Recently, some western politicians and media are hyping up the so-called “China’s debt trap”, claiming that China, through providing a large amount of loans to some countries for infrastructure projects and increasing the financial burden of these borrowing countries, attempts to gain control over resources, infrastructures and even economic sovereignty of those countries, once they were gripped by debt plight of repaying the loans. In this way, China would gain enormous political and diplomatic interests.
This kind of saying is ridiculous and confuses right and wrong. It is fake news and rumour causing great confusion and bad effects to the people of recipient countries who were hidden from the real situation and bringing negative influence and pressure to those governments. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the situation to ensure a correct understanding of the facts.
First, it is a fact that China providing loans and assistance to countries in urgent need of funds, is extending timely help. As we all know, some developing countries are eager to boost their economy and promote social development, but they are temporarily lacking funds. They have full rights and good reasons to seek financial assistance from international community. However, due to various reasons, it is difficult for these developing countries to get sufficient loans from international financial institutions, or they have to accept many political and economic strings.
In such a difficult time, China extends a helping hand, providing loans to these countries, to solve their financial difficulties and enable these countries to independently arrange economic development in accordance with their economic and social development plans. This is a good deed they most welcome, and meets the needs of their governments and peoples. China is helping those in danger and relieve those in need.
Second, it is a fact that China’s loans and assistance to recipient countries effectively help to set up their national infrastructure, promote economic development and improve social living conditions and people’s livelihood. For years, China has provided a large number of gratuitous aids, interest-free loans and concessional loans to the developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and South Pacific, helping to build such infrastructure projects as railways, highways, ports, terminals and airports, as well as hospitals, schools, stadiums, cultural centers etc.
Those facilities have greatly improved the basic conditions for the economic and social development of recipient countries and have been welcomed by recipient governments and peoples. In just a few years, China has helped many African countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania to build railways and road networks, power grids, and communication networks, so that these countries can catch up with the trend of times.
The problems that the western colonies did not solve in Africa during colonialist time of more than 200 years have been solved by China in a short period of time. It is a fact that Chinese loans have played an irreplaceable role. Other recipient countries in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have also enjoyed similar tangible benefits. International community, including western countries, should fully acknowledge and affirm China’s contribution.
Third, it is a fact that China’s loans and assistance has greatly improved the capacity building and state management of recipient governments and promoted the development of good governance.
China’s foreign aid, like other mature international mechanisms, includes gratuitous aids, interest-free loans, concessional loans and commercial loans.
Chinese government or financial institutions would negotiate with the recipient countries, in accordance with international financial regulations, through rigorous and scientific argument, to decide whether, in which type, how to provide assistance, and the relevant conditions. It is also necessary to review feasibility, undertake verification and supervision.
Moreover, everything would be done according to laws and regulations, and in a just, fair and open way. Each recipient country would, after examining its real demands of economic and social development, negotiate loan assistance with Chinese government or commercial banks in the principle of sustainable development and within its capacities. The recipients invite investment and loan on their own initial, rather than being coerced or tempted by China, not to mention involving bribery or corruption.
Through compliance management and safety inspection of fund use, China could timely discover hidden risks and remind recipient countries to follow international rules such as international financial laws and economic and trade laws, so that aiding projects can be implemented well in construction, supervision and function in strict accordance with international rules.
In China-aid turn-key projects, China not only provides funds, but also provides management technology and standards to help train engineering and technical personnel and management personnel, so that these countries can obtain first-class management technology, greatly improving their management capabilities and levels, laying a more solid foundation for the country’s sustainable development.
Some western politicians and media describe China’s aid as a “debt trap”, which is very unfair to those countries that accepted China’s assistance. Satisfied were the western politicians and media only when these countries stopped developing?
There are no ulterior plots, no deliberately designed traps when China provides assistance to recipient countries. There are no countries ever trapped or controlled by China. With regard to foreign aid, China adheres to the principle of equality and mutual benefit.
For all the time, the Chinese aid never attaches political strings, never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, never uses loans to affect political affairs of other countries, never exports China’s development model. So far, China has not used debts to oppress any recipient country, nor has it planned to overturn any recipient countries. “Debt Trap” does not exist at all.
China adheres to a foreign policy of peaceful development, upholds the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is always committed to forging a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, which conforms with the trend of times of peaceful development.
China will never ever control other countries or dominate the world through loans. In history, China was not a hegemonic power and will resolutely oppose hegemonism now and in the future.
China was not a colonialist country in history. On the contrary, China deeply suffered from colonialism. We firmly oppose colonialism and will never impose China’s will on other countries, nor seeks colonial interests by occupying resources of other countries or enslave other countries.
For decades, China has upheld the spirit of South-South cooperation, played its due part as a major and responsible country, and carried out extensive foreign assistance. China’s foreign assistance has made tremendous contributions to the development of world economy. So far, we have neither heard of any country collapsing due to China’s debt, nor their complaints of being burdened with accepting too much of China’s aid. On the contrary, most recipient countries continue to ask China to increase the assistance in order to better develop their economy and improve people’s livelihood.
Actually, very few countries suspended some China-funded projects because of political or election consideration, generally after change of governments. It is not the consequence of China using “debt trap” to blackmail or suppress them, but the result of their internal political battles. This is not the mainstream, but just a drop in the vast ocean, not worthy being surprised at all.
Recently, some western media are hyping up that Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Malaysia were in debt crisis, due to Chinese loans. It is completely misleading and has been resented and criticised by relevant leaders of these countries. Justice will always prevail.
Since the world financial crisis in 2008, it has become increasingly difficult for some developed countries to provide necessary assistance to developing countries due to their own slow or even stagnant economic growth and financial strain. At the same time, China’s economy is developing very well, China has continuously helped the developing countries, engaging in construction and strengthening economic and trade exchanges and financial cooperation with the developing countries. Thus some developed countries have become more and more anxious, creating various rumours and fallacies like “China’s Debt Trap”.
Some developed countries are giving vent to the sense of powerlessness and transferring their international responsibilities. The international community should redress the scales, not only ignore the rumours, but also refute them and stop spreading, and prevent people who do not know the truth from being misled.
Those who made “China’s debt trap” fallacy are kindly reminded to correct their attitudes, take off coloured glasses, and uphold the spirit of befriending others and appreciating radiance of different people to share the fate with developing countries and jointly promote the global economic development and prosperity, creating a better future for human society.
(The above was submitted for publication by the local Chinese Embassy in Grenada)