Globalization with Chinese characteristics. Attacks against the Confucius Institute in Karachi, anti-Chinese slogans in the demonstrations in Colombo, or even very suspicious statements by the Bangladeshi political class, Asian states have recently shown caution and even hostility towards Chinese banks and companies that travel across the continent to showcase their projects.
for dams, ports, and other pharaonic infrastructures. If the Silk Roads have innervated the entire continent, they have also bled the finances of some States such as Sri Lanka, forced to cede the exploitation of its Hambantota port to a Chinese company to erase its debt or Laos, dispossessed of its dams. hydroelectric. .
These projects, financed for a long time without requirements for compliance with budgetary, political or environmental regulations, today fuel suspicions about Xi Jinping’s true intentions: in reality, a “win-win” partnership between countries of the “South”, these loans They would serve a Chinese debt. diplomacy, aimed at putting partner countries under supervision. A rhetoric widely spread by other international donors, led by the United States, determined to preserve their hegemony over the international financial order. Beyond this global competition, China’s assertion as the planet’s great financier permeates societies and shapes national political balances.
How did the New Silk Roads help make China the world’s largest creditor to developing countries? Is Beijing more interested in making its partners fall into this famous debt trap to put them under supervision or in seeing them prosper to boost its economy? And finally, what could be the political consequences for China’s image if it is designated as primarily responsible for the default of one of its partners?
Africa, another target of Beijing in its ambition to shape “Chinese-style” globalization, is also at the heart of the New Silk Roads. Although they benefit from massive investments, some states on the continent are trapped in the spiral of debt: this is demonstrated by the situation in Zambia, which has been in default since the autumn of 2020. To what extent is China, Lusaka’s privileged partner, responsible for this? financial crisis?
Nathalie Fau participated in this issue of Moussons magazine (2023) dedicated to the geopolitical repercussions of Chinese investments and loans
In December 2021, the inauguration ceremony of the Kunming/Vientiane train financed by China within the framework of the new Silk Roads was marked by an enthusiastic speech by Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, grateful to his counterpart Xi Jinping.
In 2016, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong welcomed the partnership between the two countries and highlighted loans and investments made by Beijing.
In August 2022, Sarath Weerasekara, Sri Lankan MP and former Minister of the Interior between November 2020 and April 2022 asks the Chinese partner to provide financial aid to his country (0’34” >>
In 2019, then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed explained the reason why Kuala Lumpur suspended the ECRL (train linking the east and west coasts of Malaysia) project implemented by China, which was finally resumed after negotiating the price requested by China and the South. China Morning Post – March 2019
Forest City, a 100 billion euro real estate project financed by China but whose homes have never found a buyer – NST TV (Malaysia) April 2023
A resident of the port region of Hambantota, in Sri Lanka, regrets the damage caused to elephants by the work. – RFI report: Sri Lanka: the “new Silk roads” – September 2023
In Zambia, political opponent Andyford Banda denounces the opacity of Chinese investments and the embezzlement that entails – France 24- Investigation in the heart of Chinafrique: Zambia, the new bosses – July 2021