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Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia$
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Evelyn Goh

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758518

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758518.001.0001

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China’s Hydropower Expansion and Influence Over Environmental Governance in Mainland Southeast Asia

China’s Hydropower Expansion and Influence Over Environmental Governance in Mainland Southeast Asia

Chapter:
(p.174) 8 China’s Hydropower Expansion and Influence Over Environmental Governance in Mainland Southeast Asia
Source:
Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia
Author(s):

Pichamon Yeophantong

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758518.003.0008

This chapter conducts a cross-national comparison between Myanmar and Cambodia to evaluate China’s influence over their decisions to undertake key hydropower projects and adopt socio-environmental protection policies in the process. We would assume China’s putative influence via preference multiplying and mobilizing the shared regional developmental imperative, but the author notes that given the widespread endorsement of hydropower as a development strategy, it is difficult to ascribe particular influence to Chinese persuasion or China as an exemplar; and at most China invests in countries with lax environmental standards ‘without necessarily employing its influence to bring about better or worse standards’. The author also shows that the level of local resistance helps determine varying levels of Chinese influence: Chinese investment in hydropower projects has been less successful and profitable in Myanmar where there has been more organized local resistance to the environmental consequences, than in Cambodia where local resistance has been muted.

Keywords:   China, hydropower, environmental governance, Myanmar, Cambodia, civil society, Myitsone Dam, Cheay Areng Dam, preference multiplying, resistance

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