Shweli 1 Dam

The Shweli 1 Dam, completed in late 2008, has impoverished the ethnic Palaung village of Man Tat, in Shan State, Northern Burma. The project is owned by a Chinese consortium that includes the Yunnan Machinery Equipment Import and Export Company Limited and a subsidiary of China Southern power Grid Corporation (CSG). The dam was built by China’s Sinohydro Corporation. Villagers were not consulted about the project beforehand, and have been unable to voice their concerns or submit claims for compensation.

In 2000, when preparations for the Shweli 1 Dam began, a Burma Army battalion of 300 soldiers established a base in Man Tat village to ensure the project’s security. These soldiers seized many of the villagers’ land and livestock for their own benefit, and forced over 300 villagers to labor for the project without compensation. Women living nearby have faced increased risk of sexual violence and several young local women have been forced to marry soldiers. Villagers’ land was confiscated from them or destroyed without compensation by the project developers for construction of the dam, access roads and transmission lines.

The Shweli 1 Dam is part of a three-dam cascade that will generate some 1,420 MW of electricty, the majority of which will be exported to China, with the remainder supplying domestic military-owned mining operations. The other two projects, Shweli 2 and 3, are also planned for the Shweli River.

The Ta'ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) is working with communities in the area and collecting information to inform the international community about the impacts of the Shweli dam cascade.  International Rivers is working to support local groups campaigning against the Shweli 1 Dam and to highlight Sinohydro and CSG’s involvement in dams in Burma where affected people have not yet received fair compensation for their losses or a share in project benefits.

More information: 

For more information on the Shweli 1 Dam see the report published by TSYO (formally PYNG) "Under the Boot: The Burma Army clears the way for Chinese dams on the Shweli River" (in English, Burmese, and Chinese), or contact Ta'ang Students and Youth Organization (TSYO) at

View International River's webpage on China Southern Power Grid Corporation (CSG)

View International Rivers' webpage on Sinohydro Corporation