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《经济学人》:一个中国-老挝边境经济特区如何走向衰落

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Busted flush
好景不再

How a Sino-Lao special economic zone hit the skids
一个中国——老挝边境经济特区如何走向衰落

May 26th 2011 | BOTEN, LAOS | from the print edition

AT HOME and abroad, China is a byword for fast-track development, where yesterday’s paddy field is tomorrow’s factory, highway or hotel. Less noticed is that such development can just as quickly go into reverse. Golden City, in Boten, just over the border from China in tiny Laos, is a case in point.

无论是在国内还是国外,中国都是超速发展的代名词。在那里,也许昨天还是一片稻田,而明天就发展成为工厂、高速公路或宾馆。然而很少有人会意识到,这种发展也可能会迅速走向萧条,位于中国老挝边境老挝一侧的磨丁黄金城经济特区就是这样。

When a Hong Kong-registered company signed a 30-year, renewable lease with the Lao government in 2003 to set up a 1,640-hectare special economic zone built with mainland money and expertise, Golden City was touted as a futuristic hub for trade and tourism. The builders promptly went to work, and a cluster of pastel blocks rose amid the green hills of northern Laos. Thousands of Chinese tourists and entrepreneurs poured into the enclave, drawn largely by the forbidden pleasures and profits of gambling, which is illegal in China, except in Macau. Today the main casino, inside a three-star hotel, lies abandoned, its baize tables thick with dust.

2003年,一家香港注册的公司同老挝政府签订了一份30年可续期的合约。合约规定利用中国大陆的资金和技术建立一个1640公顷的黄金城经济特区,并致力于把那里打造成一个未来的旅游商贸中心。建设者们立刻开始行动,许多漂亮的社区出现在老挝的崇山峻岭之间。除了澳门外,赌博业在中国是违法的,然而出于赌博所带来的快感和暴利的诱惑,成千上万的中国人开始涌入这块飞地——黄金城经济特区。现在特区最大的拥有一座三星级宾馆的赌场已经关张,赌桌上落了厚厚的灰尘。

The trouble started in December, when Chinese gamblers found that the operators refused to let them leave until they had coughed up for betting losses. Officials from Hubei province apparently negotiated the release of several “hostages”, but many more continued to be held against their will. Accounts in the Chinese media say that casino recruiters lured gamblers with offers of free travel and hotel rooms, only to be kept captive and beaten when their credit ran out. Lao villagers swap grisly tales of corpses dumped in the river.

去年12月开始出现麻烦。中国的赌客发现如果不能还清欠赌债,就别想离开赌场。尽管河北省政府已经解救了一些“人质”,但仍有很多人被继续扣押。据中国媒体报道,这些赌场的外联人通过免费机票和住宿引诱赌客,当他们输光所有的筹码后,就会被拘禁和毒打。老挝村民中一直流传着尸体被丢到河里的恐怖故事。

Chinese authorities have since put the boot into Boten. In March the foreign ministry warned citizens not to gamble in Laos and accused Golden City of cheating its cross-border customers. It said it had demanded that Laos close down the casino. Last month the casino duly shut, and the smaller gaming halls have since gone too. The 232-room hotel, which is almost empty, will be next.

中国政府已经开始关注磨丁问题。3月份,外交部警告中国公民不要去老挝赌博,谴责黄金城欺诈中国跨境消费者,同时提请老挝政府关闭赌场。上个月,赌场适时地关闭了,一些小的游戏厅也消失了,接下来轮到一个有232个房间的边关,那里现在已经空无一人。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
wholesome ['həulsəm]

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adj. 有益健康的,合乎卫生的,健全的

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hub [hʌb]

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n. 毂,木片,中心

 
squeeze [skwi:z]

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v. 压榨,挤压,塞进
n. 压榨,勒索,榨取

 
stride [straid]

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n. 步伐,一大步,大步走,进步
vt. 跨骑

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buck [bʌk]

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n. (美元)块钱 n. 钱,鹿皮,(鹿皮等)制物,小伙

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expertise [.ekspə:'ti:z]

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n. 专家的意见,专门技术

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publicity [pʌb'lisiti]

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n. 公众的注意,宣传,宣扬,宣传品,广告

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border ['bɔ:də]

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n. 边界,边境,边缘
vt. 与 ... 接

 
security [si'kju:riti]

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n. 安全,防护措施,保证,抵押,债券,证券

 
population [.pɔpju'leiʃən]

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n. 人口 ,(全体)居民,人数

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