Skip to main content


Showing posts from August 20, 2018

Urumqi “new city” construction is modernizing ancient silk road in China

By: Robert L. Wallack |  Issue #673  | Aug 20 2018 at 08:22 AM | A new city is emerging against the snow-capped Tian Shan mountain range in the capital city of Urumqi of the northwest region in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Flatbed trucks laden with steel beams and aluminum bars make deliveries to construction sites for new residential and office high-rise buildings. The State Council is behind transforming Urumqi to become a geostrategic transportation hub for the region and to revive routes to the west on the so-called ancient Silk Road. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and its capital city Urumqi are marked as the center of Asia and the farthest city in the world by 1,600 miles from a sea - Bay of Bengal (Guinness Book of World Records). The remoteness and lower economic growth than the PRC’s eastern regions are causing the national government to improve living conditions, transportation access and business potential for the 3.5 million city inhabitants with a new

China’s ‘Private Army’ prowls the ‘New Silk Road’

Security demands for multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road projects have led to the creation of independent paramilitary forces By  GORDON WATTS AUGUST 20, 2018 7:03 PM (UTC+8) 0 0 China's private security firms are expanding to cope with the Belt and Road Initiative. Photo: iStock   It has been described as China’s ‘Private Army.’ Fueled by growing demand from domestic companies involved in the multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, independent security groups are expanding in the country. In 2013, there were 4,000-registered firms, employing more than 4.3 million personnel. By 2017, the figure had jumped to 5,000 with staff numbers hovering around the five-million mark. Many of these operatives are former People’s Liberation Army veterans, who have been recruited by security companies closely linked  to ‘New Silk Road’  projects. “Like their Western counterparts, most Chinese PSCs employ former soldiers or former police officers, a fact that blurs the line between

Opinion: How the Belt and Road Initiative is changing Africa?

Wang Yiwei Editor’s Note :  Wang Yiwei is a Jean Monnet Chair professor at Renmin University of China. The article reflects the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN. I once asked my African friends two questions: first, why can't Africa bring in Western capital and technology like China did in its reform and opening-up to supplement various factors of economic development and realize modernization? Second, why can’t the integration of Africa’s former colonizers in Europe bring about the integration of Africa? I go on to point out that the cause of the above two problems is that African countries don’t have good connectivity with each other. If one word can sum up the function of the Belt and Road initiative, it is “interconnectivity ". Firstly, let’s see the issue of the mutual relationship between African countries. Since the Western colonization, African countries have had very little contact with each other. Most interactions happened between coloni

BRI Already connecting Africa

Already connecting Africa The African leg of the Belt and Road Initiative  is work in progress . China says it will hold ongoing discussions with various countries and make decisions based on consensus as well as the economic, social and political feasibility of individual projects. Some of the countries  poised to benefit most  include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Egypt. This will cement China’s role as Africa’s main trading partner, a space it’s occupied since overtaking the US in 2009. Between 2010 and 2015, China’s foreign direct investment on the continent  grew by 21.7%  – and it’s still rising. It’s important to point out that the Belt and Road Initiative will not be starting entirely from scratch. China has already provided significant help in improving connectivity and developing infrastructure in countries set to benefit from the initiative. For example, China supported the  Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway . It’s the first transboundary and longest electrified rai

China's Belt and Road Initiative and the Geopolitics of Infrastructure

By   Matthew Tallmer August 20, 2018 The book on the Belt and Road Initiative – a Chinese government plan to build infrastructure such as fiber optic cables, ports, railways, and highways along a 21st-century version of the historic Silk Road – was literally written nearly a decade ago. “The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and New Rules of War and Peace,”  a 2010 book by the late Lt. Col. Shannon Beebe, a West Point graduate who helped form AfriCom, the U.S Military Command for Africa, and Mary Kaldor, a professor and director of Center for the Study of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science, argued that the root causes of terrorism, armed and internal conflict were poverty, disease, health, inadequate sanitation and water supplies, discrimination and the effects of climate change. Beebe and Kaldor said that in order to achieve national and international security, Western nations needed to address and solve those problems.  (In the s

