- It is noe believed that China Is Responsible for the Release of the Novel Coronavirus.
- The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is Another Highly Controversial Chinese Endeavor.
- The Initiative has Allowed China to Take Control of the Economies of Many Small Underdeveloped Nations.
All eyes are on China as it is now believed that the Novel Coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab. US officials are conducting a full scale investigation in China’s possible release and cover up of the virus that has brought the global economy to its knees.
Given this, I thought now a pertinent time to explore another controversial Chinese venture, the Belt and Road Initiative. On the surface the initiative, which aims to fund and oversee infrastructure projects in some of the world’s poorest countries, seems like a genuine commitment to improving the quality of life for many people around the world.
Though, when taking a more in depth look at China’s predatory practices relating to the initiative, it becomes clear that there’s nothing altruistic about it. China is targeting struggling nations, promising to build roads, bridges, and railroads, projects that would otherwise prove impossible for these countries. China gives out massive loans, supplying the necessary money, human capital, and resources for these projects, to countries who don’t have a chance at paying it back. China then seeks to use the countries’ accrued debts to coerce and manipulate them, resulting in a loss of the countries’ control over their economies and an effective loss of their sovereignty.
When Sri Lanka couldn’t pay back their loans, China seized control of their port. In exchange for China’s aid, Kenya agreed to adopt Chinese law and to give up their largest port if they aren’t able make their debt payments. In order to pay for a Chinese funded damn, Ecuador is now selling the majority of their oil, their most valuable asset, to China at a massive discount.
In many cases, the corrupt governments of the countries targeted by China were key in allowing China to usurp power and spread their influence. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had previously served as prime minister from 1981 to 2003, was recently reelected. Mahathir’s opponent was accused of embezzling money from the Chinese Belt and Road contracts. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of, bribing “senior leaders in countries, in exchange for infrastructure projects.” One state owned Chinese construction company, the China Communications Construction Company, has been accused of bribery across four countries. China is taking full advantage of a broken system, and the rest of the world is happy to let them do it.
There are White House officials who have echoed similar concerns regarding the Belt and Road Initiative. Vice President Mike Pence stated, in regards to the initiative, “We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt. We don’t coerce or compromise your independence. The United States deals openly, fairly. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way road,” and Secretary Pompeo has expressed concerns that if these events continue they could lead to a “Chinese Empire.” Despite these concerns the U.S. has done little to nothing in order to combat this growing threat.
When you think about it, it’s really quite incredible. China, without sending a single soldier or launching a single missile, has been able to strip away the sovereignty of many of the world’s most vulnerable nations. And we all watched them do it. Under the guise of humanitarian efforts and the promotion of global prosperity, China has spread its control and influence across countries and continents, all while we purchase their products and marvel at their transformation into an economic powerhouse.