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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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Most shop and restaurant owners have packed up and left, as have the Thai transvestite show and the legions of prostitutes. Stricter visa rules for Chinese tourists have added to the squeeze. A Lao policeman, who admits to having nothing to do, puts the town’s dwindling population at 2,000, down from 10,000 at its peak. The enclave’s economy seems to have collapsed just as the builders hit their stride with a new high-rise hotel and a shopping centre bristling with columns in the classical style.

很多商店餐馆的老板,甚至是人妖表演团和妓女都离开了这里,中国更加严格的签证管理更是雪上加霜。一个老挝警察说,他们什么都没做,但这里的流动人口还是从高峰时期的10000减少到了现在的2000。建设者原本想再新建一个高层的宾馆和一座有很多古典风格廊柱的购物中心,正当他们准备大干一场的时候,这块飞地的经济似乎突然要崩溃了。

Golden City says it has pumped $130m into the project’s first phase, including funds from outside investors. A company official, Ginger He, puts a brave face on things, arguing that the slump is a chance to rebrand the enclave as a wholesome tourist destination and import-export zone. She blames the bad publicity on shady Chinese concessionaires who ran the card games in the casino—as if the company had expected angels. Golden City has since declared force majeure to revoke its contracts. Investors might wish to sue under Lao law. But Miss He points out that China had ordered Laos to close the casino. “Little brother cannot fight with big brother,” she says

黄金城方面表示公司在该项目一期共投入130万美元,其中包括部分外部融资。一位公司负责人Ginger He对这次突变似乎很不以为然,并表示这是一次很好的机会,特区可以借此步入正轨,并重新将自己打造为一个旅游目的地和进出口贸易集散地。她把外界的负面报道都归罪于那些在赌场里代理经营纸牌项目的丑恶中国人——似乎公司原本一直认为他们是守法良民。黄金城宣布因为不可抗力解除合约,投资者准备依据老挝法律进行起诉,不过He小姐说,中国政府已经要求老挝关闭赌场,胳膊拧不过大腿啊。

At the best of times, cross-border casinos are risky investments, since China often cracks down on outbound gamblers. Warlords in Myanmar have previously felt the consequences, with gambling dens left to rot in the jungle after borders grew tighter. Business folk in Boten say the action may have moved to casinos elsewhere in Laos and Myanmar. A Macau-based company has recently completed a giant riverside casino in the so-called Golden Triangle, where Laos meets Thailand and Myanmar.

即便是在情况最好的时候,境外开设赌场也是高风险的投资,因为中国政府经常会打击出境的赌徒。缅甸军政府就尝过这样的苦果,随着中国边境吃紧,那里的赌场就在丛林里荒废了。磨丁的生意人说,现在的打击行动可能会使赌场转移到老挝或者缅甸的其他地方。一个总部在澳门的公司刚刚在老挝泰国和缅甸交界处建成了一座规模宏大的河景赌场——金三角。

But Golden City was supposed to represent more than just a fast buck. The developers persuaded Laos of the benefits of allowing a Chinese-run enclave. Its residents, they said, would “form a huge community and a modern society”, in the words of their brochure. The zone also took on some of the trappings of the Chinese state, including uniformed security guards, development slogans and even the Chinese currency. This gave the false impression that it enjoyed official backing. Instead, it became an irritant that Beijing had to put in its place.

但是黄金城并非只做一些投机的生意,开发商还向老挝政府许诺了许多建设一块中国人管理的飞地的好处,在他们的宣传册上,他们扬言要把当地建成一个庞大的社区和现代化的社会。他们还在开发区里应用了很多中国元素,例如保安的服装、开发的口号甚至使用中国货币。这些都给人们一种假象,他们背后有中国官方背景。这些也刺激了北京尽快平息这里的混乱。

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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