"A bloody outbreak of fighting that has ended a 17-year ceasefire between Burmese government forces and a tribal militia was partly caused by the expansion of Chinese hydropower along the Irrawaddy river, conservationists claim.
Dozens of people in northern Burma have reportedly been killed in the clashes between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army. Thousands more are trying to flee across the border after fierce fighting erupted this month around the construction sites of two Chinese-financed dams in the region.
Amid growing fears that the conflict could escalate, the Burma Rivers Network said China's massive hydropower investments had widened the gulf between the government – which wants to benefit from cross-border electricity sales – and Kachin independence groups, which fear the dams will bring environmental, cultural and social disruption."
Jonathan Watts reports for the Guardian June 6, 2011.