The Mekong River begins in China's Tibetan Plateau and runs through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia before exiting in Vietnam's delta region. Hundreds of hydropower dams have been built up and down the river since 2010, and most of them are in China and Laos.
Critics say that China could threaten to intentionally hold back much of the river's water upstream, producing extreme droughts in Thailand and Vietnam, as a way of pressuring Bangkok and Hanoi to accept Beijing's geopolitical aims.
In late July, Chinese hackers allegedly stole data on the Mekong River from Cambodia's Foreign Ministry servers.
Increased funding from the U.S. and China-led initiatives to governments and institutions in the region has "contributed to greater public attention and debate on issues critical to the future of the Mekong River and its people."
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