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International relations

Chinese developer provokes ire in Laos with 100-meter Buddha statue

Locals who follow another sect protest structure set to become capital's tallest

Left: A model of the statue that a Chinese company plans to build in Vientiane. Right: The Pha That Luang stupa in Laos. (Source photo by Reuters and Vientiane's Special Economic Zone Promotion and Management Office)

BANGKOK -- Flexing its economic might in impoverished Laos, China has hit a snag on the religious front, provoking anti-Chinese anger over a gigantic statue of Buddha that a Shanghai company plans to build in Vientiane.

Social media posts have crackled with criticism against Wan Feng Shanghai Real Estate Co.'s plan to build a towering 100-meter-tall Buddha statue as a tourist attraction in a special economic zone in Vientiane, the Laotian capital on the banks of the Mekong River. If the company goes ahead, the structure will be the tallest in Vientiane.

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