On China’s Dam Projects in IP Communities

Stand for Indigenous Peoples right to land and self-determination!

Stand against China’s Imperialist attack on ancestral lands and sovereignty!

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) joins indigenous peoples’ protest rally as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in the Philippines on November 20 to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. We call for the immediate pull out of Chinese loans on mega dam and hydroelectric projects that will severely impact indigenous peoples ancestral lands and territories.

Recently, bilateral talks entered by President Duterte with China resulted to US$15 Billion of memorandum agreements and US$9 Billion loans. On top of this aggressive trading relations are big ticket dam and energy projects currently undertaken by the government in ancestral territories of ancestral territories including the Agus-Pulangi dams in Bukidnon and North Cotabato of Mindanao; Jalaur Multi Purpose Project and Pan-ay River Basin Integrated Development Project in Iloilo and Capiz; China ODA funded Balog-balog dam in the Ayta lands in Tarlac, and the New Centennial Water Source – Violago and Kaliwa dams in the Dumagat territories in Rizal and Quezon.

Capital inflow from the Chinese government also targets strategic transportation and energy developments like the PNR South Long Haul at Mindanao Railway, Subic-Clark Railway, at Mindanao Railway. In particular, the New Centennial Water Source projects that covers 20,000 hectares of indigenous threatens more than 10,000 families of farmers and indigenous Dumagats and Remontados to be driven away, with their communities and livelihoods to be submerged once the projects commence. The Balog-balog dam project in Central Luzon also threatens to wipe out 29 sub-villages of indigenous Aeta, affecting 1,650 families.

The indigenous peoples faces twice the burden of these financial loans as the Duterte government seems to open up the nation’s natural resources, state assets and sovereignty as collaterals to Chinese conditionalities. Favoring Chinese firms over these projects puts greater concern on environmental, labor and social standards, and human rights issues as the Philippine government clamor to be part of the lucrative Belt and Road Initiative of China, amidst territorial conflict in West Philippine Seas.

Creating further marginalisation, indigenous peoples right to self-determination are trampled upon as hydropower and energy projects enter their lands. The plunder of indigenous territories often results to chaos and hunger due to forced displacement, and even murder and harassment of indigenous leaders and communities from state forces and private armed groups. Similarly, environmental degradation, flooding, and irreversible damages have been linked to state and corporate sponsored hydropower projects and dams.

China-funded dams in other indigenous territories across Asia have reportedly met strong condemnation as it havocs indigenous villages, robbing them of their lands, security and rights. In East Burma, the Chinese-led Hat Gyi Dam have displaced 10,000 Karen people, creating more than 1,00 refugees of women and children caught between civil conflicts in their villages.

China’s Sinohydro Company that built Don Sahong Hydropower Project in the Mekong river in southern Laos, have grossly affected Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The dam is reported to block the natural fish migration in the region, strongly affecting indigenous fisherfolks especially the Kuoy people of Cambodia.

Dam projects in Honduras funded by Industrial and Commercial bank of China, Patuca III dam project, have assessed to negatively impact the Amazon ecosystem and Patuca River. Indigenous Tawahka and Miskito communities in the river’s downstream have also suffered land infertility as the water supply became controlled, affecting their livelihood, food and transportation.

China’s Three Gorges (CTG) Corporation, amidst report of lack of transparency and unfair labor conditions, is set for São Luiz de Tapajós hydropower plant, covering 72,225 hectares, threatens to eat up lands belonging to the Munduruku indigenous group without proper consultation and participation. CTG also operates Jupiá and Ilha Solteira hydropower stations, which belong to São Paulo-based company.

The International IPMSDL stands against the imperialist advancing of China in the Philippines and other developing countries through economic assistance and energy projects that subjugates the indigenous peoples and their country’s development. Under these schemes of the imperialist and the local state’s collaboration, the indigenous peoples right to land and self-determination are disregarded while favoring profit driven plunder of resources.

We call on all indigenous peoples movements, advocates and defenders, as it link with the oppressed peoples and peoples organizations across the globe, to stand against these attacks on their rights, in defense of their land and future, and in solidarity for genuine sovereignty free from corporatized development and capitalist exploits and oppression!


Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator | info@ipmsdl.org