Eighty-one eminent citizens of the country in a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Bangladesh urged the Chinese government to accept the responsibility it has in the violence that killed seven workers in police firing at the under-construction coal-fired Banshkhali power plant.
The letter reminded the Chinese government that the violence was not the first of its kind as similar incidents on the premises of S. S. Power I Ltd., Banshkhali, Chattogram have killed 12 people so far since 2016.
‘The project profile confirms that the Government of China cannot shirk its responsibility for the killing and violent incidents that we are witnessing since the initiation of this dirty energy project,’ said the letter a copy of which was sent to New Age.
The latest incident of violence on the premises of S. S. Power I Ltd. occurred on April 17.
The signatories to the letter wondered how China backed up a project like the coal-fired power plant in coastal Bangladesh while the Chinese government decided to abandon such projects in China.
‘Under the circumstances, we unequivocally protest and condemn the incident of killing and violence and the silence of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bangladesh,’ read the letter.
Chinese banks accounted for over 70 per cent of the investment being made in the dirty coal-fired project in partnership with S. Alam Group of Bangladesh, read the letter.
The letter asked the Chinese government to ensure justice for the murdered and injured workers, take immediate actions against those in the Chinese companies responsible for the killing, wounding, and harassing workers, compensate the families of the victims in line with the international legal standard and publish the joint venture agreement to make the companies involved in the project accountable.
The letter was signed, among others, by economist Anu Muhammad, Dhaka University teachers Serajul Islam Choudhury, Asif Nazrul and Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Gonoshashasthaya Kendra trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury, human rights activist Sultana Kamal, Grand Valley State University teacher Azfar Hussain, Rajshahi University teacher Salim Reza Newton, Jahangirnagar University teacher Sayeed Ferdous, Shadhona’s artistic director Lubna Marium, Daffodil University teacher M Shamsul Alam, photographer Shahidul Alam, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan general secretary Sharif Jamil, Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki and lawyers Abdullah Al Noman, Adilur Rahman Khan and Jyotirmoy Barua.
They found the demand for which the workers were protesting was reasonable and asked the Chinese government to make fair investments and uphold labour rights.
‘We strongly believe that fulfilling the above mentioned four points will be a genuine gesture to uphold the commitments and honor of the Communist Party of China on its 100th anniversary,’ read the letter.
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