Lao authorities have released a villager held since 2017 for protesting the loss of land awarded by the government to a Vietnamese rubber company, but 11 others remain in detention, with another reported to have died in custody last year.
A civil society organization in Laos has called on the government to proceed with its case against ten villagers jailed for more than a year over a land dispute in a transparent manner and demanded an update on their health conditions in prison.
Lao villagers being refused compensation by Vietnam-owned rubber company, which says the land belongs not to the villagers but to the state. The villagers signed agreement on 2009 to leased their land under promise they'll secured work and profit sharing with the company, but haven't received anything until now.
Companies acquired concessions amounting to the size of a small European country, while rural residents of Southeast Asia’s Mekong region saw their landholdings shrink or disappear over the past two decades
China’s agricultural investment abroad grew more than tenfold in less than a decade and parallels its emergence as a major importer of agricultural commodities. But the focus of investments are shifting from farming and raw materials to business acquisition.
Laos government has authorised a Chinese firm to carry out a feasibility study in southern Laos, with a view to turning it into top agri-business and agri-tourism destination. Deputy Governor of Champassak province said the Chinese firm also intended to grow organic crops for export to China.
Laos and other countries located along the Mekong River will assess the
challenges of large-scale agricultural investments to find better solutions
for sustainable development and boost economic growth in the region.
The official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Laos will boost the business ties between the two nations. Agriculture is one of the main sectors targeted by Chinese investors in the neighboring country. Xi will visit the country from Monday to Tuesday.