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China vs. Laos

Introduction

ChinaLaos
Background

China's historical civilization dates from at least 1200 B.C.; from the 3rd century B.C. and for the next two millennia, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Chinese Communist Party under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO's successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically but political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.

Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century, when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997 and the WTO in 2013.

Geography

ChinaLaos
LocationEastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and VietnamSoutheastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates35 00 N, 105 00 E18 00 N, 105 00 E
Map referencesAsiaSoutheast Asia
Areatotal: 9,596,960 sq km

land: 9,326,410 sq km

water: 270,550 sq km
total: 236,800 sq km

land: 230,800 sq km

water: 6,000 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than the USabout twice the size of Pennsylvania; slightly larger than Utah
Land boundariestotal: 22,457 km

border countries (14): Afghanistan 91 km, Bhutan 477 km, Burma 2129 km, India 2659 km, Kazakhstan 1765 km, North Korea 1352 km, Kyrgyzstan 1063 km, Laos 475 km, Mongolia 4630 km, Nepal 1389 km, Pakistan 438 km, Russia (northeast) 4133 km and Russia (northwest) 46 km, Tajikistan 477 km, Vietnam 1297 km
total: 5,274 km

border countries (5): Burma 238 km, Cambodia 555 km, China 475 km, Thailand 1845 km, Vietnam 2161 km
Coastline14,500 km0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
none (landlocked)
Climateextremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in northtropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)
Terrainmostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in eastmostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
Elevation extremeshighest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,849 m

lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m

mean elevation: 1,840 m
highest point: Phu Bia 2,817 m

lowest point: Mekong River 70 m

mean elevation: 710 m
Natural resourcescoal, iron ore, helium, petroleum, natural gas, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, cadmium, ferrosilicon, gallium, germanium, hafnium, indium, lithium, mercury, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, antimony, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest), arable landtimber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones
Land useagricultural land: 54.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 22.3% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)
agricultural land: 10.6% (2018 est.)

arable land: 6.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.7% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 3.7% (2018 est.)

forest: 67.9% (2018 est.)

other: 21.5% (2018 est.)
Irrigated land690,070 sq km (2012)3,100 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards

frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence

volcanism: China contains some historically active volcanoes including Changbaishan (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu, or P'aektu-san), Hainan Dao, and Kunlun although most have been relatively inactive in recent centuries

floods, droughts
Environment - current issuesair pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; coastal destruction due to land reclamation, industrial development, and aquaculture; deforestation and habitat destruction; poor land management leads to soil erosion, landslides, floods, droughts, dust storms, and desertification; trade in endangered speciesunexploded ordnance; deforestation; soil erosion; loss of biodiversity; water pollution, most of the population does not have access to potable water
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notenote 1: world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US) and largest country situated entirely in Asia; Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak above sea level

note 2: the largest cave chamber in the world is the Miao Room, in the Gebihe cave system at China's Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park, which encloses some 10.78 million cu m (380.7 million cu ft) of volume

note 3: China appears to have been the center of domestication for two of the world's leading cereal crops: millet in the north along the Yellow River and rice in the south along the lower or middle Yangtze River
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
Total renewable water resources2,840,220,000,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)333.5 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)
Population distributionoverwhelming majority of the population is found in the eastern half of the country; the west, with its vast mountainous and desert areas, remains sparsely populated; though ranked first in the world in total population, overall density is less than that of many other countries in Asia and Europe; high population density is found along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, the Xi Jiang River delta, the Sichuan Basin (around Chengdu), in and around Beijing, and the industrial area around Shenyangmost densely populated area is in and around the capital city of Vientiane; large communities are primarily found along the Mekong River along the southwestern border; overall density is considered one of the lowest in Southeast Asia

Demographics

ChinaLaos
Population1,397,897,720 (July 2021 est.)7,574,356 (July 2021 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 17.29% (male 129,296,339/female 111,782,427)

15-24 years: 11.48% (male 86,129,841/female 73,876,148)

25-54 years: 46.81% (male 333,789,731/female 318,711,557)

55-64 years: 12.08% (male 84,827,645/female 83,557,507)

65 years and over: 12.34% (male 81,586,490/female 90,458,292) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 31.25% (male 1,177,297/female 1,149,727)

15-24 years: 20.6% (male 763,757/female 770,497)

25-54 years: 38.29% (male 1,407,823/female 1,443,774)

55-64 years: 5.73% (male 206,977/female 219,833)

