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MANDALAY, Myanmar – As China's shadow grows in Southeast Asia, residents of Myanmar's former royal capital are lamenting an influx of Chinese migrants.
They say Mandalay, once regarded as the nation's cultural core, is losing its traditions and character.
The makeover reflects a Chinese footprint across the region that has grown alongside Beijing's economic and military clout, and is expected to widen as China pushes forward with its One Belt, One Road initiative.
Propelled by Beijing's policy of encouraging Chinese enterprises to expand abroad as well as official Chinese government investment in its neighbors' infrastructure, the influx has sparked a measure of prosperity in some Southeast Asian regions. But along with it has come local resentment at perceived Chinese aggressiveness, cultural insensitivity and environmental damage.