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This chapter presents the book’s second case study: Chinese efforts to manage ‘non-traditional’ security issues in the Greater Mekong Subregion. It focuses on the challenges of illegal narcotics and associated criminal activity, particularly banditry on the Mekong river, to which China has become more exposed through its ‘reform and opening up’. Contrary to widespread assumptions that ‘Westphalian’ China is leery of undermining sovereignty, we show that Chinese agencies have actually moved to tackle these problems at source by sponsoring opium-substitution programmes and transboundary law-enforcement projects in Laos and Myanmar. The outcomes of these interventions depend on how Chinese party-state transformation dynamics interact with socio-political conflicts in these target states. On the Chinese side, opium-substitution has been hijacked by local cadre-capitalists in Yunnan province, skewing implementation towards their sectional interests. This has intersected with predatory social relations in Myanmar and Laos to undermine drug-suppression efforts. Conversely, Chinese central government agencies have had greater success in corralling neighbouring counterparts into a transnational policing network, recently cemented into a new international organisation, the Lancang-Mekong Law Enforcement and Security Centre.
Mainland Southeast Asia is one of the most fascinating and complex cultural and linguistic areas in the world. This book provides a rich and comprehensive survey of the history and core systems and subsystems of the languages of this fascinating region. Drawing on his depth of expertise in mainland Southeast Asia, Enfield includes more than a thousand data examples from over a hundred languages from Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, bringing together a wealth of data and analysis that has not previously been available in one place. Chapters cover the many ways in which these languages both resemble each other, and differ from each other, and the diversity of the area's languages is highlighted, with a special emphasis on minority languages, which outnumber the national languages by nearly a hundred to one. The result is an authoritative treatment of a fascinating and important linguistic area.
In recent years, transit routes in Vietnam for drug trafficking networks in the Southeast Asia region and beyond have expanded considerably. Many international scholars are working on identifying destination and transit routes of drug trafficking entities “to and through” Vietnam. Among these routes, the crossings through the Vietnam–Laos borderland of about 2,340 km are among the most severe concerns. This article analyses supply-and-demand scales of illicit drugs in Vietnam from 2008 to 2017 within the context of illegal drug trafficking in the mainland Southeast Asian region. Some evidence consistent with the “destination and transit route” arguments were found through mapping three main ways across the Vietnam–Laos borderland. The article also calls for enhancing the bilateral cooperation among law enforcement agencies to prevent and combat drug trafficking from the two sides.
This article bridges the traditionally segregated fields of Native American history and the history of American foreign relations by investigating a series of activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s that interconnected Native American development and American counterinsurgency agendas in the unstable political landscapes of Southeast Asia. A small coterie of American bureaucrats, with careers spanning foreign assistance and Native American development work, saw great potential in selectively showcasing Indian economic “success stories” to serve “hilltribe” development and counterinsurgency programs in Laos and Thailand sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Central Intelligence Agency. One result was a series of “intertribal” development tours arranged for Laotian and Thai representatives in multiple Native American communities in Arizona and New Mexico. Moreover, sharing a sense that Native Americans could offer unique advantages as direct development agents among other “tribes” overseas, the tours’ organizers garnered support from a diverse range of actors—CIA and USAID officials, Laotian and Thai military officers, and Indian political and business leaders—for launching a “tribe-to-tribe” foreign assistance program. Viewed together, these transnational schemes and discussions reveal how the flexible and multivalent meanings of key development concepts at the time—such as Indian achievement, tribal initiative, and “intertribal” understanding—both facilitated and constrained official designs to employ Native American models to support political and military agendas in the “shadow” theaters of the escalating Vietnam conflict.
The date and significance of the megalithic jar sites of central Laos are comparatively poorly understood features of the Southeast Asian archaeological landscape. First explored systematically in the 1930s, only limited research on these sites has been undertaken since. This article presents the recent excavations at Ban Ang—or site 1—a megalithic jar site of nearly 400 jars, located in Xieng Khouang Province. The results confirm the findings of earlier research, but additionally reveal a range of mortuary practices, high rates of infant and child mortality, and new evidence dating these interments to the ninth to thirteenth centuries AD.
