Controversial $3.6 Billion Dam Shelved by Myanmar Government

The Myanmar government has suspended construction of a controversial $3.6 billion dam project following weeks of protests by opposition forces. The Myitsone dam project, which was being developed in part by Chinese investors, would have flooded about 296 square miles (766 square kilometers), with about 90 percent of the power reportedly destined for export to China. According to reports, President Thein Sein told members of parliament “that his government, being born out of people’s desire, has to act according to the desire of the people.” The dam, which would have been built near the head of the Irrawaddy River, had emerged as a symbol of growing public resentment over China’s increasing influence in Myanmar. Critics argued the project would have disrupted the flow of the Irrawaddy, a lifeline for millions of people, and displaced 12,000 residents from 63 villages.