Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged $60 billion in financing for projects in Africa. The figure includes $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in credit lines, $10 billion for “development financing” and $5 billion to buy imports from Africa.
Since it came to power in 1949, the Communist government of China has been brutally cruel to the Chinese people, repeatedly forcing them to “tighten your belts for hard times ahead”.
Even at the most difficult times, the Communist leaders of China never forgot their “poor friends” in Africa, Romania, Vietnam and North Korea.
The first instance of foreign aid by China to Africa was in 1956 during the Suez Crisis when China gave CHF 20 million to Egypt. Later China helped build the Tazara Railway in east Africa, which remains the country’s single-largest foreign aid project.
The project was built from 1970 to 1975 as a turnkey project financed and supported by China, at a construction cost of US $406 million (the equivalent of US $2.56 billion today).
That was when China was still recovering from the Great Famine between the years 1959 and 1961. Drought, poor weather, and the policies of Mao Zedong contributed to the widespread famine, and estimates of deaths due to starvation range in the tens of millions.
In a newly published biography of Mao Zedong by two UK authors, the estimated totality of death is discussed: “at least 3 million people died violent deaths and post-Mao leaders acknowledged that 100 million people, one-ninth of the entire population, suffered in one way or another” (Chang and Halliday, 2005: 547).
The CCP plays great emphasis on building a united front against the civilized west, in which it successfully kicked the Republic of China (Taiwan) out of the United Nations. CCP’s poor relatives in Africa and other parts of the third world have surely helped a vote in its success.
Chinese official sources divide its aids into three main categories: grants, interest free loans, and concessional loans. The Department of Foreign Aid of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has been responsible for administrating the foreign aid program.
The portfolio of the Department of Foreign Aid may also include the youth volunteer program and technical assistance. The grants and interest free loans originate from the national budget. The concessional loan program originates from the Export Import Bank of China but is managed under the direction of the Department of Foreign Aid.
Chinese foreign aid is thought to be unpopular domestically due to the common belief that the largesse is required more urgently at home. To some extent, the CCP has been China’s biggest national traitor.
The CCP government has a long list of state secrets, and foreign aid is one of them. Due to the secrecy of China’s aid program details (of how much is given, to whom and for what) are difficult to ascertain.
The CCP leaders know fully well that if the truth is exposed, the ordinary Chinese would become so angry as to tear them into pieces. That’s why we see the Great Firewall, the censorship, the cover-ups, and the fear of them confronting the whistle blows of Miles Kwok.
But more and more Chinese have learned about the facts as they go abroad.
A RAND published study on “China’s Foreign Aid and Government Sponsored Investment” estimates the amount of both traditional aid and much more broadly defined government sponsored investment that was pledged by China in 2011 was 189.3 billion US dollars.
According to a 2017 study, described as “The most detailed study so far of Chinese aid,” by AidData, between 2000 and 2014 China gave about $75 billion, and lent about $275 billion — compared to $424 billion given by America during the same period. A fifth of this Chinese aid, $75 billion, was in the form of grants (about equivalent to Britain’s), while the rest was concessional lending at below-market interest rates.
Since the 1970s, many developing countries around the world have taken-up a range of loans from Chinese banks, in particular to finance much-needed infrastructure projects, from buildings to power stations, new roads, and railways. However, little is known about the size of these loans and repayments at a global, cross-country level, or about their impacts, because Chinese stakeholders do not publish this information.
Some critics in the west have called for transparent “rules of the game” to ensure a level playing field for investment when it came to infrastructure investment.
In recent years, the CCP government has been criticized for supporting international terrorism.
According to Anders Corr in a Forbes report, China started secret negotiations with Taliban terrorists at least as early as late 2014, and diplomatically supported the Taliban, along with allies Pakistan, Iran and Russia. “China’s dialogue rewards Taliban violence, increases Taliban influence and sidelines the elected government of Afghanistan.”
China is often cited as the main source of aid propping up the fragile North Korean economy. Brad Parks calls North Korea “an informational black hole”, admitting that it’s the only recipient country that truly evaded the researchers. To a large extent, the vast amounts of money and other kinds of aid that China is believed to give North Korea fall outside the global financial system.
Xi Jinping is overseeing China’s incredible rise to fortune and influence, but there’s a darker side of his politics neglecting the plight of the poor in the country.
Last week in Hunan province, people angry about the difficulty of enrolling their children at public schools protested near six schools and a government building and blocked the main streets of Leiyang.
With China’s urbanization, the CCP government has been slow in planning for more public schools to accommodate students of an increasing population.
For many years, the rural areas lack the educational resources of the urban areas and the rural areas are considered to be falling below the educational benchmark set in the cities.
This lack of government funding meant that children of rural families were forced to drop out of school, thus losing the opportunity to further their studies and following the paths of their parents to become low skilled workers with few chances of advancements. This leads to a vicious cycle of poverty.
Besides, rural residents are increasingly being marginalised in higher education, closing off their best opportunities for advancement.
How much is US$60 billion? It is equal to the combined annual GDP of four provinces: Gansu, Qinghai, Xinjiang and Tibet; 80%of annual financial income of Helongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin in the north combined; one year total income of Hunan province.
That’s why the Chinese population has been so upset about Xi Jinping’s un-rational pouring of money into Africa.
By Cloudy Seagail