In this chapter, we show how changing budgets influence the mix of intervention strategies. A non-intuitive implication of our argument is that lack of funds may prompt a liberal intervener to switch to a less democratic intervention strategy. The logic is that money allows a liberal intervener a luxury of sorts: of being able to improve electoral conditions (and so make it harder for the favored government to win) while offsetting any disadvantages with massive aid, for their favored ticket. The case of Greece, in which the United States sponsored a change in electoral rules (in an undemocratic direction) in 1951–1952 conforms to this logic. Our discussion of coups provides scope condition for our argument, by showing how polarization and competitors influence the choice of electoral interventions over coups. We show that high polarization causes outsiders to prefer coups over elections. In that sense, we echo Dahl's central insight, about the conditions enabling democracy to exist. We also show that superpower competition heightens the risk of coups. The reason is that competing in elections becomes costly. The high prevalence of coups during the Cold War complies to this logic.
In past and present Vietnam, the dialectic of precarity and resilience shapes the everyday lives of mobile labourers. Vietnamese labour mobility is characterised by an interplay between precariousness ‘at home’ and the uncertainties of migration. The paper aims to highlight continuities and contingencies in the longue durée of Vietnamese work migration through a historical contextualisation of precarious labour relations. Both colonial ‘coolie’ workers and present-day labour migrants share similar experiences, for example socioeconomic marginalisation in the regions of origin, opportunity and risk, and emerging translocal identities.
Didymocarpus middletonii Souvann., Soulad. & Tagane, a new species of Gesneriaceae from Nam Kading National Protected Area, is described and illustrated. The new species is morphologically similar to Didymocarpus brevicalyx, D. formosus and D. puhoatensis but distinguished from the three by its fewer-flowered inflorescence, longer pedicel, and urceolate and multicellular eglandular hairy calyx. Based on the latest IUCN criteria, Didymocarpus middletonii is proposed to be Critically Endangered (CR). Our record of Didymocarpus represents a new genus record for the flora of Laos.
The flora of Laos remains one of the least known within the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. A floristic inventory was carried out in Phou Hin Poun National Biodiversity Conservation Area, an under-explored area of the Khammouane Limestone. This study provides a list of 27 taxa that are additions to the most recent country checklists. The Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Myrtaceae are the families with the highest species number. In this list, four species are endemic to Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam): Cynometra dongnaiensis Pierre, Jasminum vidalii P.S.Green, Memecylon chevalieri Guillaumin and Pothos gigantipes Buchet ex P.C.Boyce. These results illustrate the paucity of our knowledge of the region surveyed and of the flora of Laos in general.
Thirty angiosperm species in 20 families, collected in Nam Kading National Protected Area, are recorded in Laos for the first time. Because the flora of Nam Kading is rich in endemic species, the area represents one of the core sites of plant biodiversity in Laos. To elucidate the plant diversity accurately, further intensive floristic surveys are required.
Although biographical and life history approaches are potentially important tools for historical geographers, biographical methodologies have rarely been used to specifically investigate borderland dynamics. In this article, I argue that biography can be useful for understanding the ways in which borders have been recognised and negotiated historically. As a case study, I examine the life of Chao Sone Bouttarobol, a member of the Champassak Royal House, who was born in 1895 and died in 1979. As his life story illustrates, the emergence of new national borders had a significant impact on Sone, although family ties and relationships allowed him to cross the national administrative borders that now exist between Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, often with relative ease. Studying one individual makes it possible to explore the ways in which he interacted and negotiated with borders that cut across the Champassak Royal House's traditional space of influence.
Tuberculosis (TB) in elephants has the potential to infect humans and is an increasing public health concern. Lao PDR is one of the last countries where elephants are still used for timber extraction and where they live in close contact with their mahouts. There are 500 animals at work in the country, some interacting with wild herds. Although human TB prevalence is known to be high in Laos, studies on elephant TB had yet to be undertaken. From January to July 2012, screening was performed using the ElephantTB Stat-Pak assay on 80 elephants working around the Nam Pouy National Park in Sayaboury Province. This represents more than 18% of the total registered national working elephant population. Here we report that 36% of the elephants were seroreactive to the test. Of these, 31% had contacts with wild individuals, which suggests potential transmission of mycobacteria to the local wild herds. Clinical examination, chest X-rays, sputum microscopy and culture were performed on their 142 mahouts or owners. Despite high TB seroreactivity in elephants, no participant was smear- or culture-positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis or M. bovis, although atypical mycobacteria were isolated from 4% of participants.
