Skip to main content

Guns And Debt On The Belt And Road

Part of the daily SupChina newsletter. Subscribe for free


Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative and hype about it keeps on growing — last week, the People’s Daily even tweeted that a new direct flight between the U.K. and Chengdu is launching, “boosted by China’s Belt and Road.”

But that does not mean that other Belt and Road projects are not real, even if they had already begun before Xi’s slogan team coined the B&R moniker. Here’s an update from a few regions and projects where the Belt and Road will be defined:


“Sri Lanka is shifting a naval base to a port built and controlled by China, it said on Monday, a move that will strengthen security at a harbor that foreign powers fear China could use for military purposes,” reports Reuters.

“The base currently in the tourist district of Galle will be moved 125 km (80 miles) east along Sri Lanka’s southern coast to Hambantota,” which is the multibillion-dollar port under a 99-year lease to China Merchants Port Holdings.Hambantota is perhaps the most advanced of the international projects that are now deemed Belt and Road. Naturally, it is not without controversy: For a brief history of Hambantota and Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka, see this SupChina Access page — we’ve opened the paywall so you don’t need to be a member to read it.“Concerns that China might use the port as a naval base” have been raised by the U.S., India, and Japan, according to “government and diplomatic sources” cited by Reuters in the article linked above.“No need to fear,” says Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. “Sri Lanka has already informed China that Hambantota port cannot be used for military purposes.”A New York Times investigation, published last week (paywall), revealed the hardline Chinese negotiation tactics that led to Sri Lanka taking on monumental amounts of debt, ending with the ceding of the port ownership to China. The Times also wrote that “intelligence sharing was an integral, if not public, part of the deal,” according to Sri Lanka’s former foreign secretary. Today, the Chinese foreign ministry dismissed the report as “fake news.”


If there is one Belt and Road-rebranded project more advanced than the port of Hambantota, it is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Crisis Group has published a comprehensive and detailed excellent report on CPEC Opportunities and Risks.

“Is China’s US$62 billion investment plan fuelling resentment in Pakistan?” That’s the headline of the South China Morning Post take on the Crisis Group report. The article pulls this quote from the original report: “Pakistan’s economy clearly needs reform to better serve its people, and many officials say CPEC will help in this regard. But as currently rolled out, the corridor risks aggravating political tension, widening social divides, and generating new sources of conflict in Pakistan.”


Chinese entities are investing in Bagamoyo, an Indian Ocean port in Tanzania, and China Digital Times has a roundup of related news titled China to increase military role in Africa.

In “Tanzania, where the state-run conglomerate China Merchants Holdings International is hoping to invest in the Bagamoyo mega port, China built a complex designed to train local armed forces earlier this year.”“At the first-ever China-Africa Defense and Security Forum in Beijing on Tuesday,” China announced that it would give “comprehensive support” to African countries to help combat piracy and terrorism, including “technologies, equipment, personnel and strategic advice.”“China has extended its position as Kenya’s biggest lender, with the Sh534 billion [$5.3 billion] it had disbursed in loans by the end of March raising its share of Kenya’s bilateral debt to 72 percent,” reports Kenya’s Business Daily.


Xi Jinping first proposed the Belt and Road as the “Silk Road Economic Belt with Central Asian Countries” during a visit to Kazakhstan in 2013. But that does not seem to have spared ethnic Kazakhs who are Chinese citizens, and even citizens of Kazakhstan itself, from being swept into the gulags of Xinjiang. In May, Open Democracy reported:

After its continuing persecution of Uyghurs, the Chinese authorities have now turned their attention to ethnic Kazakhs living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China. There are few details available, but Radio Free Asia has reported that up to 500 Kazakhs can be arrested in a week and that several tens of thousands of families have had their homes searched. Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has, however, taken very little interest in both Kazakh citizens and Chinese Kazakhs…

…Now the Kazakh government finds itself in a predicament: its inaction is drawing criticism from both its own citizens and repatriates, while it is significantly financially dependent on Chinese investments and loans


Popular posts from this blog

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

CPEC Jobs in Pakistan, salary details

JOBS...نوکریاں چائنہ کمپنی میںPlease help the deserving persons...Salary:Salary package in China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in these 300,000 jobs shall be on daily wages. The details of the daily wages are as follows;Welder: Rs. 1,700 dailyHeavy Duty Driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyMason: Rs. 1,500 dailyHelper: Rs. 850 dailyElectrician: Rs. 1,700 dailySurveyor: Rs. 2,500 dailySecurity Guard: Rs. 1,600 dailyBulldozer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyConcrete mixer machine operator: Rs. 2,000 dailyRoller operator: Rs. 2,000 dailySteel fixer: Rs. 2,200 dailyIron Shuttering fixer: Rs. 1,800 dailyAccount clerk: Rs. 2,200 dailyCarpenter: Rs. 1,700 dailyLight duty driver: Rs. 1,700 dailyLabour: Rs. 900 dailyPara Engine mechanic: Rs. 1,700 dailyPipe fitter: Rs. 1,700 dailyStorekeeper: Rs. 1,700 dailyOffice boy: Rs. 1,200 dailyExcavator operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyShovel operator: Rs. 2,200 dailyComputer operator: Rs. 2,200 dailySecurity Supervisor: Rs. 2,200 dailyCook for Chinese food: Rs. 2,000 dailyCook…