Damon Evans, SINGAPORE: Despite recent reforms, human rights
and transparency issues pose real challenges for Myanmar. Many
observers see a strong link between energy projects and
violence - with much of the fighting occurring in areas where
Chinese projects are under way. Attacks have been reported on
ethnic groups in the country's north to secure an oil and gas
pipeline corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Chinese border.
Human rights groups claim the military is paid by China's
state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) to
protect the cross-country pipeline it is building. And if the
corridor is not secured or the project is delayed or even
halted, then the government - or rather the military - faces
big financial losses, motivating a clampdown on local
opposition, say non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At the
beginning of January, the government made an unprecedented
admission that it had carried out military air strikes...