Myanmar protesters demand answers from China over mine death

The protest near the Chinese consulate in Mandalay.

Politicians, monks and students attended a protest near the Chinese consulate in Mandalay on December 27 over the Letpaduangtaung copper mine.

The protesters demanded answers over the death of Khin Khin Win in Letpaduangtaung and condemned the Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Co Ltd.

Police prevented the protest from reaching the front of the consulate.

Thein Aung Myint, a protest leader, said: "Shooting Khin Khin Win is like shooting the hearts of the people. I'd like to ask China which is more important: friendship with Myanmar or the Letpaduangtaung project. We are not opposing China. We just demand China investigates the mistreatment of farmers by Wanbao."

The Golden Sangha Network stated that the Letpaduangtaung project was not transparent and Khin Khin Win died because of the instructions of a reckless government that caused disputes to distract from other issues. The government was fully responsible for the injuries, it said.

The statement said that the copper mine issue, like constitutional reform and peacemaking, were issues of concern to the whole nation. It blamed rumours about religious and racial disputes and riots at Letpaduangtaung on government duplicity.

The consulate refused to accept the statement.

Although the protest had no official permission, the protesters would not be charged under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act, said Lieutenant-Colonel Sein Htun of Mandalay District police.

"There is no plan to charge them because of the strength of feeling right now. We put security first since the space was limited and as we don't want our country to be criticised for failing to protect a foreign consulate," he added.

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