How China Controls Southeast Asia’s Most Important River

On this episode of China Uncensored, Southeast Asian nations are pretty upset about all China’s dam projects. Hi, welcome back to China Uncensored. I’m your host, Chris Chappell. And boy have I got a good dam story for you. Because we’re going to talk about one of China’s megaprojects: reshaping the entire geopolitical- environmental-economic landscape of a large chuck of Southeast Asia. Using a bunch of dams. Plus strong-arm politics. This is the Mekong River. It’s called the Lancang River in China. It starts in Tibet, and flows down through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam, where it empties out into the South China Sea. Which means both ends of the river have been Chinese territory since ancient times. That last part is a joke. Except…kind of not. The Chinese Communist Party feels that it has the strongest right to control the
river. Partly because China is the most upstream
country, which gives it the terrain advantage. And partly because China is bigger and stronger than those other five little countries combined. It could beat ’em up with one river tied behind its back. China has already built 7 hydropower dams like this one along the upper Mekong River. It has plans to build 21 more. People living downstream are concerned, because dams upstream mess up the entire river’s natural cycles. And that affects the whole ecosystem. The Mekong River is a huge economic resource for the region. It’s home to one of the world’s most diverse fisheries, second only to Brazil’s Amazon River. Over 60 million people in the lower Mekong River basin rely on the river for food, water, and transportation. And China’s dams are causing some serious dam problems. For example, in the summer of 2016, Southeast Asia faced the worst drought in a hundred years. It had the biggest impact in Vietnam, where it directly affected half a million households, causing rather serious problems, like “a lack of drinking water, food shortages, and forced internal migration to urban areas.” Is this because of China’s dams upstream? Well, if you ask Chinese state-run media, the droughts were actually caused by the climate cycle known as El Niño. Which in English translates as “The Niño.” In other words, The Niño did it, and it was totally not China’s fault. In fact, we should thank China. Because after desperate requests from Vietnam, China released a little bit of water to alleviate that drought— which, again, was definitely “due to the prolonged effects of El Niño.” But if you ask, say, any scientist— they would tell you that Chinese dams are at least partly to blame. “When China began damming the Mekong and its upstream tributaries in the early
1990s, scientists predicted the kinds of droughts we’re seeing today.” Scientists predicted it, the CCP ignored the data, and went ahead with its dam projects anyway. This kind of intentionally ignoring science doesn’t exactly bode well for the regime that claims it wants to be a world leader in tackling climate change. But anyway, even before China started building dams, there was a need to collectively manage issues related to the Mekong River, since it’s shared by so many countries. They’ve come together in various forums over the past 60 years. And in 1995, four of them established the Mekong River Commission. The Mekong River Commission has been helpful, though not ideal. Partly because China refused to participate. Hey, I totally understand. These meetings do not look exciting. Worst way to spend an afternoon ever! Except maybe that time I watched Battlefield
Earth. But “boring meetings” is not the reason China opted out. It’s actually because The Chinese regime didn’t like the rules, and preferred to set up its own Mekong River group with its own rules. In November 2015, China set up the awkwardly-titled Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework— which sounds even more boring. But it’s actually about power. It allows Beijing to sidestep the Mekong River Commission’s regulation that dam proposals need to be discussed by all the member nations before they can be built. Basically, the Chinese regime wanted to make
sure the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation framework didn’t require actual cooperation. At least not between all the nations. See, even though all six nations are members, China emphasises “bilateral comprehensive strategic partnerships.” That is, one-on-one partnerships, where China is one of the ones. It’s a classic CCP “divide and conquer”
strategy. “China has dealt with Mekong countries bilaterally so that these countries are not able to unite and stand up to China as a regional grouping.” As another expert puts it, “If Beijing manages to achieve control of the Mekong’s development it would quickly become a crucial artery for China’s rise and exportation of influence.” This is not surprising. Remember Xi Jinping’s three and an half
hour speech that cured insomnia at the 19th Party Congress last October? How he rambled on about how China should have more international influence? Well, in just the past two years, China has set aside billions of dollars to support 45 Mekong River projects in these countries. For example, China is helping fund a series of at least three dams in Laos. The first one “directly ignored the recommendations of the Strategic Environmental Assessment” but Laos went ahead with it anyway. Because now that Laos has financial support from China, it can now flat out ignore the concerns from Cambodia and Vietnam. But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Because Cambodia is building its own dams. Which, unfortunately, come with their own dam problems. They’re also paid for with Chinese money. So the Chinese regime has built its own Southeast Asia cooperation group, and it then works with each member country one by one, and promises each of them economic development. Individually, each project is fairly limited. But combined, they have a major impact on an entire ecosystem— which includes a tiny part of China, and huge parts of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. But don’t worry, nothing could possibly go wrong. What? That was a different dam that burst in Laos. Don’t worry about it. So what do you think? Leave your comments below. Once again, I’m Chris Chappell. See you next time. Hi, did you notice the use of clever puns
in this episode? Well, if you go to our website,, you can see all our episodes, and more importantly, all our puns. Once again, that’s

100 thoughts on “How China Controls Southeast Asia’s Most Important River

  1. Chris! Now Google YouTube is heavily closing anti china remarks and accounts!
    Because Google has now big project in Shentzen and it needs to kiss CCP's ass now!

