TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, arrived in Beijing on Wednesday (April 24) ahead of the second Belt and Road Forum. Suu Kyi is expected to sign agreements on numerous belt and road projects during his trip.
While Suu Kyi tries to maintain good relations with China by attending the summit and calling on the public to uphold foreign investment projects signed by previous administrations, domestic backlash against the China-backed Myitsone Dam Project has grown stronger.
Thousands of protesters rallied in northern Myanmar on Monday (April 22) against revival of the suspended project, citing potential environmental damages and human displacement, according to Radio Free Asia.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday (April 21) that China should respect human rights and commit to transparency when pushing and implementing its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), citing some BRI projects’ failures to complete adequate environmental and social impact assessments.
Suu Kyi has faced strong criticism after she defended the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists Wa Long and Kyaw Soe Oo, who investigated the Myanmar military’s massive execution of the Rohingya community, a Muslim minority group living in the country’s Rakhine state.
Myanmar’s Supreme Court rejected the journalists’ final appeal on Tuesday (April 23) and sentenced Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to seven years in prison. Their in-depth reporting of Rohingya crisis won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting.