At least 43 of the 53 countries supporting China’s new sweeping Hong Kong security law have made deals with the Chinese Communist Party under its global Belt and Road infrastructure project, according to analysis.
Last week, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council released dueling statements on the CCP’s measure, which Beijing’s National People’s Congress passed on June 30, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature.
According to Chinese state news media outlet Xinhua, Cuba led a group of 53 states that said that the new law guarantees a safe environment for Hong Kong’s residents to practice their rights. The United Kingdom and 26 other governments released their own statement criticizing the law, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said effectively ends Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Axios obtained a list of the countries on both lists, and determined that at least 43 of China’s 53 backers have partnered with the CCP on the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to pump trillions of dollars into countries for infrastructure projects to complete a “New Silk Road” by 2049.
CCP critics have warned that the Belt and Road Initiative allows for the CCP to create debt traps for its partners, and according to Axios some of China’s partners — especially in Africa — are attempting to renegotiate financing following hits from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“China is definitely using its economic power and its export credit agencies and its Belt and Road Initiative to increase the dependence of lesser-developed countries on China, especially in the Southern Hemisphere,” Representative Andy Barr (R., Ky.) — a member of the House Republican China Task Force — told National Review in a May interview. “Where you have countries like Mozambique and other sub-Saharan African countries, where the Chinese will come in and make major infrastructure investments and essentially buy off African countries to gain greater clout within international financial institutions.”