Laos: Residents complain about signboards written only in Chinese at business and construction sites

Author: Radio Free Asia, Published on: 30 June 2020

“Lao Residents Chafe at Chinese-Language Signs at Construction Sites, SEZs”, 26 June 2020

Lao residents are voicing increasing annoyance at the appearance in the country of signboards at business places and building sites written only in Chinese…

The signs, sometimes with words written also in Lao but in smaller letters, have been set up at restaurants and in shopping malls in Chinese-run special economic zones and at construction sites along the route of a high-speed rail line being built to connect Laos with China, sources say.

Laos, with ambitions to become the "Battery of Southeast Asia" has drawn Chinese investment in hydropower dams and other big-ticket projects under Beijing's $1.3 trillion Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure to support trade…

Signs put up at the locations of rail work in Oudomxay are required to be written in both Lao and Chinese, an official from the local office of the Department of Culture and Tourism told RFA…  

Even on signs where both languages appear, the lettering given in Lao is much smaller, though, a villager in Luang Nam That province’s Luang Nam That district said, calling the dominant use of Chinese an attack on Lao culture…

Signs and other advertising set up in the special economic zones are the responsibility of the concessions’ mostly Chinese owners, though, an official from the Luang Nam Tha province said, adding, “We have gone down there from time to time to investigate complaints.”…

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