Laos-China Railway Inaugurated Amid Mounting Debt Concerns

Officials from China and Laos today marked the official launch of the $5.9 billion railway connecting the two nations, officially completing the first link of a long-envisioned rail line connecting southwest China with Singapore. The project will no doubt bring an economic jolt to Vientiane and the country’s mountainous north, but the extent to which this benefits the country’s predominantly rural population remains open to question. 

Throughout its six years of construction, people who were displaced from their homes to make way for the railway complained they were paid too little, and there have been a host of well-documented issues involving the exploitation of the Chinese laborers who have relocated temporarily to Laos to work on the project.

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Sebastian Strangio