Dams Under Debate in China, Burma and Elsewhere

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Welcome back. I'm Caty Weaver.

Today on the show: concerns and disputes about dam building projects in Asia.

A major environmental group is worried about possible harm from a dam planned in Laos on the Mekong River. The dam would provide electricity for Laos and neighboring Cambodia. The World Wide Fund for Nature says it is not against the dam completely. It wants to find a better location for it.

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Richard Cronin is director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Stimson Center, a non-profit public policy group. He is an expert in hydroelectric dams on the Mekong River, which flows through several countries.

"Chinese companies are involved in four, possibly five, of the 11 mainstream dams, as well as lots of dams on tributaries. So, China's role is a big factor in all infrastructure development, particularly in Laos and Cambodia. But it is also a particularly big factor in the development of these dams."

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Sun Yun is a researcher at the Stimson Center. She says the Myitsone dam project is a good example of Chinese policy-making by individuals who have different interests.

"China's central government, which is Beijing, local government, which is Yunnan province, and the business interests, China Power and Investment, they prioritize different things"

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