China's New Silk Road Will Flop
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China's two-prong attempt to construct a new Silk Road. The first prong is the overland Silk Road Economic Belt. The other is the Maritime Silk Road. Both are being undertaken simultaneously and are said to one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever attempted by man. Here is a map showing the grand scope of the project.
The BRI is intended to be a vast network of railways, seaports, gas and oil pipelines, and highways built by Chinese companies and labor. China also wants construct up to fifty special economic zones along its Silk Path modeled after its own Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. Over a trillion dollars is expected to spent on these projects by 2027. So far, sixty countries have signed up for the BRI or have expressed an interest in joining it.
Most countries involved with the BRI are developing ones. They are looking for Chinese financing (loans) for infrastructure in the hopes of spurring their lagging economies. But China isn't just bottom fishing. It has carefully been targeting countries in South and Central Europe. In March of this year, Italy became the first developed country and G-7 member to join the BRI. This makes Italy the fourteenth European Union member state to ink an agreement with the Beijing.
The BRI is sold as a win-win economic plan. Critics, however, see it more a means for China to enhance its political clout, strengthen its military position, and provide markets upon which to dump its excess manufacturing capacity. Through the BRI, China hopes for nothing less than to remake the geopolitical balance of power and boldly assert itself throughout the world.
One has to wonder if the countries in the BRI have thought through the ramifications of what they're getting into. The most talked about concern is the 'debt trap.' Basically that's where China loans the money for infrastructure project, but the country on the receiving end cannot service the heavy debt. Then China either takes some real assets from the country or is granted diplomatic and/or military concessions in return. This is neo-colonialism with an Oriental spin. One example is when Beijing assumed control of Kenya's largest port over unpaid loans.
There's also another matter. Viewing China without rose-colored glasses, one sees that it's not merely an amoral country but an immoral one with no respect for human rights. Apart from things like China's one-child policy, enforced at times by forced abortions, here are four other examples to prove the point.
First is China's use of modern technology to monitor people and control their behavior. Here the Chinese authorities, with the help of high-tech U.S. firms, are constructing an Orwellian state that Josef Stalin would envy. As Business Insider writes:
China is setting up a vast surveillance system to track every single one of its 1.4 billion citizens -- from using facial recognition to name and shame jaywalkers, to forcing people to download apps that can access all the photos on their smart phones.
The growth of China's surveillance technology comes as the state rolls out an enormous 'social credit system' that ranks citizens on their behavior, and doles out rewards and punishments depending on their score.
Nothing of this scope has ever been contemplated before outside of the genre of science fiction. How long before China export that cancer beyond its borders?
Second, China today runs concentration camps where authorities have detained millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, other ethnic Turkic Muslims, Christians, and some foreign citizens. When called out on this by the U.S. State Department and in typical communist fashion, China dismissed these secret internment camps as 'boarding schools.'
Third is the matter of harvesting organs from political prisoners.
One particularly rich source of fresh organs for China's transplant industry in recent years have been members of Falun Gong, which was declared a heretical Buddhist sect in 1999 by then-party secretary Jiang Zemin. Hundreds of thousands -- perhaps millions -- of the group have been arrested and have disappeared into a vast network of secret prisons never to be seen again in one piece
Organ harvesting is a booming business in China where the Chinese have supply-side principles down cold. A medical tourist arrives with a need, an appropriate young political prisoner is selected, his execution then scheduled and carried out, and within hours a fresh organ -- be it a lung, heart, kidney or whatever -- is being installed in its new home.
Countries signing onto the BRI may rationalize China's inhumane behavior by saying those matters are internal to China and it doesn't pertain to them. That's short-sighted. If China treats its own people so inhumanely, imagine how it will deal with outsiders when the time is right. And note, the Han Chinese are racist. As Gordon Chang writes in American Greatness:
Chinese scholars support this notion of Chinese separateness with the 'Peking Man' theory of evolution, which holds the Chinese do not share a common African ancestors with the remainder of humankind. This theory of unique evolution of the Chinese has, not surprisingly, reinforced racist views.
As a result of racism, many in China, including officials, 'believe themselves to be categorically different and impliedly superior to the rest of mankind, writes Fei-Ling Wang, author of The China Order: Centralia, World Empire, and the Nature of Chinese Power.''
Fourth is trade. The Chinese communists have lied and cheated on every agreement they've signed. When they have done this consistently to a dominant power like the U.S., it doesn't take a great leap in logic to imagine how China will deal with weak, inferior countries.
China is offering sweeteners to countries desperate for loans to join the BRI. But the real song being played is: "Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly." Sooner or later the BRI participants will taste reality. Don't be surprised when one country after another starts reneging on its agreement with China as overhyped BRI infrastructure projects fail to deliver the promised benefits.
This won't happen immediately, but eventually it will. Human nature being what it is, the BRI cannot be sustained in the long run.