65 years and over: 4.13% (male 139,665/female 168,046) (2020 est.)
Median agetotal: 38.4 years

male: 37.5 years

female: 39.4 years (2020 est.)
total: 24 years

male: 23.7 years

female: 24.4 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate0.26% (2021 est.)1.46% (2021 est.)
Birth rate11.3 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)22.74 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Death rate8.26 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)7.12 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Net migration rate-0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)-0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.11 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.16 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.17 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female

total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 11.15 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 11.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 10.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
total: 49.48 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 55.75 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 42.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 76.31 years

male: 74.23 years

female: 78.62 years (2021 est.)
total population: 66 years

male: 63.83 years

female: 68.26 years (2021 est.)
Total fertility rate1.6 children born/woman (2021 est.)2.57 children born/woman (2021 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rateNA0.3% (2020 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Chinese (singular and plural)

adjective: Chinese
noun: Lao(s) or Laotian(s)

adjective: Lao or Laotian
Ethnic groupsHan Chinese 91.6%, Zhuang 1.3%, other (includes Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai, and other nationalities) 7.1% (2010 est.)

note: the Chinese Government officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups
Lao 53.2%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 9.2%, Phouthay 3.4%, Tai 3.1%, Makong 2.5%, Katong 2.2%, Lue 2%, Akha 1.8%, other 11.6% (2015 est.)

note: the Laos Government officially recognizes 49 ethnic groups, but the total number of ethnic groups is estimated to be well over 200
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA15,000 (2020 est.)
Religionsfolk religion 21.9%, Buddhist 18.3%, Christian 5.2%, Muslim 2%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 51.8% (2020 est.)

note: officially atheist
Buddhist 64.7%, Christian 1.7%, none 31.4%, other/not stated 2.1% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deathsNA<500 (2020 est.)
LanguagesStandard Chinese or Mandarin (official; Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry); note - Zhuang is official in Guangxi Zhuang, Yue is official in Guangdong, Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uygur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)

major-language sample(s):
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The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages

major-language sample(s):
???????????????????????????????????” (Lao)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.8%

male: 98.5%

female: 95.2% (2018)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 84.7%

male: 90%

female: 79.4% (2015)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis

soil contact diseases: hantaviral hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS)

note: a new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in China; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; the US Department of State has issued a do not travel advisory for China due to COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended against travel to China and published additional guidance at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in China to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures; as of 19 July 2021, China has reported a total of 119,784 cases of COVID-19 or 8.14 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 0.38 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 10 June 2021, 43.21% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2015)
total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years (2019)
Education expendituresNA2.9% of GDP (2014)
Urbanizationurban population: 62.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau
urban population: 36.9% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 2.99% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved: urban: 97.7% of population

rural: 87.8% of population

total: 92.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.3% of population

rural: 12.2% of population

total: 7.2% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 94.4% of population

rural: 76.8% of population

total: 82.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.6% of population

rural: 23.2% of population

total: 17.9% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved: urban: 97.1% of population

rural: 82% of population

total: 90.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 18% of population

total: 9.3% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 98% of population

rural: 66.3% of population

total: 77.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 2% of population

rural: 33.7% of population

total: 22.8% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population27.796 million Shanghai, 20.897 million BEIJING (capital), 16.382 million Chongqing, 13.794 million Tianjin, 13.635 million Guangzhou, 12.592 million Shenzhen (2021)694,000 VIENTIANE (capital) (2021)
Maternal mortality rate29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)185 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight2.4% (2013)21.1% (2017)
Health expenditures5.4% (2018)2.3% (2018)
Physicians density1.98 physicians/1,000 population (2017)0.37 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density4.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)1.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate6.2% (2016)5.3% (2016)
Contraceptive prevalence rate84.5% (2017)54.1% (2017)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 42.2

youth dependency ratio: 25.2

elderly dependency ratio: 17

potential support ratio: 5.9 (2020 est.)

data do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan
total dependency ratio: 56.8

youth dependency ratio: 50.1

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 15 (2020 est.)

