Amid the rise in number of voices opposing China's human rights violation, Beijing has accused the local NGOs in Myanmar and in Southeast Asia of becoming "vehicles for Western propaganda" and participating in anti-China campaigns.
The Irrawaddy quoted the Global Times as saying that among Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar's tumultuous political situation had for years created a "paradise" for Western NGOs.
Global Times had quoted Zhu Zhenming, a professor at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, who accused Western NGOs of using various tools to criticise China including stirring up public anger among local residents to reject China-initiated projects due to "environmental concerns."
The Irrawaddy reported that the Chinese newspaper has alleged the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an independent nonprofit foundation, of funding NGOs in Myanmar to oppose Chinese development projects.
Calling these claims as baseless, The Irrawaddy quoted State-based Shwe Gas Movement (SGM) cofounder Wong Aung as saying, "We did the reports because people in Rakhine are suffering the effects of the project including human rights abuses and losing their livelihoods. We serve as a bridge for the Rakhine people, as they do not receive any benefits from the project."
"I want to tell both the Chinese government and the Chinese company [state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)] that we understand responsible investment is essential for the development of Rakhine State. We do not oppose responsible investment," Wong Aung added.
Global Times had further claimed the Rakhine State-based Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), with NED's funding, had been "active in attacking Chinese-Myanmar cooperative developments including a crude oil and gas pipeline project."
Responding to the allegation, U Aung Myo Min, executive director of Equality Myanmar, said, "We are not puppets. We stand up for the needs of the people," adding that the major natural resources exploitation and environmental destruction in Myanmar were by mega investments backed by the Chinese compes and not by Western compes.
"That's why they [the Chinese] are receiving the most criticism [from local NGOs]. It has nothing to do with [China itself]. Our position is to uphold human rights and to stand up for the truth by listening to the voices of oppressed people," he said.
The Irrawaddy reported that several protests have been held along Rakhine, Shan and Magwe over concerns on safety as the oil and natural gas pipelines passes through farms and homes. The protesters have demanded fair compensation for the loss of land and livelihood.
The pipelines run in parallel for 771 km in Myanmar from the port of Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State on the Bay of Bengal through Magwe and Mandalay regions and northern Shan State before entering China.
( With inputs from ANI )
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