FOCAC a Major Platform for Belt and Road Cooperation

Published 2 days ago on August 19, 2018 By Zhou Pingjian The capital city of China is embracing Africa time soon. Early next month, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on ChinaAfrica Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held under the theme of China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation. President Xi Jinping is looking forward to participating in the Beijing summit with African leaders to discuss plans for the development of China-Africa cooperation so as to improve the well-being of the Chinese and African peoples and promote world peace and development. We Chinese appreciate the African wisdom, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” Indeed, similar historical experience, common development tasks and shared strategic interests have bound China and Africa together. China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. In today’s world, China-Africa relations have become more important with inc

Time will tell if the BRI's impact is as profound as the Marshall Plan's

Much of this worry stems from the fact that Chinese banks and corporations are the main creditors for BRI projects, so participating countries will incur significant debt to China. The theory that the BRI will lead to growth for participating economies only stands true if infrastructure is required, and provided the projects are financed efficiently. Over the longer term, perhaps 10 to 20 years out, if these countries are unable to service that debt, China's leverage over them could increase as the main creditor of BRI projects, and the benefit could diminish for these economies. When nearly complete, the BRI could become China's international political powerbank through the projects it has developed, but also though conditions that could be imposed through the write-off of debt. The BRI is now becoming more closely scrutinised because of the growing concern around debt associated with BRI projects. The International Monetary Fund has been vocal on this point to China, with

Understanding China: BRI in Southeast Asia – Beyond infrastructure

Ma Tieying / August 20, 2018 We examine the dimensions beyond infrastructure of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Key summary points China’s FDI in Southeast Asia has surged in a broad range of sectors since the BRI was launched Manufacturing investment is expected to continue rising, amid higher wage costs in China, ……deteriorating Sino-US trade relations, and the BRI-driven infrastructure development in SE Asia Demand for services investment will also increase Photo credit: AFP Photo The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a long-term economic development plan proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. As part of the overall “Go Global” strategy, the BRI aims to enhance China’s economic connectivity with Asia, Europe and Africa, thus helping Chinese companies to broaden/deepen market access, enhance global competitiveness, and secure the supply of important natural resources. While the short-term focus of BRI is mainly on infrastructure investment, the long-term imp

China's Path to Global Hegemony: Latest Target Is Syria

by  Debalina Ghoshal August 20, 2018 at 4:00 am China reportedly intends to build a railway through Iran and Turkey into Syria. Meanwhile in Greece, a Chinese state-owned company, Cosco, "purchased a controlling stake in the port of Piraeus, near Athens." Piraeus is the biggest and busiest port in Greece and the busiest container port in the Eastern Mediterranean. If China were to invest large amounts of money into the reconstruction of Syria, which has long been a hub for terrorist groups, Chinese funds could easily fall into the hands both of corrupt members of the Assad regime and of Hezbollah, the regime's main supporting terrorist organization. Chinese reconstruction funds could also be diverted to purchasing nuclear weapons technology from Iran and North Korea. China's  Belt and Road Initiative  (BRI) – a term coined in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping to evoke the ancient  Silk Road trade routes connecting China with lands to its west – should be cause

Imran takes guard: But can he convince Rawalpindi GHQ to make peace with India?

August 21, 2018, 2:00 AM IST  TOI Edit  in  TOI Editorials   |   A day after he was sworn in as the new prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan highlighted two big challenges confronting his country – huge debt and a decrepit healthcare sector. South Asian governments like to blame their predecessors, and Khan stayed true to that tradition by blaming the previous PML(N) government of racking up the country’s debt burden to a whopping Rs 28 trillion. It may be more difficult for him to name other proximate causes for that debt: CPEC, or Pakistan’s commitment to jihad as a tool of state policy which deters non-Chinese investors from entering Pakistan. But they will need tackling, if Khan’s dream of ‘naya Pakistan’ is to be realised. CPEC’s opacity will be an obstacle in other ways as well: it will stand in the way of an IMF bailout that Pakistan desperately needs, and it controverts the transparency in governance Khan claims he will usher in. Ultimately, the best way for Pakistan to r

