Disabled Localisation: Financial Entanglements and Labour Politics along the Belt and Road in Laos

HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief No. 50


Wanjing (Kelly) Chen

Chinese investments in construction sector in the mainland Southeast Asia demonstrate lower degree of employment localization than in Africa. BRI projects in the region rely on an overwhelmingly Chinese workforce for implementation. This pattern is shaped by BRI’s unsustainable financial mechanism. The Chinese state’s lending practices, often divorced from host countries’ de facto fiscal capacities, result in difficulties to channel planned credit flows into BRI projects. Top-down financial instabilities shape (sub-) contractors’ labour recruitment processes.Chinese workers, who are more amenable to exploitation in the form of deferred or even denied wages, are often brought in to substitute for less pliable local counterparts.

About the author

Kelly (Wanjing) Chen (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) is a research assistant professor in the Division of Social Science at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. More >> 


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