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Myanmar’s response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has changed from cool disengagement under the Thein Sein government (2011–2016) to an increasingly warm embrace under the National League for Democracy (2016–). This article explains this development with reference to the changing nature of domestic authority relations, which conditions how Myanmar’s governments manage their asymmetric relations with China (as outlined in the special issue’s introduction). Thein Sein’s attempt to cultivate democratic authority in the wake of military rule entailed significant concessions to opponents of Chinese megaprojects in an effort to distinguish himself from previous military rulers. Aung San Suu Kyi’s unparalleled popularity and democratic legitimation required no such concessions and engendered greater confidence that the risks of Chinese megaprojects could be mitigated through stricter regulation and the renegotiation of contracts to secure greater local benefit.