Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


East Asian Studies

First Advisor

Shawn Bender




While China’s “peaceful development” strategy has garnered both praise and criticism due to its implications for the international system, less attention has been given to China’s leverage of “peaceful development” in developing countries through offers of mutual growth and aid. There is a gap in the literature about the role that hydropower infrastructure plays in the context of Chinese foreign policy, despite the social and environmental damage that large infrastructure projects like dams often have on local communities as well as the impact on Chinese foreign relations with recipient countries. This paper examines the role of hydropower development as an instrument of Chinese foreign policy in Burma, analyzing to what extent likely environmental and social costs of the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River have damaged Burmese perceptions of Chinese investors and impacted Sino-Burmese relations.


Additional Reading

After graduating from Dickinson, Courtney Weatherby drew deeply on this thesis in writing a book chapter on Chinese investments in Myanmar published by the Academy of Political Science.

Scobell, Andrew, and Marylena Mantas. China's Great Leap Outward : Hard and Soft Dimensions of a Rising Power. New York: Academy of Political Science, 2014. Print.