Government

ChinaLaos
Country nameconventional long form: People's Republic of China

conventional short form: China

local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo

local short form: Zhongguo

abbreviation: PRC

etymology: English name derives from the Qin (Chin) rulers of the 3rd century B.C., who comprised the first imperial dynasty of ancient China; the Chinese name Zhongguo translates as "Central Nation" or "Middle Kingdom"
conventional long form: Lao People's Democratic Republic

conventional short form: Laos

local long form: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao

local short form: Mueang Lao (unofficial)

etymology: name means "Land of the Lao [people]"
Government typecommunist party-led statecommunist state
Capitalname: Beijing

geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: China is the largest country (in terms of area) with just one time zone; before 1949 it was divided into five

etymology: the Chinese meaning is "Northern Capital"
name: Vientiane (Viangchan)

geographic coordinates: 17 58 N, 102 36 E

time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the meaning in Pali, a Buddhist liturgical language, is "city of sandalwood"
Administrative divisions

23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)

provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)

autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Xinjiang Uyghur, Xizang (Tibet)

municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin



note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau

17 provinces (khoueng, singular and plural) and 1 prefecture* (kampheng nakhon); Attapu, Bokeo, Bolikhamxai, Champasak, Houaphan, Khammouan, Louangnamtha, Louangphabang, Oudomxai, Phongsali, Salavan, Savannakhet, Viangchan (Vientiane)*, Viangchan, Xaignabouli, Xaisomboun, Xekong, Xiangkhouang
Independence1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)19 July 1949 (from France by the Franco-Lao General Convention); 22 October 1953 (Franco-Lao Treaty recognizes full independence)
National holidayNational Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949)Republic Day (National Day), 2 December (1975)
Constitutionhistory: several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982

amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or supported by more than one fifth of the National People’s Congress membership; passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the Congress membership; amended several times, last in 2018
history: previous 1947 (preindependence); latest promulgated 13-15 August 1991

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president of the republic; amended 2003, 2015
Legal systemcivil law influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; note - on 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress adopted the PRC Civil Code, which codifies personal relations and property relationscivil law system similar in form to the French system
Suffrage18 years of age; universal18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018)

head of government: Premier LI Keqiang (since 16 March 2013); Executive Vice Premiers HAN Zheng (since 19 March 2018), SUN Chunlan (since 19 March 2018), LIU He (since 19 March 2018), HU Chunhua (since 19 March 2018)

cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 17 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress

election results: XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,970 (unanimously); WANG Qishan elected vice president with 2,969 votes
chief of state: President THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 22 March 2021); Vice President PANI Yathotou; Vice President BOUNTHONG Chitmani (since 22 March 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister PHANKHAM Viphavan (since 22 March 2021); Deputy Prime Ministers CHANSAMON Chan-gnalat, SONXAI Siphandon, KIKEO Khaikhamphithoun (since 22 March 2021)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the National Assembly

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 22 March 2021; prime minister nominated by the president, elected by the National Assembly for 5-year term

election results: THONGLOUN Sisoulit (LPRP) elected president; National Assembly vote: 161-1; PANI Yathotou and BOUNTHONG Chitmani (LPRP) elected vice presidents; National Assembly vote NA; PHANKHAM Viphavan (LPRP) elected prime minister; National Assembly vote: 158-3
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (maximum of 3,000 seats; members indirectly elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and the People's Liberation Army; members serve 5-year terms); note - in practice, only members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its 8 allied independent parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected

elections: last held in December 2017-February 2018 (next to be held in late 2022 to early 2023)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 2,238, women 742, percent of women 24.9%
description: unicameral National Assembly or Sapha Heng Xat (164 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote from candidate lists provided by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 21 February 2021 (next to be held in 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LPRP 158, independent 6; composition - men 128, women 36, percent of women 21.9%
Judicial branchhighest courts: Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges, including the chief justice and 13 grand justices organized into a civil committee and tribunals for civil, economic, administrative, complaint and appeal, and communication and transportation cases)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the People's National Congress (NPC); limited to 2 consecutive 5-year-terms; other justices and judges nominated by the chief justice and appointed by the Standing Committee of the NPC; term of other justices and judges determined by the NPC

subordinate courts: Higher People's Courts; Intermediate People's Courts; District and County People's Courts; Autonomous Region People's Courts; International Commercial Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues

note: in late 2014, China unveiled a multi-year judicial reform program; progress continued in 2018
highest courts: People's Supreme Court (consists of the court president and organized into criminal, civil, administrative, commercial, family, and juvenile chambers, each with a vice president and several judges)

judge selection and term of office: president of People's Supreme Court appointed by the National Assembly upon the recommendation of the president of the republic for a 5-year term; vice presidents of the People's Supreme Court appointed by the president of the republic upon the recommendation of the National Assembly; appointment of chamber judges NA; tenure of court vice presidents and chamber judges NA

