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Workers at the site of a Chinese-backed infrastructure project in Haripur, Pakistan, Dec. 22, 2017 (AP photo by Aqeel Ahmed).

Grumbling Grows From Guyana to Australia Over China’s ‘Debt-Trap Diplomacy’

Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018

At the opening of a huge new trade show in Shanghai on Monday, the inaugural China International Import Expo, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to convince increasingly skeptical observers that China wants to “help friends from around the world to seize opportunities.” Xi is aiming to boost China’s trade involvement across the globe, even as the United States under President Donald Trump retreats into protectionism.

Yet the notion that Beijing is a force for global prosperity is running into a wall of doubt as Xi’s signature Belt and Road Initiative—a trillion-dollar global infrastructure behemoth that launched in 2013 as “One Belt, One Road”—ignites controversies and political crises in country after country. The Belt and Road is Xi’s vehicle for converting China’s spectacular economic growth into global influence, a soft power strategy for the age of global capitalism. The project is so important to Xi that last year, as he consolidated his position as the most powerful leader in Beijing in decades, he had the Belt and Road enshrined in China’s constitution. ...

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