News

How China is choking the Mekong

The former chief of Pak Chim, a tiny village on a tributary of the Mekong River, remembers clearly the moment he knew his hamlet would be no more. It was a decade ago. A few hundred residents of Pak Chim and nearby villages along the snaking ...

Shibani Mahtani

The Costs of China’s Belt and Road Expansion

When I returned to Xigang after five years, I couldn’t recognize it. What had been a small but generally well-maintained beach town had become a sprawling mess of a city; construction, mud, and piles of garbage were seemingly everywhere. The Han Chinese with whom I ...

Chris Horton

China builds in Myanmar’s conflict areas

A year ago, Myanmar and China signed an agreement to establish the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), as part of China’s Belt and Road global infrastructure initiative. Today, that corridor is mired in conflict between the Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups. Stretching 1,700 kilometres, the CMEC’s ...

Nicholas Lo

Thai Belt and Road project bumps into finance and liability issues

Thailand’s government is delaying China’s ambitious high-speed railway project in the country as questions over financing and liabilities of the $9.9 billion infrastructure initiative remain unresolved. Sources within Thailand’s transport sector confirmed to the Nikkei Asian Review that behind-the-scenes negotiations between Bangkok and Beijing over the ...

Marwaan Macan-Markar

China’s hegemonic choice in the Mekong region

If you are the world’s second-largest power, what do you dream about? How do you go about making this dream come true? Put bluntly, the Mekong River region represents a crucial testing ground for Beijing’s mid- to long-term ambitions — not acknowledged officially — to become ...

Sebastian Biba

As local residents question Belt and Road impacts, China and Myanmar remain silent

Chinese investment in projects for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is changing the homes, economies, and environments of people across Myanmar, often in conflict zones. In some cases, those affected by the projects are calling for the government to stop or alter Chinese-backed projects ...

Skylar Lindsay

China winning new Cold War on the Mekong

When the state tabloid China Daily ran a paid advertisement in the New York Times extolling the virtues of Beijing’s proliferating dams in Laos, the piece sparked a new cold war controversy. Entitled “Employment on hydroelectric project in Laos delivers better lives”, the piece stated that ...

China’s Belt and Road Initiative criticised for poor standards and ‘wasteful’ spending

China’s massive infrastructure spending in Southeast Asian nations under the Belt and Road Initiative has run into a series of problems including substandard work and money wasted on unprofitable projects, a new report has warned. The Belt and Road Initiative, launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping ...

Teddy Ng

Survey: Less coal, more solar, say citizens of Belt & Road countries

Citizens of countries participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, strongly prefer clean energy over the coal projects that have become Beijing’s calling card, a new survey shows. The findings, from a multi-country survey, commissioned by environmental group E3G, were published ahead of an international forum hosted in ...

Hans Nicholas Jong

Opposition to Myitsone Dam Will Be Outgoing Chinese Ambassador’s Chief Legacy

It has been a busy week for the Chinese ambassador to Myanmar. Just a week after Beijing hosted the 2nd Belt and Road (BRI) forum, Hong Liang has been bustling around the government offices in Naypyitaw attending a series of meetings since Monday. So far, he ...

Nan Lwin

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