subordinate courts: appellate courts; provincial, municipal, district, and military courts
Political parties and leadersChinese Communist Party or CCP [XI Jinping]

note: China has 8 nominally independent small parties controlled by the CCP
Lao People's Revolutionary Party or LPRP [BOUNNYANG Vorachit]; Prime Minister THONGLOUN Sisoulit elected general secretary in mid-January 2021

note: other parties proscribed
International organization participationADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, CDB, CICA, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-5, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZCADB, ARF, ASEAN, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (subscriber), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador QIN Gangas (since 29 July 2021)

chancery: 3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 495-2266

FAX: [1] (202) 495-2138

email address and website:
chinaemppress_us@mfa.gov.cn

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco; note - the US ordered closure of the Houston consulate in late July 2020
chief of mission: Ambassador KHAMPHAN Anlavan (since 21 July 2019)

chancery: 2222 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 328-9148; [1] (202) 332-6416

FAX: [1] (202) 332-4923

email address and website:
embasslao@gmail.com; laoemb@verizon.net

https://laoembassy.com/

consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d’Affaires David MEALE (since July 2021)

embassy: 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600

mailing address: 7300 Beijing Place, Washington DC  20521-7300

telephone: [86] (10) 8531-3000

FAX: [86] (10) 8531-4200

email address and website:
BeijingACS@state.gov

https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/

consulate(s) general: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan; note - the Chinese Government ordered closure of the US consulate in Chengdu in late July 2020
chief of mission: Ambassador Peter HAYMOND (since 7 February 2020)

embassy: Ban Somvang Tai, Thadeua Road, Km 9, Hatsayfong District, Vientiane

mailing address: 4350 Vientiane Place, Washington DC  20521-4350

telephone: [856] 21-48-7000

FAX: [856] 21-48-7040

email address and website:
CONSLAO@state.gov

https://la.usembassy.gov/
Flag descriptionred with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner; the color red represents revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of Chinathree horizontal bands of red (top), blue (double width), and red with a large white disk centered in the blue band; the red bands recall the blood shed for liberation; the blue band represents the Mekong River and prosperity; the white disk symbolizes the full moon against the Mekong River, but also signifies the unity of the people under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, as well as the country's bright future
National anthemname: "Yiyongjun Jinxingqu" (The March of the Volunteers)

lyrics/music: TIAN Han/NIE Er

note: adopted 1949; the anthem, though banned during the Cultural Revolution, is more commonly known as "Zhongguo Guoge" (Chinese National Song); it was originally the theme song to the 1935 Chinese movie, "Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm"
name: "Pheng Xat Lao" (Hymn of the Lao People)

lyrics/music: SISANA Sisane/THONGDY Sounthonevichit

note: music adopted 1945, lyrics adopted 1975; the anthem's lyrics were changed following the 1975 Communist revolution that overthrew the monarchy
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCthas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
National symbol(s)dragon, giant panda; national colors: red, yellowelephant; national colors: red, white, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen of China

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: while naturalization is theoretically possible, in practical terms it is extremely difficult; residency is required but not specified
citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Laos

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

ChinaLaos
Economy - overview

Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phaseout of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

In July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing announced it would resume a gradual appreciation. From 2013 until early 2015, the renminbi held steady against the dollar, but it depreciated 13% from mid-2015 until end-2016 amid strong capital outflows; in 2017 the RMB resumed appreciating against the dollar – roughly 7% from end-of-2016 to end-of-2017. In 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced it would continue to carefully push for full convertibility of the renminbi, after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF’s special drawing rights basket. However, since late 2015 the Chinese Government has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability.

The Chinese Government faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) managing its high corporate debt burden to maintain financial stability; (c) controlling off-balance sheet local government debt used to finance infrastructure stimulus; (d) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (e) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector without sharply slowing the economy; (f) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (g) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital and state-support for innovation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2016 more than 169.3 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of China’s population control policy known as the "one-child policy" - which was relaxed in 2016 to permit all families to have two children - is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and urbanization. The Chinese Government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on natural gas, nuclear, and clean energy development. In 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement to combat climate change, and committed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030.

