China is investing a lot in the development of it’s surrounding countries and Cambodia is one of them. For reigning prime mister Hun Sen, China’s “no strings attached” aid in form of funding hydropower projects and roads, has helped war-torn Cambodia build a modern infrastructure, and diplomatic support from Beijing helps him fend off human rights criticism from the West. At the same time, however, many Cambodians are increasingly wondering if China’s footprint in their country isn’t getting too big.
Back in 2012 the government owned Chinese Development Bank funded a $255 million controversial hydropower project in the pristine Cardamom Mountains area. This 120-megawatt Stung Atay hydropower plant was opened in 2014 and flooded a large area of one of the last primary rainforests in Cambodia. In this photo series from 2017 it comes to documenting the fast changing people and environment around this development-orientated project.