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China's Belt and Road rail project stirs discontent in Laos

Belated compensation for over 4,000 affected families involves opaque assessments

Upgrading Southeast Asia's dilapidated rail infrastructure comes with social costs.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Some 4,000 families in Laos affected by a China-Laos high-speed rail link, begun in 2016 as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, are to receive compensation, but the amounts involved and timing are unclear. 

Channelled through new accounts at Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public, the communist country's largest state-owned bank, payments will be made to farmers who sustained crop damage, and to those with "residential properties surrendered to the government," according to the Lao News Agency, the official mouthpiece of the one-party state.

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