[WEBCAST] How Does Laos Deal With Chinese Megaprojects?VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Discussing the Belt and Road in Laos With Jessica DiCarlo
The Chinese-financed effort to build a national railway through Laos is well under way. The line from Kunming, China to Vientiane, Laos is a core part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the aim to connect Chinese markets to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. While the benefits to China are obvious, it seems uncertain to what extent Laos can benefit from this megaproject, from the infrastructure itself, but also other projects, e.g. Special Economic Zones.
What are the implications on the ground of these megaprojects? How has Laos as a host country negotiated and implemented the BRI with Chinese counterparts? Why are they agreeing to potentially bad deals? And what does this tell us about local institutions and Lao-Chinese relations? Are there any major risks, or social and environmental concerns? Are other host countries in similar situations?
Join us for the webcast with Jessica DiCarlo, who has studied the Lao-China railway to showcase how infrastructures relate to on-the-ground political and social relations in host countries. She has lived and worked in Laos and China, visiting the BRI sites and conducting interviews with Chinese and Lao officials, businesses, locals and other actors involved.
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Jessica DiCarlo is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder. She completed her masters in Development Studies at the University of California Berkeley and was also a visiting fellow at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center. Jessica specializes in critical development studies, political ecology, political geography, and the anthropology of infrastructure. Her regional expertise is centered in China, where she has worked in Yunnan, Liaoning, Tibetan regions, as well as Beijing and Shanghai since 2008. Her interest in Chinese borderlands led her to do research in Nepal, India and Laos. Her dissertation draws on ethnographic fieldwork in northern Laos and examines the construction and planning of the Laos-China Railway and related economic zones to ground ‘global China’ in ways that pay closer attention to complex host contexts. During her fieldwork, she was a research fellow at the University of Bern’s Centre for Development and Environment in Vientiane, Laos.