Laos: Govt. stops Chinese project after pushback from locals scared to lose homes

Author: Sidney Khotpanya & Eugene Whong, Radio Free Asia, Published on: 9 March 2019

"Laos Stops Chinese-backed Tourism Development Survey in 3 Villages", 4 

Surveys for a Chinese development project in Laos have been suspended indefinitely in three villages after pushback from locals scared to lose their homes, sources say.

...The project, managed by the Boten Specific Economic Zone Lao Group Company Ltd, met resistance when villagers were reportedly uncooperative with the surveyors.

Even after local authorities came to explain the situation they still resisted.

In response, the government has ordered that the surveys be put on hold indefinitely until an agreement can be reached.

...Meanwhile, another project that would affect 22 villages was awarded to the Chinese-owned Lao-Vang Vieng Company....

"The company tried to survey the villagers' homes and land, but the villagers objected, and there were verbal confrontations," one village leader said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

..."Most of the villagers here don't want the Chinese company to survey their land, because they are afraid that their homes and property will be taken from them. If this happens, where will they go to live?" said the leader.

...Environmentalists are concerned that these projects could potentially destroy natural beauty of the area and which is the main attraction for tourists visiting Vang Vieng. Others are concerned it would disrupt the livelihoods of villagers.

As one of the least developed Southeast Asian nations, Laos has become a target for massive foreign investment, especially from companies from neighbors China, Thailand, and Vietnam, which receive attractive investment incentives from the Lao government.

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