Misleading views of intent behind Belt and Road still common in Western media

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/7 20:58:39

Some Western media outlets never get tired of smearing China by comparing Chinese overseas investment projects to the US-sponsored post-World War II Marshall Plan, but this is a distortion of history.

The latest example is an article in The New York Times last week, which discussed China General Nuclear Power Corp's project at the Husab Uranium Mine in Namibia.

With investment of up to $4.6 billion, it is the world's second-largest uranium mine, and is expected to increase Namibia's GDP by 5 percent when it goes into full operation next year.

The article suggests that Chinese investment in Namibia is "a new form of colonialism," accusing China of exploiting resources "without benefiting" the local population.

If anything, the "new colonial power" rhetoric only underscores the West's concern and nervousness about the smooth development of China-Africa relations.

It is absurd to assume that African countries would accept the investment if they could not benefit or that they are not capable of identifying whether they could benefit.

The article also says that with Chinese companies investing around the world, the "One Belt and One Road" (B&R) initiative, which aims to promote infrastructure construction and development in countries and regions along the route over the next decade, "would dwarf" the US' Marshall Plan for Europe.

Such a comparison distorts the intentions behind the B&R, pointing to a basic lack of knowledge.

The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a postwar plan that the US used to aid Western Europe and to contain the expansion of the former Soviet Union.

With a very strong ideological color, the US assistance program completely excluded socialist countries at that time and had political purposes with many conditions attached.

But the B&R initiative has no such ideological discrimination. Its goal is the common development of countries along the route, regardless of their ethnicity, religion and culture and regardless of whether they are socialist or capitalist.

Misleading views about the B&R initiative are not uncommon these days, but Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang offered a clarification at a press conference on Friday: "If the B&R was 'controlled' by China and people could not share the benefits," there would not be so many countries and organizations that are enthusiastic about it.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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