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Laos faces public backlash as economy teeters toward default

Debt crisis triggers rare anger against communist leaders on social media

Workers at a Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam construction site in Bokeo Province, Laos in 2017. The country's foreign debt is estimated at $1.3 billion, which it must settle by 2025.   © Getty Images

BANGKOK -- Shortly after a Laotian-language article headlined "Lao economy collapses" appeared on the Facebook page of U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia this month, public rage erupted against leaders of the one-party state.

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