I was aware before visiting Burma last year of the extensive encroachment of China. I didn’t know, though it’s entirely predictable, that it’s happening in Lao too.
On the smaller, more personal level, TL told us about a Chinese businessman whose friendly overtures eventually persuaded his aunt to sell off part of her land and become the businessman’s employee. On a much larger, and more immediately shocking scale, our journey down the river took us past this construction site where the Chinese are building a hydroelectric dam.
The workers have all been brought in from China, and a compound built to house them.
I don’t know what the arrangement is, but I’d wager a huge sum that China will gain far more benefit from this project than Lao ever will.
Within a year, the journey we made will not be possible.
— words & pictures by Elizabeth