The government's 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, emphasizes the need to increase innovation and boost domestic consumption to make the economy less dependent on government investment, exports, and heavy industry. However, China has made more progress on subsidizing innovation than rebalancing the economy. Beijing has committed to giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but the Chinese Government’s policies continue to favor state-owned enterprises and emphasize stability. Chinese leaders in 2010 pledged to double China’s GDP by 2020, and the 13th Five Year Plan includes annual economic growth targets of at least 6.5% through 2020 to achieve that goal. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors considered important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive industries. Chinese leaders also have undermined some market-oriented reforms by reaffirming the "dominant" role of the state in the economy, a stance that threatens to discourage private initiative and make the economy less efficient over time. The slight acceleration in economic growth in 2017—the first such uptick since 2010—gives Beijing more latitude to pursue its economic reforms, focusing on financial sector deleveraging and its Supply-Side Structural Reform agenda, first announced in late 2015.

The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. Economic growth averaged more than 6% per year in the period 1988-2008, and Laos' growth has more recently been amongst the fastest in Asia, averaging more than 7% per year for most of the last decade.

Nevertheless, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has a basic, but improving, road system, and limited external and internal land-line telecommunications. Electricity is available to 83% of the population. Agriculture, dominated by rice cultivation in lowland areas, accounts for about 20% of GDP and 73% of total employment. Recently, the country has faced a persistent current account deficit, falling foreign currency reserves, and growing public debt.

Laos' economy is heavily dependent on capital-intensive natural resource exports. The economy has benefited from high-profile foreign direct investment in hydropower dams along the Mekong River, copper and gold mining, logging, and construction, although some projects in these industries have drawn criticism for their environmental impacts.

Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US in 2004 and applied for Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits in 2013 after being admitted to the World Trade Organization earlier in the year. Laos held the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2016. Laos is in the process of implementing a value-added tax system. The government appears committed to raising the country's profile among foreign investors and has developed special economic zones replete with generous tax incentives, but a limited labor pool, a small domestic market, and corruption remain impediments to investment. Laos also has ongoing problems with the business environment, including onerous registration requirements, a gap between legislation and implementation, and unclear or conflicting regulations.

GDP (purchasing power parity)$22,526,502,000,000 (2019 est.)

$21,229,363,000,000 (2018 est.)

$19,887,033,000,000 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$56.11 billion (2019 est.)

$53.616 billion (2018 est.)

$50.463 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate6.14% (2019 est.)

6.75% (2018 est.)

6.92% (2017 est.)
6.9% (2017 est.)

7% (2016 est.)

7.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$16,117 (2019 est.)

$15,243 (2018 est.)

$14,344 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars
$7,826 (2019 est.)

$7,593 (2018 est.)

$7,258 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 7.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.5% (2017 est.)

services: 51.6% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 20.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 33.2% (2017 est.)

services: 45.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line0.6% (2019 est.)18.3% (2018 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 31.4% (2012)

note: data are for urban households only
lowest 10%: 3.3%

highest 10%: 30.3% (2008)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.8% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

1.5% (2017 est.)
0.8% (2017 est.)

1.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force774.71 million (2019 est.)

note: by the end of 2012, China's working age population (15-64 years) was 1.004 billion
3.582 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 27.7%

industry: 28.8%

services: 43.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 73.1%

industry: 6.1%

services: 20.6% (2012 est.)
Unemployment rate3.64% (2019 est.)

3.84% (2018 est.)

note: data are for registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants
0.7% (2017 est.)

0.7% (2016 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index38.5 (2016 est.)

46.2 (2015 est.)
36.4 (2012 est.)

34.6 (2002)
Budgetrevenues: 2.553 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.008 trillion (2017 est.)
revenues: 3.099 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.038 billion (2017 est.)
Industriesworld leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizer; consumer products (including footwear, toys, and electronics); food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, railcars and locomotives, ships, aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellitesmining (copper, tin, gold, gypsum); timber, electric power, agricultural processing, rubber, construction, garments, cement, tourism
Industrial production growth rate6.1% (2017 est.)8% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - productsmaize, rice, vegetables, wheat, sugar cane, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, sweet potatoesrice, roots/tubers nes, cassava, sugar cane, vegetables, bananas, maize, watermelons, coffee, taro
Exports$2.49 trillion (2018)

$2.216 trillion (2017 est.)

$1.99 trillion (2016 est.)
$3.654 billion (2017 est.)

$2.705 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesbroadcasting equipment, computers, integrated circuits, office machinery and parts, telephones (2019)electricity, copper, rubber, gold, flavored water (2019)
Exports - partnersUnited States 17%, Hong Kong 10%, Japan 6% (2019)Thailand 36%, China 28%, Vietnam 16% (2019)
Imports$2.14 trillion (2018)

$1.74 trillion (2017 est.)

