From the thesis abstract: "China's economic reforms revealed the Chinese Communist Party's [CCP] search for a new basis for political legitimacy and authority. The PRC's [People's Republic of China] contemporary political bargain is best characterized as a tenuous balance between economic modernization and political repression. This dichotomous political bargain yields a fragile legitimacy, aspects of which activate to shape China's Mekong River policies. This paper examines the impact of the CCP's fragile legitimacy on two case studies involving China's Mekong River economic interests, involving (1) hydropower dams and (2) counter-narcotics enforcement. China's hydroelectric pursuits on the Mekong are predominantly shaped by the regime's economic growth mandate, concerns about domestic inequality, and demands to alleviate social costs arising from recent development. China's counternarcotics efforts on the Mekong River are also tied to economic considerations, but increasingly reflect the Party's efforts to enhance its nationalist and security credentials. China's Mekong River policies illustrate how the CCP's domestic motivations deserve greater weight in explaining the perception of China's increasing assertiveness."
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/index.aspx