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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid