China using development aid to spearhead Asian push
The extent of China’s ambition in Southeast Asia is taking concrete form in a village less than a dozen kilometers east of Vientiane, the Laotian capital.
Last Nov. 18, at a ceremony attended by Laotian Deputy Prime Minister Somsavad Lengsavat and the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Yunnan provincial committee, the foundation stone was laid for a colony for Chinese people on about 1,000 hectares of Laotian farmland.
Whispers about the construction of a city for the Chinese have been rife in Laos since the end of 2009, with talk that the Chinese government had agreed to build stadiums for the Southeast Asian Games in Vientiane that year in return for the construction of a district for Chinese people about 10 kilometers to the west of the current site.
Some Laotians were angered by rumors that their government had granted the right to rent the land for a maximum of 75 years, and would allow 50,000 Chinese to settle in the area.