A protester was shot dead in a China-backed copper mine project in the Letpadaung area in Myanmar. The woman, identified as Khin Win, was part of a local group that was resisting the attempt of the Wanbao mining company to build a fence around the project site. The villagers claimed that Wanbao was assisted by the police in the operation. However, it is not clear whether the woman was killed by the armed security personnel of Wanbao or the police.
The copper mine project in Sagain Division, which started in February 2012, was opposed by villagers and many Myanmar groups. Some landowners refused to take any compensation from Wanbao and instead they chose to struggle against the project. In one of the protests, police dispersed a group of protesting monks by using tear gas, a water cannon and other weapons, injuring 50.
News of the woman's death infuriated many in Myanmar. Students in Yangon, the country's former capital, quickly organized an assembly to express their indignation. Meanwhile, netizens responded with witty memes targeting the government and the People's Republic of China.
Somael Celestial asked President Thein Sein a sarcastic question via a “Condescending Wonka” meme:
Nga Paing wondered about the initial report that said police shot at the woman's leg, but accidentally hit her head instead.
Using “Sheltered Suburban Kid”, Min Sat Paing created a meme about those who look down upon those struggling in rural areas.
အင်ဘရန် လတောင် also made a meme about the life of villagers who lost the right to keep their land when the government steps in to claim it:စက္ကန်း ကမ္မင်း has advice on how to avoid being killed by a bullet that targets the leg but hits the head instead. Using a locally famous meme template known as “Bad Advice Thein Sein”, the advice is quite simple but hilarious:
As there are unconfirmed news reports that Chinese armed personnel were also involved in the clash, Somael Celestial wondered about the status of his country.Wanbao mining company described the death of the protester as “senseless” and has asked the police to investigate the issue. Meanwhile, protests are continuing against the copper mine project.
These greedy Chinese invaders and exploiters are “senselessly” destroying Burma’s pristine natural habitat and the traditional way of life. Where is Suu Kyi when the poor people need her? Oh hang on, didn’t she fully endorse this Chinese copper mine a while ago and now she is planning on a pilgrimage to China. Upper-class Burmese, such as the junta guys, their corrupt cronies (and now their new “bff” Suu Kyi) are all bribed by the Chinese with big fat bank accounts in Singapore. People like Naw Ohn Hla and Ma Khin Win are the new freedom fighters of Burma.
As my late Burmese grandmother taught me: “if you give Chinese your little finger today, tomorrow they will own your land, your hills, your rivers, your woman and finally scrape away the gold from your pagodas”