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Alternative Development or Business as Usual?: Chinas Opium Substitution Policy in Burma and Laos

A significant part of opium and its derivative heroin on the market in China originates from the ‘Golden Triangle’ – roughly the area that spans northern Burma, Thailand and Laos. It supplies a large number of injecting drugs users in China, and is considered a major security concern by the Chinese authorities. To counter this threat, the Chinese government have launched opium substitution programmes in northern Burma and Laos. The schemes, promoting agricultural investments by Chinese companies, have seen a dramatic increase in recent years. They include large-scale rubber plantations and other crops such as sugarcane, tea and corn. Most contracts are made with local state and military authorities and companies rather than with local communities. it remains to be seen whether China’s opium crop substitution policy is achieving its goals – to reduce opium cultivation and provide sustainable alternative local livelihoods in Burma and Laos – by promoting large-scale rubber and other mono-crop plantations.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Agriculture and fishing
  • Land
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Myanmar
Copyright To be determined
Version / Edition 1.1
License unspecified
Author (corporate) TNI
Co-author (coorporate) Transnational Institute
Publication date 2010
Keywords Customary Tenure,Drugs,Agribusiness,Loans,FDI,China,Opium Substitution,Indigenous Rights,Private Sector
Date uploaded June 13, 2018, 14:35 (UTC)
Date modified April 14, 2021, 10:25 (UTC)