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Maxine greets us from her small apartment, decorated with flowers and a poster of herself. “If you ask me whether I feel like this is Laos or China, I feel like I’m living in China. There are so many Chinese people here,” she says as she brushes her long hair. Maxine, whose real name is Tong Tha, moved from Bangkok to the Laotian town of Boten a few years ago.

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