China in Laos: Counting the cost of progress
By Daniel Allen
12 September 2009
BEIJING – At Kunming’s long-distance bus station, a sleeper bus crammed with Chinese laborers edges toward the exit, en-route to the Laotian capital of Vientiane. Despite the prospect of an uncomfortable 40-hour journey ahead, this group of wiry, chain-smoking men is buoyed by the expectation of a reasonable salary and a chance to take China’s economic miracle southward. “Laos is poor and dirty,” says one. “But we have many friends there already. We can make money and help make Laos more like China.”
The resource-rich Golden Triangle area of northern Laos, Thailand and Myanmar is no stranger to Chinese influence. Just as the Chin Haw – Han and Hui Chinese from Yunnan province – first arrived in Laos in the 19th century looking to get fat off the land, so a new wave of migrants from Yunnan and further afield is now making a beeline for the same region, looking to take advantage of opportunities thrown up by modern China’s long and powerful economic arm.
For the full story please go to Asia Times: China in Laos: Counting the cost of progress