In Myanmar, China's Scramble for Energy Threatens Livelihoods of Villagers
In western Myanmar a Chinese-backed energy and trading hub is taking shape on a remote island.
OIL MOUNTAIN, Myanmar—The mood at a ramshackle bar in this village on Ramree Island, in western Myanmar's Rakhine State, is one of fatalism punctuated by the occasional comic trope.
As dusk falls, Nyint Shwe, a one-man oil driller, knocks back a warm can of Chang beer and laments the recent boom in natural gas drilling, driven by China's growing appetite for energy.
"The Chinese are getting huge profits from here," he says. "The local people don't get anything. To get a big fish, [China] needs little bait."
Nyint Shwe's bamboo oil rig, which doubles as his home, will soon be cleared to make space for a free-trade zone and a vast transport node, a crucial part of China's plans to diversify its global