University of Oxford, Global Economic Governance Programme (GEG), Oxford
This paper explores the "ecological footprint" of Chinese overseas investments in the Mekong region's hydropower sector, and examines the conditions under which Chinese dam developers have been compelled into responding to external pressure and adopting policies that reflect a shift towards greater compliance with "responsible" investment norms. It argues that an important dynamic has been the development of an embryonic transnational advocacy network within the region's evolving public sphere. Here, campaigns spearheaded by local and international NGOs prove crucial to raising public awareness and, increasingly, to sensitising the Chinese government, along with its state-owned enterprises, to their environmental and social responsibilities. In the case of localised resistance to certain hydropower schemes in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, achieved outcomes are significantly shown to range from direct influence on the behaviour of "target" actors to nuanced changes in the latter's discursive positions.