$1.501 trillion (2016 est.)
$4.976 billion (2017 est.)

$4.739 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiescrude petroleum, integrated circuits, iron, natural gas, cars, gold (2019)refined petroleum, cars, cattle, iron structures, steel products (2019)
Imports - partnersSouth Korea 9%, Japan 8%, Australia 7%, Germany 7%, US 7%, Taiwan 6% (2019)Thailand 53%, China 26%, Vietnam 10% (2019)
Debt - external$2,027,950,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,935,206,000,000 (2018 est.)
$14.9 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$12.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesRenminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -

6.5374 (2020 est.)

7.0403 (2019 est.)

6.8798 (2018 est.)

6.1434 (2014 est.)

6.1958 (2013 est.)
kips (LAK) per US dollar -

8,231.1 (2017 est.)

8,129.1 (2016 est.)

8,129.1 (2015 est.)

8,147.9 (2014 est.)

8,049 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year1 October - 30 September
Public debt47% of GDP (2017 est.)

44.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover both central and local government debt, including debt officially recognized by China's National Audit Office report in 2011; data exclude policy bank bonds, Ministry of Railway debt, and China Asset Management Company debt
63.6% of GDP (2017 est.)

58.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$3.236 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)

$3.098 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.27 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$940.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance$141.335 billion (2019 est.)

$25.499 billion (2018 est.)
-$2.057 billion (2017 est.)

-$2.07 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$14,327,359,000,000 (2019 est.)

note: because China's exchange rate is determined by fiat rather than by market forces, the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China's output; GDP at the official exchange rate substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China's situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries
$16.97 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues21.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)18.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)-5.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 39.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 42.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 20.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -18.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 63.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 30.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 3.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 34.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -43.2% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving44.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

44.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

45% of GDP (2017 est.)
22.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

21.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

15.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

ChinaLaos
Electricity - production5.883 trillion kWh (2016 est.)29.74 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption5.564 trillion kWh (2016 est.)5.471 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports18.91 billion kWh (2016 est.)8.469 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports6.185 billion kWh (2016 est.)2.5 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production3.773 million bbl/day (2018 est.)0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports6.71 million bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports57,310 bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves25.63 billion bbl (1 January 2018 est.)0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves5.44 trillion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production145.9 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption238.6 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports3.37 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports97.63 billion cu m (2017 est.)0 cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity1.653 billion kW (2016 est.)6.94 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels62% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)28% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)72% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels2% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources18% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production11.51 million bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption12.47 million bbl/day (2016 est.)18,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports848,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports1.16 million bbl/day (2015 est.)17,460 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2020)electrification - total population: 95% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 98% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 93% (2019)

Telecommunications

ChinaLaos
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 191.033 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13.75 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 1,490,831

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20.28 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal subscriptions: 1,746,238,000

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125.66 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 4,362,183

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 59.33 (2019 est.)
Internet country code.cn.la
Internet userstotal: 751,886,119

percent of population: 54.3% (July 2018 est.)
total: 1,845,437

percent of population: 25.51% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systemsgeneral assessment: China has the largest Internet market in the world with almost all subscribers accessing Internet through mobile devices; market is driven through government-allied investment; fast-developing data center market; government aims to provide universal and affordable broadband coverage through market competition and private investment in state-controlled enterprises; 3G and LTE subscribers will migrate to 5G aiming for 1M 5G base stations; government strengthens IoT policies to boost economic growth; China is pushing development of smart cities beyond Beijing; Beijing residents carry virtual card integrating identity, social security, health, and education documents; government controls gateways to global Internet through censorship, surveillance, and shut-downs; major exporter of broadcasting equipment world-wide (2021) (2020)

domestic: 13 per 100 fixed line and 120 per 100 mobile-cellular; a domestic satellite system with several earth stations has been in place since 2018 (2019)

international: country code - 86; landing points for the RJCN, EAC-C2C, TPE, APCN-2, APG, NCP, TEA, SeaMeWe-3, SJC2, Taiwan Strait Express-1, AAE-1, APCN-2, AAG, FEA, FLAG and TSE submarine cables providing connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean; 1 Intersputnik - Indian Ocean region; and 1 Inmarsat - Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments
general assessment:

reliance on radio network to communicate with remote areas; regulatory reform is below industry standards; government aims to strengthen infrastructure and attract foreign investment; low fixed-broadband penetration; dominance in mobile broadband with 4G and LTE, but low compared to other Asian markets; ASEAN Digital Hub investment provides international capacity; state owns almost all media, except for some entertainment outlets, and has suppressed some news; importer of broadcasting equipment and computers from China; providers examining m-payment platforms and 5G tests (2021)

