Hlubiny čínské hydropolitiky: rozvoj vodní energetiky v povodí řeky Mekong
(Depths of China’s Hydropolitics: the Hydropower Development in the Mekong River Basin)
Politické vedy, Volume 21, Number 3/2018, pages 55-75
Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
GRÜNWALD, R. 2018. Hlubiny čínské hydropolitiky: rozvoj vodní energetiky v povodí řeky Mekong. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 21, No. 3, 2018. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 55-75. Available at: http://doi.org/10.24040/politickevedy.2018.21.3.55-75
The article analyses the involvement of China’s hydrocracy in Myanmar and Cambodia hydropower development. Although building and planning hydropower dams in foreign countries are usually associated with highly positive outcomes such as strenghtening mutual economic profits or effective regulation of shared waters, the hydropower sector may also simultaniously harm the local population and the local environments. The reality is however more complicated and usually reflects the willigness and capabilities of different levels of hydrocrats who are involved in water governance. Putting in the context of Mekong River Basin, the main aim of this paper is to show how China puts pressure on hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin and how China’s hydrocracy justified hydropower development in foreign. The research is derived from political ecology approach, previous hydropolitical studies and extensive interviews with local hydrocrats where hydropower dams are considered as a political instrument for easing water cooperation with Mekong River Basin states and for improving political image on the international level. The results show that not only supreme hydrocratic representatives, but also other levels of hydrocracy may highly influence the actual water governance. Author finds that despite growing critique on account of Chinese hydropower dams builded and operated in Myanmar and Cambodia, China’s hydrocracy involvement in hydropower development of the Mekong River Basin still brings more positives than negatives. Presented comparison can be also applied in other Mekong River Basin states where China’s hydrocracy involvement in hydropower development bring both opportunities and difficulties for hydrocrats.
Key words: hydrocracy, hydropolitics, Mekong Spirit, China, political ecology, Myanmar, Cambodia