China's dam-builders: their role in transboundary river management in South-East Asia

Int J Water Resour Dev. 2017 Jun 13;34(5):747-770. doi: 10.1080/07900627.2017.1329138. eCollection 2018.


This article investigates China's role as the world's largest builder of and investor in large dams, focussing on the Greater Mekong Sub-Region in South-East Asia. It addresses the role Chinese actors play in dam-building as well as the environmental, social, economic and political implications by drawing on case studies from Cambodia and Vietnam. The article finds that China's dam-building is perceived very differently in different countries of South-East Asia. In Cambodia, the dams in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region are considered instruments of economic growth and development, whereas downstream in Vietnam the dams are seen as potentially undermining national growth, development and security.

Keywords: China’s dam-builders; Hydropower; Mekong; South-East Asia; transboundary river management.