Conceptualisations of the state as a reified entity fall short in the case of socialist Laos. Foreign commentators often imagine Lao political life through a discourse of state governance, yet the Lao themselves, in popular narratives, tend to emphasise their day to day interactions with state officials. In their everyday lives, the latter are treated as individuals with which it is possible to interact. This article explores the relations between the Lao people and their government officials, and how those relations have changed in recent history (mainly since 1975). Wedding receptions – vital events in Lao social life, where power is invoked through performance and representation – are taken as case studies for the analysis of authority and legitimacy in a socialist state context.
The species of Amomum Roxb. (Zingiberaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are revised. Thirty-five species and two varieties are recognised, most names are typified, and detailed descriptions and a key are provided. Conservation assessments of all species are given. Eleven new species are described: Amomum calcaratum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum calcicolum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum celsum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum chevalieri Gagnep. ex Lamxay, Amomum chryseum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum glabrifolium Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum plicatum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum prionocarpum Lamxay & M.F.Newman, Amomum rubidum Lamxay & N.S.Lý, Amomum stephanocoleum Lamxay & M.F.Newman and Amomum tenellum Lamxay & M.F.Newman.
The species of Aeschynanthus Jack (Gesneriaceae) in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are revised. Eighteen species are recognised, keys to the species are given, all names are typified, and detailed descriptions of all species are provided. Conservation assessments are given for all species. Aeschynanthus cambodiensis D.J.Middleton, Aeschynanthus jouyi D.J.Middleton and Aeschynanthus pedunculatus D.J.Middleton are newly described.
Laos harbours globally significant populations of small carnivores, including mustelids and viverrids of conservation concern and felids that are relatively rare or unknown from other parts of Asia. However, few have received conservation attention as managers still lack basic information on the status and distribution of even the most common species. We conducted the country’s first systematic camera-trap monitoring of carnivores in the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area on the Laos–Vietnam border, with intensive sampling across 500 km2 from 543 to 2,288 m altitude for 8,499 camera-trap days during 2003–2006. Surveys detected 14 species of small carnivores, including the first record of Owston’s civet Chrotogale owstoni for Laos. Preliminary occupancy estimates for the seven most common species ranged from 11% for marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata to 42% for Asian golden cat Pardofelis temminckii. Activity patterns of viverrids were primarily nocturnal whereas mustelids, except for hog badger Arctonyx collaris, were diurnal. Leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis was largely nocturnal, marbled cat primarily diurnal and Asian golden cat as likely detected during the day as at night. Our results led to the establishment of a contiguous 3,000-km2 protected area core zone and regulations that protect threatened species and control harvest of managed species.
Aquilaria crassna, a tree species on CITES Appendix II and categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, is the main source of the highly valuable, fragrant and resinous agarwood that is extracted in forests in South-east Asia, exported to East Asian and Arab countries, and used for a range of medicinal, aromatic and religious products. Based on interviews with local, non-local and foreign harvesters in Laos we examined the relationships between harvesters' daily net revenue from agarwood extraction, their degree of commercialization (i.e. their differential access to markets) and their ability to target harvesting towards the small fraction of trees that do contain commercial qualities and quantities of agarwood. For comparison we included data on number of trees felled during the most recent harvesting trip. The analysis showed that poor targeting ability and low degree of commercialization were associated with low daily net revenues, whereas good targeting ability and high degree of commercialization were associated with high daily net revenues. In the case of A. crassna in Laos it therefore appears that the activities of highly commercialized harvesters are less harmful to A. crassna populations than those of less specialized, local harvesters.
New records in the Flora of Laos are presented, along with a short history of botanical collection in the country. The records are given in two lists, one relating to the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viêtnam and the other relating to the older Flore générale de l'Indochine.