many of the injured were being treated.

    Burma's government says mine operations were suspended November 18 because of the protest. It says canceling the project would discourage much-needed foreign investment.

    The mine is a joint venture between a Chinese arms manufacturer and a business controlled by the Burmese military.

    Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei defended the planned mine expansion in his Thursday briefing.

    "The relocation, compensation, environmental protection and other issues involved with this project were jointly settled through negotiations by the Chinese and Myanmar sides and meet Myanmar's laws and regulations," Hong said. "We hope all levels of Myanmar society can provide an environment beneficial to the project's development."

    China's Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper warned that a suspension of the joint venture will be a "lose-lose situation" for China and Burma.  It accused "some Westerners and NGOs" of instigating the protests.

    In an interview with VOA, Human Rights Watch Burma researcher Matthew Smith called those claims "baseless."  He said villagers had legitimate concerns about the project even before it was associated with the Chinese company.

    "If you really look on the ground, people have suffered, people are losing their livelihoods, they are losing their land that not only they call home, but has been called home to their ancestors for a very long time," Smith said. "So taken together, all of these issues are really underpinning it. I don't think this is some intricate plot by Western governments and non-governmental organizations."

    Smith added there is an "urgent need for authorities to proceed in a way that protects human rights, and at the moment there are a lot of concerns that is not happening."

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ohn
    November 29, 2012 5:38 PM
    Burma's Suu of the West's pin up girl simply wants to comfort and pacify the people to go along with the military's sell out plan.

    Not only for the Chinese like this time but also for any one who will give Burma money to make it look like Thailand or Singapore while keeping the public of Burma in debts and debts and debts in trillions which will enslave the whole nation for generations to come just to pay off interest not to mention total destruction of the millenium old society and culture and degradation of morality.

    Good "Reforms." Wonderful, wonderful. Get rid of the turue land owners. Get money. Buy iPAD's.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.