Downstream Groups Back Appeal to Release Nujiang EIA

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As controversty raged in China around development plans for the Nu River, 90 environmental and community groups in Burma and Thailand lodged their own appeal with Beijing to release the project’s environmental impact assessment in September 2005.

Open Letter to H.E. Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China

Dear Sir,

We are writing to you with regard to the news that the planning and environmental departments have reviewed the hydropower development plans for the Nujiang River. We are a broad coalition of Thai and Burmese civil society organizations as well as people who live in the watershed areas of the Salween/Nu/Thanlwin River. We would like to ask the Central Chinese Government to fully disclose the environmental impact assessments studies to the public in accordance with Chinese Law.

We have been concerned with hydropower development plans along the Salween/Nu/Thanlwin River since the Thai and Burmese authorities initially began discussing these projects. These development plans have already resulted in massive population displacement, military offensives in order to secure areas for surveying, and large-scale deforestation. Dam projects proposed along the Nujiang River in China will significantly impact our environment and communities. It is important for the Central Chinese Government to consider that the negative environmental and social impacts will be felt downstream resulting in region-wide impacts as we have seen with the Lancang / Mekong River and many other development projects.

Therefore, we are writing you to express our deep concern about reports that the government is planning to approve the Environmental Impact Assessment for the Nu River hydropower development project, and by implication, the dam construction itself. We were greatly encouraged by the action of H.E. Premier Wen Jiabao in suspending the plans for the 13 dams on the river in 2004, and by other signs that the Chinese government has given serious attention to environmental and social problems. However, we understand that there are powerful forces pushing for these projects regardless of the huge environmental and social costs that the present and future generations will have to face.

We understand that under Chinese law disclosure of information and public participation is obligatory. We would appreciate it if your government shared with us on what basis decisions are being made that will have huge and irreversible impacts on our lives, livelihoods and environment, as well as the globally important Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Area in China.

We ask that your government publicize the full details of the EIA and allow input from the public as mandated by law. We can only hope that the great Chinese leadership and people will consider the impacts of their actions on those of us who will suffer the consequences of their decisions.

With respect and good wishes,

Salween Watch Coalition


Minister of Foreign Affairs, PRC
The Director, State Environmental Protection Agency, PRC

This letter was endorsed by the following organizations:


1. Burma Lawyers’ Council
2. EarthRights International Southeast Asia
3. Ethnic Community Development Forum
4. Federation of Trade Unions – Kawthoolei
5. Human Rights Education Institution of Burma
6. Image Asia
7. Karen River Watch
8. Karen Women’s Organization
9. Karenni Development Research Group
10. Karenni Evergreen
11. Karenni National Women’s Organization
12. Karenni Refugee Committee
13. Karenni Student Union
14. Kachin Environment Organization
15. Lahu National Development Organization
16. Lahu Women’s Organization
17. Mon Youth Progressive Organization
18. National League for Democracy – Liberated Area (NLD – LA)
19. Nationalities Youth Forum
1. Arakan Youth Network Group
2. All Kachin Students and Youth Union
3. Chin Student Union
4. Kayan New Generation Youth
5. Karen Youth Organization
6. Karenni National Youth Organization
7. Mon Unity League) and Mon Human Rights Foundation
8. Lahu Youth Democratic Organization
9. Palaung Youth Network Group
10. Pa-O Youth Organization
20. Pan Kachin Development
21. Shan Women’s Action Network
22. Shan Democratic Union
23. Shan Human Rights Foundation
24. Shan Relief and Development Committee
25. Shan Sapawa Environmental Organization
26. Shan State Organization
27. Shan Youths Network Group
28. Shan Youth Power
29. Shew Gas Bulletin
30. Tavoyan Women’s Union


1. Alternative Energy Project for Sustainability
2. Asrom Wongsanit
3. Assembly of the Poor
4. Burma Issue
5. Children and Community Network Development Center
6. Community Forest Network, Northern Thailand
7. Community Network in the Mun River Basin
8. Community Forest Support Group
9. Community University
10. Friends of People
11. Karen Studies and Development Center
12. Karen Society for Social Development and Environment
13. Living River Siam / Southeast Asia Rivers Network
14. Local Fishers Society, Trang
15. Mekong-Lanna Natural Resource Conservation Network
16. Moei River Basin Management Network, Mae Hong Son
17. Natural Resource Management Network, Lampang
18. Natural Resource Management Network, Phayao
19. Ngao River Basin Management Network, Mae Hong Son
20. Natural Resource Management Network, Isan-Northeastern
21. Northern Farmers Federation
22. Northern Farmers Alliance
23. Northern Farmers Network
24. Pangmapa Ethnic Network, Mae Hong Son
25. Peace Way Foundation
26. Peace and Human Rights Resource Center
27. Project for Chee River Network
28. Project for Ecological Recovery
29. Project for Ecological Awareness Building
30. Project for River and Community
31. Project for Recovery of Life and Culture
32. Salween News Network
33. Salween River Basin Management Network, Mae Hong Son
34. Saving Yom River Basin Network
35. Sekhiyadhamma Group
36. Seub Nakhasathien Foundation
37. Takon Yom Youth Group
38. Tai Rom Mai School
39. Tam Mun Project
40. Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma
41. Thai Volunteer Service
42. Thai Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
43. Tonkla Institute
44. Upper Pai River Basin Network, Mae Hong Son
45. Wildlife Fund Thailand
46. Yuam River Basin Management Network, Mae Hong Son
47. Young People for Democracy Movement
48. Youth Training Program for Social Development
49. Youth Rivers Network
50. Youth Network in Mae Hong Son