(2020)

domestic: fixed-line 21 per 100 and 61 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)

international: country code - 856; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and a second to be developed by China

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadband - fixed subscriptionstotal: 449.279 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 32.33 (2019 est.)
total: 45,379

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)
Broadcast mediaall broadcast media are owned by, or affiliated with, the Communist Party of China or a government agency; no privately owned TV or radio stations; state-run Chinese Central TV, provincial, and municipal stations offer more than 2,000 channels; the Central Propaganda Department sends directives to all domestic media outlets to guide its reporting with the government maintaining authority to approve all programming; foreign-made TV programs must be approved prior to broadcast; increasingly, Chinese turn to online and satellite television to access Chinese and international films and television shows (2019)6 TV stations operating out of Vientiane - 3 government-operated and the others commercial; 17 provincial stations operating with nearly all programming relayed via satellite from the government-operated stations in Vientiane; Chinese and Vietnamese programming relayed via satellite from Lao National TV; broadcasts available from stations in Thailand and Vietnam in border areas; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems provide access to a wide range of foreign stations; state-controlled radio with state-operated Lao National Radio (LNR) broadcasting on 5 frequencies - 1 AM, 1 SW, and 3 FM; LNR's AM and FM programs are relayed via satellite constituting a large part of the programming schedules of the provincial radio stations; Thai radio broadcasts available in border areas and transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are also accessible

Transportation

ChinaLaos
Roadwaystotal: 4,960,600 km (2017)

paved: 4,338,600 km (includes 136,500 km of expressways) (2017)

unpaved: 622,000 km (2017)
total: 39,586 km (2009)

paved: 5,415 km (2009)

unpaved: 34,171 km (2009)
Waterways110,000 km (navigable waterways) (2011)4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2012)
Pipelines76000 km gas, 30400 km crude oil, 27700 km refined petroleum products, 797000 km water (2018)540 km refined products (2013)
Merchant marinetotal: 6,197

by type: bulk carrier 1,515, container ship 322, general cargo 862, oil tanker 968, other 2,530 (2020)
total: 1

by type: general cargo 1 (2020)
Airportstotal: 507 (2013)total: 41 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 510 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 87

2,438 to 3,047 m: 187

1,524 to 2,437 m: 109

914 to 1,523 m: 43

under 914 m: 84
total: 8 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 23 (2019)

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 0

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 13
total: 33 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2013)

under 914 m: 22 (2013)
National air transport systemnumber of registered air carriers: 56 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2,890

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 436,183,969 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 611,439,830 mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,251,961 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1.53 million mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixBRDPL

Military

ChinaLaos
Military branchesPeople's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (PLAN, includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), and Strategic Support Force (information warfare, cyber, space forces); People's Armed Police (PAP, includes Coast Guard, Border Defense Force, Internal Security Forces); PLA Reserve Force (2021)

note(s): the PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and charged with internal security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and maritime rights protection

in 2018, the Coast Guard was moved from the State Oceanic Administration to the PAP; in 2013, China merged four of its five major maritime law enforcement agencies – the China Marine Surveillance (CMS), Maritime Police, Fishery Law Enforcement (FLE), and Anti-Smuggling Police – into a unified coast guard
Lao People's Armed Forces (LPAF): Lao People's Army (LPA, includes Riverine Force), Air Force, Self-Defense Militia Forces (2021)
Military service age and obligation18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2019)18 years of age for compulsory or voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - minimum 18 months (2019)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.9% of GDP (2019)

1.9% of GDP (2018)

1.9% of GDP (2017)

1.9% of GDP (2016)
0.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

0.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

0.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

0.2% of GDP (2014 est.)

0.2% of GDP (2013 est.)

