News / Asia

Chinese Workers Abducted from Burma Mine Freed

VOA NewsReuters
Community activists on Monday evening freed two contractors working for a Chinese company operating a copper mine in central Burma, also known as Myanmar, that is the subject of a long-running land dispute.
 
The two Chinese were abducted on Sunday by a group calling itself the “Student Network of Mandalay”, which demanded that Myanmar Wanbao, a unit of the Chinese weapons manufacturer China North Industries Group Corp, halt its expansion work on the mine.
 
“We are happy to advise that our two Chinese colleagues have been released and they came back to camp at 7:15 p.m. local time,” said Cao Desheng, a spokesman for Myanmar Wanbao.

The spokesman said the two were returned late Monday even though no deal had been struck with the hostage takers.

"We did not accept their demands. You know, their demands were not reasonable. So we [did] not accept their demands. But we thank the government officials who tried very hard [to secure their release]. And finally our two Chinese colleagues were released," he said.

But Ma Sandar, a local activist who was involved in the negotiation process between authorities and the kidnappers, told VOA's Burmese service that a deal had been made.

"We’ve reached an agreement, with an agreement that no more barbed wire [would be placed] on the land where owners did not receive compensation [for relocation], compensation for damaged crops and no legal actions against those involved in [a recent riot], we released the Chinese," she said.

 
x
The Letpadaung mine in Monywa, about 100 km (60 miles) west of Mandalay, has faced protests from residents of the area who say thousands of acres of land were confiscated illegally to allow it to expand.
 
In November 2012, riot police raided camps set up by protesters, injuring more than 100 people including at least 67 monks.
 
The incident was a public relations disaster for the quasi-civilian government that had taken over from a long-ruling military junta in March 2011.
 
The government later renegotiated the original contract so that the state now takes 51 percent of the profit, and set aside $3 million for social projects. Myanmar Wanbao gets 30 percent of the profit and Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL), owned by Burma's military, 19 percent.
 
Under the original contract, UMEHL got 45 percent and Burma Wanbao 51 percent.
 
Sporadic protests have continued despite Myanmar Wanbao's promises of community development.
 
Cao Desheng said the company had asked police not to launch any rescue operation while village elders attempted to secure the captives' release.
 
An activist who spoke on condition of anonymity said the workers were released after negotiations between the kidnappers and local authorities.
 
In return for their release, villagers will be allowed to graze cattle on land owned by the mine and will be compensated for confiscated land, he said.
 
Government spokesman Ye Htut said in a post to his Facebook page on Monday that two policemen were injured when residents of Seidei village, who he said had kidnapped the workers, attacked a nearby police post with stones, catapults and torches.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs