18 April 2019
Farmers and riot police clash Monday at the Letpadaung mine in Myanmar. Photo: AP
Farmers and riot police clash Monday at the Letpadaung mine in Myanmar. Photo: AP

Woman protesting Chinese mine in Myanmar shot dead

A villager protesting against the expansion of a Chinese copper mine in Myanmar was shot dead in the latest bout of violence at the project, the New York Times reported.

Villagers said the woman, Daw Khin Win, 56, was shot by security forces Monday as police and Chinese workers were raising a fence in one of the villages where land had been seized for the mine’s expansion.

More than a dozen people were wounded in clashes with security forces, witnesses said.

A government spokesman said police were “attacked by villagers” as construction of the fence got underway.

“Tension has been building for weeks,” he said.

Cao Desheng, a spokesman for the project, said in an email that the “events leading up to her death are still unclear”.

Two villagers were shot and wounded in the same town, Moegyo Pyin, this month.

The project has been a focal point of criticism of Chinese companies in Myanmar, which have been accused of plundering timber and other natural resources in the country, the newspaper said.

The shooting came the same day the mine operators announced an expansion requiring the seizure of land in 35 nearby villages.

Farmers are protesting the land seizures and the environmental damage from the huge piles of tailings that surround the mine.

Photos circulating on social media Monday showed farmers lying in the loader of a backhoe.

Anti-Chinese sentiment was running high on Monday in the areas near the mine.

“With whatever we have, we are confronting the Chinese invaders and police who protect the Chinese,” U Aung Thu, a villager from the area, was quoted as saying Monday evening.

The mine, which is often referred to as Letpadaung, is a joint venture between Myanmar’s powerful military and Wanbao Mining Ltd., a subsidiary of Norinco, a Chinese state-owned arms manufacturer.

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