  2. It's important to seperate the idea of communism from the way it was done in history. If you objectively look at Karl Marx's original works, they seem very reasonable and moral. It was the way communism was attempted (no state was ever truly communist, only socialist), that didn't go well. This is likenable to George Orwell's "Animal Farm" novel. Also, the death tolls from the USSR and similar statistics are often overblown and exagerrated. If you Google search "Joseph Stalin death toll" you will not find a clear answer, and most large estimates include victims of famines and natural disasters.

  3. Goddamn China…. could you do one on China and Falcon heavy. global times actually responded and said they were 'behind in technology' also a bunch of praise from the chinese people (not government/news outlets)

  4. This same tactic was practiced with the Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze river, the media called it a massive flood control mechanism

  5. 5:37
    "Xi jingpings three and a half hour long speech that cured insomnia"

  6. I filled up my tub to take a bath and was informed it was historically Chinese fishing grounds

  7. How can a third world shit hole with a collapsing economy and a manufacture industry so bad, that everything they make will break on first use being able to build dams? Fake news.

  8. Queensland tried holding all the water from the Murray Darling River system in the north. The wave swept through half of rural Queensland and caused minor flooding in Northern NSW. Lets us see what these dams do when they burst.

  9. The European Union EU river basin management entity for all EU rivers (to foster peace and environmental solutions): which leads to e.g.—the-60-year-celebration-of-the-peace-symbol/2018—peace-year—60-yrs-peace-symbol—boat-trip-rhine–danube-river-basin—feel-the-nature-with-recylart-graffiti-workshop–festivals

  10. Such biased brainwashed channel like China Uncensored to say bad to China always attracts presumptuous Koreans who think they are NO.1 in the universe, stupid Indians who think they are NO.1 in the world, wretched Vietnamese who think they are bullied by China but forget the history of invading by France, Japan and America. Go and find the reason why you Korea is still a small nation sit in the corner of East Asia for southand years? why you India was never a country until 1947 that UK gave back you a country named India. Honest advice: cooperate with China, stop hating each other.

  11. did you mention the fact that water is enriched along the river in the downstream basin. there will be impact from dams but don't exaggerate it, ok

  12. this evil party controls a water for lot of people including south asia and south east asia. world must do something about this or there will be femine and hunger everywhere

  13. Do Chinese dams have fish ladders to reduce the disruption to the ecosystem?

    All new dams take time to fill up – it's a case of being patient and not filling them too quickly so the river downstream has enough flow for people's needs. The other issue is that large dam reservoirs can lose water through evaporation, permanently reducing the water flow downstream. Deep narrow (canyon) reservoirs are better to reduce this.


  15. Building Dams makes great neighbors! Everyone equally gets there unfair share of water!

  16. National geographic wrote an article about this a couple of years ago. The Mekong river is going to end up like the Colorado river, by the time it reaches the ocean it's a trickle.

  17. A circus clown discussing environmental science. That's funny. Building dams were a good thing when Americans and Western Europe did it. Now it's bad because Chinese do it. Once again never let fools or children see unfinished work.

  18. How China Controls Southeast Asia’s Most Important River :
    By polluting with toxic non biodegradable chemicals.

  19. We need to unite against the common enemy that is destroying the world, the CCP. We need to fight the evil regime and kick it out of our damaged Earth, once and for all.

  20. Realistically speaking, a recent military survey by the Pentagon shows that China military readiness and capability is at least 15 years behind that of Russia and at least 30-40 years behind that of US. Sometimes I wonder if your channel is funded by the CCP itself to consolidate its image of "power" in the west. But then again, as a viewer of your videos, my impression is that China is a fragile, unstable, and pitiful of a country that relies mostly on propaganda/counter-intelligent to sustains itself. I could go on…

  21. 看这个主持人能说会道的那个逼样,这个channel所有的视屏全是不知道想了多久才编出来的虚假的来把中国描黑的内容,主持人也好意思说的起劲的很💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎

  22. A 100% Western propaganda and biased channel against China and Chinese people……. Shame on YOU Idiots.

  23. Alot of haters here who we gonna hate today China USA white people in general? FUCK you you want to be us you jealous twirps.