New planning minister briefed on dams, CPEC

ISLAMABAD: Newly appointed Minister for Planning Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar was informed on Monday that the government allocated Rs23 billion for Basha and Rs2 billion for Mohmand dams in the current fiscal year, and estimated time needed to complete Basha dam was ten years. The minister visited his office in the ministry in P Block of the Secretariat after taking oath on Monday, where he urged for the need to find innovative ways to complete Basha Dam. He attended the three-hour long briefing, and advised the concerned officials to focus on the social sector, without knowing that the social sector had been devolved to the provinces in the aftermath of the 18th constitutional amendments. The minister also asked the authorities to focus on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) without going into details as to how these projects would be financed in the wake of severe fiscal constraints. The minister was briefed by Secretary Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui on details of the federal developmen

HEC calls for inclusion of higher education in priority areas of CPEC

Myra Imran August 21, 2018 Listen Islamabad: Ambassador of China Yao Jing on Monday offered mobilization of China Study Centres and Confucius Centres in higher education institutions in Pakistan to support research and knowledge sharing on the Chinese experience and success in various practical areas including economic development, environmental conservation, climate change, social equity, and good governance. The opportunity was discussed in a meeting of Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Tariq Banuri and Ambassador Yao Jing held to discuss issues pertaining to bilateral collaboration in higher education sector and research. Expressing his views, Dr. Banuri stressed the need for explicit inclusion of higher education in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) priority areas. He shed light on the ongoing collaborative efforts between Pakistan and China. He expressed a hope that the future will witness strengthened relations between the two countries, especially in th

CPEC to boost economic activities, generate two million new jobs till 2030

                   PARVEZ JABRI  AUG 20TH, 2018   0 BEIJING: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will boost economic activities and generate around two million new jobs till 2030. “CPEC is the first one, and may serve as “role model”. Under this initiative, infrastructure, power generation, development of Gwadar Port and industrialization will take place. It will boost economic activities and create jobs. It is expected that around two million new jobs will be generated through CPEC till 2030,” according to an article published in China Daily on Monday. As at this stage, most of the projects are categorized as infrastructure development. It will require civil engineers, mechanical, electrical and other related disciplines of engineering. It will also need technicians: masons, welders, carpenters, surveyors, steel fixer, machine operators, etc. In addition to technical workforce, it will also need economists, finance

As part of CPEC, 'Chinese only’ colony coming up in Pakistan

By  Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury , ET Bureau | Aug 21, 2018, 06.34 AM IST China is building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar. NEW DELHI:  China  is building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ( CPEC ). This will be the first such Chinese city in South Asia. Half-a-million Chinese citizens, who will be housed in this proposed city by 2022, will be workforce for the financial district that Beijing is planning to set up in the Pakistani port city of Gwadar. Only Chinese citizens will live in this gated zone, which basically means that  Pakistan  will be used as a colony of China. ET has learnt that the China-Pak Investment Corporation bought the 3.6-million square foot International Port City and will build a $150-million gated community for the anticipated 5,00,000 Chinese professionals who will be located by 2022 and work in its proposed new financial district in G

The Fate of Madagascar’s Endangered Rosewoods

Published: Friday, 17 August 2018 15:32WRITTEN BY KHADIJA SHARIFE AND EDWARD MAINTIKELY In Madagascar, rosewood traders are kingmakers, felling trees — and governments. Going undercover, reporters found how they make millions smuggling the rare bleeding timber to China. Stockpiled rosewood logs for export in the Sava region of Madagascar. Credit: OCCRP Madagascar — sometimes known as the “world’s eighth continent” — is a naturalist’s paradise. More than 80 percent of the flora and fauna on the island can be found nowhere else on earth. Among these rare species are two endangered variants of the rosewood tree. Like other members of the Dalbergia family, the slow-growing Madagascar rosewood is prized for its fragrant, fiery-colored timber, which is  used in fine furniture . But Madagascar’s rosewood trees are in danger. Many grow in underdeveloped places like the northeastern Sava region, where logging is one of the few dependable sources of income. Said Gilbert, a former rosewood