BRI skeptics won’t prevail

China-Europe freight train “Shanghai Express” is seen in Hamburg, Germany, on Oct. 26, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Qing)

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Recently, a New Delhi-based “think tank” Observer Research Foundation (ORF) groundlessly questioned the win-win nature of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), indulging in an unwarranted smear that it only exports carbon emissions to BRI nations, and brings China a “double win.”

Considering what has truly happened along the Belt and Road, those observers must have come to their green-eyed conclusion through a colored lense. The truth is that China and its BRI partners have won together more than twice.

Facts speak louder than words. It has been widely acknowledged that the BRI has brought enormous development benefits and green development to countries by virtue of a multitude of projects featuring win-win cooperation, emission reduction and green energy within the framework of this inclusive initiative.

Take one example in Europe. With the goal of promoting green and low-carbon energy cooperation between China and the European Union, China’s Shanghai Electric Power Company has been in the process of transforming Gozo in Malta into a pilot “zero carbon island.” The green energy project is designed to integrate wind energy, solar energy, energy storage, hydrogen and comprehensive smart energy.

Likewise in Asia, the Karot hydropower project stands as a concrete manifestation of the clean and green vision of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The power plant, which will soon start to generate electricity, will not only further address the electricity shortage in Pakistan, but also reduce 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Apart from reducing emissions, the Belt and Road cooperation is making the cake of the global economy bigger. By embracing the initiative, many countries around the world have reaped development benefits.

Just let figures speak for themselves. China’s accumulated trade volume in goods with BRI countries reached 9.2 trillion dollars between 2013 and 2020, official data show. According to the World Bank, BRI transport projects could, by 2030, help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million people out of moderate poverty globally.

More specifically, in Piraeus, Greece, BRI projects have offered local community at least 3,000 direct jobs and even more indirect jobs, significantly contributing to local development and improvement of people’s lives there via investment and taxes.

So far, the BRI has grown into the world’s broadest-based and largest platform for international cooperation, with 141 countries and 32 international organizations joining the ranks. Think about it. If the BRI is not win-win in nature, why would they be willing to jump into it?

All the more ridiculous is the allegation that China’s BRI left some countries “saddled with hidden debts.”

Enrique Garcia, former president and CEO of the Development Bank of Latin America, said such debt-trap claims are mostly politically motivated fabrications.

There is “no evidence that Chinese banks over-lend or invest in loss-making projects to obtain a foothold in those countries,” Deborah Brautigam, director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying by an article published by The Diplomat magazine earlier this year.

At present, China has been working together with its worldwide partners to push forward the BRI’s high-quality development, and to stimulate sustainable and low-carbon development in the developing world. Those who always try to sow discords and undermine this broadly supported international cooperation initiative will only make a fool of themselves. 

Source: Xinhua 2021-12-01.