Water-related conflicts have a long history and will continue to be a global and regional problem. Asia, with 1.5 billion of its people living in shared river basins, and with very few transboundary rivers governed by treaties, is especially prone to such conflicts. The key to mitigating transboundary water conflicts and advancing cooperation in Asia is largely in the hands of China, the upstream country for most of Asia’s major transboundary rivers. To avert the looming water crisis, apart from spending billions of dollars on domestic water transfer projects such as the South–North Water Diversion Megaproject, as well as on water conservancy and pollution abatement, China has sought to utilize the water resources of the major rivers that run across borders with neighbouring countries. On these transboundary rivers, China has built or plans to build large dams for hydroelectricity and major water diversion facilities, which has triggered anxiety and complaints from downstream countries and criticism from the international society.

This book aims to systematically examine the complex reality of water contestations between China and its neighbouring countries. It provides a discussion on transboundary hydropolitics beyond the state-centric geopolitical perspective to dig into various political, institutional, legal, historical, geographical, and demographic factors that affect China’s policies and practices towards transboundary water issues. This book also provides a collection of comparative case studies on China’s water resources management on the Mekong River with other five riparian states in the Lower Mekong region: the Salween River with Myanmar, the Brahmaputra River with India, the Amur River with Russia and Mongolia, the Illy and Irtysh Rivers with Kazakhstann, and the Yalu and Tumen Rivers with North Korea. Furthermore, this book sheds light on China’s future role in global water governance.

part I|88 pages

Key factors shaping China’s transboundary water policies and practices

chapter 1|22 pages

Thirsty China and its transboundary waters

ByZhang Hongzhou, Li Mingjiang

chapter 2|18 pages

Assessing China’s domestic hydropolitics

ByMoore Scott

chapter 3|29 pages

Transboundary river management in Southeast Asia

The role of Chinese dam-builders
ByUrban Frauke, Siciliano Giuseppina, Nordensvard Johan

chapter 4|17 pages

The evolution of China’s water diplomacy in the Lancang-Mekong River Basin

Motivation and policy choices
ByGuo Yanjun

part II|128 pages

Major transboundary rivers

chapter 5|27 pages

Transboundary cooperation on the Amur River Basin in recent decades

BySimonov Eugene, Egidarev Eugene

chapter 6|19 pages

Analysis on China-DPRK joint development in the Yalu River and Tumen River

From the perspective of China
ByLi Zhifei

chapter 8|20 pages

Conceptualizing Chinese engagement in Myanmar

An analysis of the Mong Ton and Hat Gyi Dam projects
ByJulian Kirchherr

chapter 9|20 pages

Building bridges through dialogue for the Brahmaputra River Basin

ByGulati Vishaka, Deka Arundhati, Fanaian Safa, Vij Sumit, Barua Anamika

chapter 10|20 pages

Sino-Kazakh transboundary water cooperation

History, current status, and future priorities
ByZhou Zhanggui, Wang Ruolin

part III|20 pages

China and global water governance

chapter 11|18 pages

China and global water governance

New developments
ByZhang Hongzhou, Li Mingjiang