  24. This White racist should not speak for the Aseans as no body ask him to bullshit for the Aseans. The Aseans are happy with China and have Great relationship with China. This White Racist is jealous of the Smart Partnership between China and Asean countries.

  25. i want to point to a fact :if these countries didn't get a good development , their people couldn't exist. can trump help them ?

  26. China intentions are EVIL eventually cutting the throat to all the countries that depends on the rivers,using the rivers to influence all these countries for Chinese government benefits😱wath a fucking corrupted Chinese government stealing everything even the waters😣😵😈👺👎👎👎👎👎

  27. All this waters belongs to Tibet not fucking Chinese government👹👎

  28. If the Tibet was supported from the rest of the world for there indipendence this will not happened.

  29. A part of me wants to blame the countries that made what Chinese Communist party has become today. Its arrogance and ignorance of its Asian neighbors are all over the place because they know those countries has a low chance to retaliate militarily. BECAUSE we are already supposed to be living in a peace time with no wars. Yet here we are, these chinese communist with their ambitious zealousness degrading every relation to S.E.A., and these asian nations are bribed by economic funding promise luring them into trap. Such intimidation and control tactics

  30. China is land grabber country. It always steals lands of its weak neighbor countries by bullying them on the basis of false claims illegally. Soon bloody land grabber China will raise a false claim that also Europe belongs to China since ancient times in their history and map lol

  31. God damn the CCP for building those dams on upstream Mekong river. Someday those dams could be targeted militarily.

  32. Hello, please provide links to mentioned articles and videos, it would be very helpful. Thank you very much for your videos.

  33. You're doing a great job Chris!Telling people what's going on at the other side of the world!Keep going!

  34. American MNCs and European companies set up tech manufacturing facilities in China. Foolishly they are empowering China not knowing in long run they will be the real loosers.

  35. The movie Battlefield Earth was the worst movie ever, in sharp contrast to the book, which was the best book ever.

  36. The Meekong River is treated like a toilet/garbage dump/bathtub by each of those dirty Asian countries then it dumbs all that shit into the ocean, all Asians/Indians need to be killed to save the planet and the future of humanity

  37. What u expacting, to country that force take loan with china. Of all south east asia share mekong river, 2 of them is still poor country, which is laos and cambodia. Most country, will think twice if sign contract / agreement with China as everything will be benefit to them, and like to make corporate with corrupt leadership. Current, in my country, their combat corruption to the max after new government win on may 2018. Remember corrupt leadership = good business to CCP, anti corrupt leadership = bad bussiness to CCP.

  38. I think these dams will burst just like every half-measure that Chinese construction company makes. People will die, dams will be rebuilt, and no one will care.

  39. The CCP destroys other countries by making them economically dependent on Chinese-funded projects, like casinos in Cambodia, and the cheap local labour comes from the pool of recently-displaced locals who were forced off their land by Chinese upstream water-theft.
    They are worse than the USA's economic practices toward 2nd and 3rd world countries in the 20th century.

  40. china sounds like what dude everyone knows thats just says what you wanna hear…

  41. Do not even think our ancestors and all the Tibetan ancient spiritual leaders could not foresee the coming physical threat to out world peace…! Are you so feminist you would see the rest of us bleed for you as a debit repayment for inferior human beings down stream!
    This practice is older than forced prostitution.
    Wake Up! the is a leverage no living creature deserves to hold and or be held
    up by especially as malice over any other creature along its life giving banks.
    The very act is by its nature and the exposure of the one who even attempts
    to use our planets resources as a weapon.
    High treason of planet recourse's is unforgivable and if aloud to be practiced
    will murder all future generations homes and freedom to thrive willingly in
    good intention and loving investments.
    Thank you .

  42. damn china ccp, from seas to land, it like they try to get their dirty paws on everything, destroy everything, ignore everything and they want to be the world leader?

  43. If that river runs through China, it has all rights to built a damn dam.

  44. how can build all the big dams? bad for environments, all must unite….

  45. As an anti CCP cheerleader I realized China uncensored has element of Chinese bigots within its ranks (or at least some good old anti Asian racist) when it started praising Trump

  46. consider joining the WWF to stop chinese dams

  47. in the recent past , China did TRY to build a bunch of dams in Mekong River to …….help these countries around it – And Feb 2019 , China could TRY to create a "the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill " to help ;)) …. their people . ———–> WHAT NICE TRIES

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *