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China’s Mekong deepening plans draw ire

China’s plans to blast large parts of the Mekong river to allow larger ships to travel south from Yunnan province to Laos have attracted the ire of environmentalists.

The Chinese are proposing dynamiting a series of rapids and river islands so that ships of up to 500 dwt can pass through Laos and onto Vietnam and ultimately to the South China Sea.

Environmentalists have warned the plans endanger would endanger livelihoods and also could send a rare species – the Mekong catfish – to extinction. They point to a 2003 study conducted by Monash University at the behest of the Thai government that claimed Mekong deepening plans were “fatally flawed”.

The countries surrounding the Mekong have all just attended the the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing, convened by Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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