ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Change comes to Laos village
The residents of Bopiat have particular reason to resent the Chinese workmen drilling in the centre of their village in the mountainous far north of Laos.
Around a thousand of them have been told to move because their homes lie in the path of a planned high-speed railway line, funded by Beijing, that will cut across Southeast Asia's smallest economy from the Chinese border to Vientiane.
It will be the third time in six years they have uprooted their lives, after they had to sacrifice their first village to make way for a Chinese casino in 2005.
“Now the train will come here. We are angry. We don't want to move again,” said 58-year-old Mai Phu.
The Boten-Vientiane line will be the first railway in landlocked Laos, apart from a short stretch of track near the Thai border, and just one link in a vast network set to connect the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming with Singapore.
Workmen are busily preparing the ground for the tracks, but local people still have no idea where they should move to, or how much they will be compensated for the loss of their homes.
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