Transnational Issues

ChinaLaos
Disputes - international

China and India continue their security and foreign policy dialogue started in 2005 related to a number of boundary disputes across the 2,000 mile shared border; India does not recognize Pakistan's 1964 ceding to China of the Aksai Chin, a territory designated as part of the princely state of Kashmir by the British Survey of India in 1865; China claims most of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh to the base of the Himalayas, but the US recognizes the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory; Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China's Chumbi salient; Chinese maps show an international boundary symbol (the so-called “nine-dash line”) off the coasts of the littoral states of the South China Sea, where China has interrupted Vietnamese hydrocarbon exploration; China asserts sovereignty over Scarborough Reef along with the Philippines and Taiwan, and over the Spratly Islands together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei; the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea eased tensions in the Spratlys, and in 2017 China and ASEAN began confidential negotiations for an updated Code of Conduct for the South China Sea designed not to settle territorial disputes but establish rules and norms in the region; this still is not the legally binding code of conduct sought by some parties; Vietnam and China continue to expand construction of facilities in the Spratlys and in early 2018 China began deploying advanced military systems to disputed Spratly outposts; China occupies some of the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan; certain islands in the Yalu and Tumen Rivers are in dispute with North Korea; North Korea and China seek to stem illegal migration to China by North Koreans, fleeing privation and oppression; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with their 2004 Agreement; China and Tajikistan have begun demarcating the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; the decade-long demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary was completed in 2009; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, China has reconsidered construction of 13 dams on the Salween River, but energy-starved Burma, with backing from Thailand, continues to consider building five hydro-electric dams downstream despite regional and international protests

southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Thailand but disputes remain over islands in the Mekong River; Cambodia and Laos have a longstanding border demarcation dispute; concern among Mekong River Commission members that China's construction of eight dams on the Upper Mekong River and construction of more dams on its tributaries will affect water levels, sediment flows, and fisheries; Cambodia and Vietnam are concerned about Laos' extensive plans for upstream dam construction for the same reasons

Illicit drugsmajor transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia; growing domestic consumption of synthetic drugs, and heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia; source country for methamphetamine and heroin chemical precursors, despite new regulations on its large chemical industry; more people believed to be convicted and executed for drug offences than anywhere else in the world, according to NGOsestimated opium poppy cultivation in 2015 was estimated to be 5,700 hectares, compared with 6,200 hectares in 2014; estimated potential production of between 84 and 176 mt of raw opium; unsubstantiated reports of domestic methamphetamine production; growing domestic methamphetamine problem
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in China and Chinese people abroad; Chinese men, women, and children are victims of forced labor and sex trafficking in at least 60 countries; traffickers also use China as a transit point to subject foreign individuals to trafficking in other countries throughout Asia and in international maritime industries; state-sponsored forced labor is intensifying under the government’s mass detention and political indoctrination campaign against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; well-organized criminal syndicates and local gangs subject Chinese women and girls to sex trafficking within China; women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and several countries in Africa experience forced labor in domestic service, forced concubinism leading to forced childbearing, and sex trafficking via forced and fraudulent marriage to Chinese men; African and Asian men reportedly experience conditions indicative of forced labor aboard Chinese-flagged fishing vessels; many North Korean refugees and asylum-seekers living in China illegally are particularly vulnerable to trafficking

tier rating: Tier 3 — China does not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government prosecuted and convicted some traffickers and continued to cooperate with international authorities to address forced and fraudulent marriages in China; however, there was a government policy or pattern of widespread forced labor, including the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of law enforcement officials allegedly complicit despite continued reports of officials benefiting from, permitting, or directly facilitating sex trafficking; authorities did not report identifying any trafficking victims or referring them to protective services; it is likely that law enforcement arrested and detained unidentified trafficking victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit; for the third consecutive year, the government did not report the extent to which it funded anti-trafficking activities in furtherance of the 2013-2020 National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking (2020)
current situation: Laos is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; Lao economic migrants may encounter conditions of forced labor or sexual exploitation in destination countries, most often Thailand; Lao women and girls are exploited in Thailand’s commercial sex trade, domestic service, factories, and agriculture; a small, possibly growing, number of Lao women and girls are sold as brides in China and South Korea and subsequently sex trafficked; Lao men and boys are victims of forced labor in the Thai fishing, construction, and agriculture industries; some Lao children, as well as Vietnamese and Chinese women and girls, are subjected to sex trafficking in Laos; other Vietnamese and Chinese, and possibly Burmese, adults and girls transit Laos for sexual and labor exploitation in neighboring countries, particularly Thailand

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Laos does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; authorities sustained moderate efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict trafficking offenders; the government failed to make progress in proactively identifying victims exploited within the country or among those deported from abroad; the government continues to rely almost entirely on local and international organizations to provide and fund services to trafficking victims; although Lao men and boys are trafficked, most protective services are only available to women and girls, and long-term support is lacking; modest prevention efforts include the promotion of anti-trafficking awareness on state-controlled media (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook