China and the Cascading Geopolitics of Lower Mekong Dams

TitleChina and the Cascading Geopolitics of Lower Mekong Dams
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2011
Secondary TitleThe Asia-Pacific Journal
Key themesFraming Concepts in Water Governance, Hydropower, Transboundary Governance

Much has been written on the downstream impact of China's dams on the Lancang-Mekong River, which flows through or along the borders of five other countries after exiting China. Most of the discussion relates to the hydrological impact of impounding water in the eight dams along the mainstream Lancang Jiang in Yunnan Province. However, there are also more indirect implications of the Lancang dams that receive less attention despite having a bearing on highly controversial current projects on the Lower Mekong mainstream such as the proposed Xayabouri Dam in Laos. Several factors help explain the revival of the Lower Mekong mainstream dams, and China is implicated in a number of ways. This article examines how China’s own development of the river drives the logic of building more dams further downstream, and analyses the current rapid expansion of hydropower development in the context of shifting geopolitics in the region.


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China, Regional

Document Type

Journal Article

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