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...