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Greens take on China's infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia

Tougher environmental compliance facing Chinese companies at home and abroad

China's plan to blast deep channels in the Mekong river for cargo vessels has been put on hold. (Getty Images)

BANGKOK -- Rural communities in Thailand have been challenging Chinese companies with street protests, court petitions, and occasionally sorcery, to block environmentally-damaging projects in their back yards -- and their call to action is being taken up across mainland Southeast Asia.

Grassroots activists in the northern province of Chiang Rai have successfully lobbied the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a state power utility, to suspend its decision to purchase electricity from a controversial hydropower dam proposed by China's Datong Corporation on the Lao side of the Mekong river, Southeast Asia's longest body of water. 

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