Feature: China-Laos cooperation projects bring better life to Lao people, promote friendship

About 200 km southeast from the Lao capital Vientiane sits a busy hydropower plant construction site and this is the place where Khamla Mounmanivong, a local villager, sees hope for a better life.

The Nam Theun 1 Hydropower plant, invested by Lao and Thai sides, is contracted by the PowerChina Sinohydro Bureau 3 Co., LTD (Sinohydro 3), a Chinese engineering company.

Khamla, 31, has been working at the construction site with Sinohydro 3 for more than half a year. "It is a project that can promote the development of my hometown, and I want to contribute to it," he told Xinhua.

Khamla, the only son of his parents with five sisters, is a major bread earner of the family, and since being offered the opportunity to work with Sinohydro 3, his life has improved a lot.

"I am preparing to build my own new house, right next to my parents' house. This project provides local people with many job opportunities and at the same time promotes investment in infrastructure in Laos," he said.

In Laos' Borikhamxay Province, the construction of the 650-MW Nam Theun 1 Hydropower Plant on a tributary of the Mekong river is progressing smoothly.

Vanphen Vongnalin, head of the Nakheua Village where the power station is located, has experiences in auto repair and he now works as a maintenance man with Sinohydro 3.

"I am very happy to be a member of the company. The company has created income for Lao employees," he said, adding "you can also get in touch with new things at work and learn a lot of technology and equipment skills brought by the company."

More than 1,000 local villagers work at the construction site, according to the village head.

Hongshi cement factory, a Chinese-invested modern cement factory, is located some 100 km north of Vientiane and in a hilly area. The factory not only pays attention to eco-friendly technologies, but also makes efforts to help improve local people's life.

"We used to pay to cross the nearby river by boat to go to Vientiane. The Hongshi company built roads and bridges for us for free, bringing much convenience," said Hae Kongphaly, head of the village where the cement factory is located, while talking about changes in the village.

Noting that in the past, people in the village mainly engaged in farming and many of them lived in poverty, Hae Kongphaly said since the Hongshi cement plant was built in 2016, the villagers' incomes have been gradually increasing with active participation in the factory's construction.

"Life has been becoming better, and more new houses have been built, all because of the coming of the Hongshi," the village head said.

Ken Xaiyavong, 53, runs a gasoline station near the Hongshi cement plant, and he said, "The gas station was built when the Hongshi cement plant opened, and the business here is very good."

In the Lao capital Vientiane, China-aided Mahosot General Hospital is under construction by Chinese and Lao engineers, with a construction area of approximately 54,000 square meters.

The hospital will become the largest and most advanced hospital in the country upon completion, which includes the expansion of the existing Mahosot Hospital and the building of new medical facilities.

Asked about his work with Chinese colleagues, Tui Phonsavan, 37 and who hails from northern Laos' hilly Oudomxay Province, told reporters: "I can learn from the experience of Chinese experts and technicians and I am happy and satisfied."

"After completion, the Lao hospital's technical level will be greatly improved," he said, adding that promoting development through technical exchanges with China is great.

Khamla, working at the Nam Theun 1 hydropower plant construction site with his Chinese colleagues, is seeing his life getting better and better. He said that when the project is completed, "if the project company (Sinohydro 3) is willing to continue hiring me, I'll follow them." (by Zhang Jianhua, Phoutthaphone Sirivong, Chanthaphaphone Mixayboua)

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