The Threat of Chinese Economic Imperialism | Lewis Bates


Most people associate the word “imperialism” with former colonial powers of the West. Nowadays though, this word seems to have rebranded itself and taken a new shape in the form of Chinese economic imperialism, which is becoming ever more prominent, especially in Africa. However, this seems to be rarely talked about.

In 2011 Kenya and China signed a historical deal with the China Road and Bridge Corporation in which it was agreed to the construction of the rail links between Nairobi and Mombasa, costing a total sum of $3.2 billion. There have been numerous Chinese-financed projects all over Africa and the world, but why? China is not financing said projects for no reason, there must be some form of gain for the People’s Republic of China in the end. China knows it will likely not receive all of this money back directly but, quite frankly, it does not need to do so, for it is irrelevant to the overall agenda in place.

During the Cold War, worldwide narratives were controlled by the US and the USSR with the world split between the two. The US had a large sphere of influence, particularly in Africa, which was needed to help US motions at the United Nations, many of whom voted against replacing China’s representation from the Republic of China(ROC) with People’s Republic of China(PRC), however, ultimately the motion ended up passing despite US efforts.

Photo by Eastern Law on Flickr.

Things have changed dramatically since then, with the PRC financing huge projects in Africa, resulting in African nations voting in a pro-PRC direction, especially in the UN, as their hands are now tied economically. The old European overlords of Africa have simply been replaced with their new ones, the Chinese. We in the West have allowed this to happen by rejecting African development needs, causing African countries to look elsewhere for foreign investment to bolster their own economic growth.

This leaves African countries in a situation in which they are forced to vote with their Chinese overlords. China is now in a position to act as it pleases without any worry of major global backlash despite gross human rights violations. China is pursuing economic warfare, funding poor undeveloped countries and economically binding them, to ensure submission from all countries now under their thumb. They cannot rebel, as they are in desperate need of said projects, and their only viable option is China as it offers extremely favourable low-interest loans.

This injustice cannot and must not go on, as it gives an authoritarian regime free rein to act in an Orwellian manner with little international criticism and consequences. We must not allow a regime that throws Uighur Muslims into “re-education camps” for adhering to a certain faith and culture. Tens of thousands of Uighurs are treated as de facto prisoners and for what crime? The answer is, they have not committed one and haven’t even faced a trial. The world is silent on this, because no-one can criticise the PRC when it has economically trapped dozens of nations by financing huge projects that many countries cannot even afford to fully pay back.

We must be able to criticise such damning behavior and yet we do not. This economic oppression gives the PRC the green light to continue its wretched ways. It leaves underdeveloped countries in the same boat that they were under European colonialism. They must now answer to the Communist Party of China instead of the old European powers, before making major foreign policy maneuvers and said maneuvers must be in the interest of the PRC. It has simply bought and bribed its newfound allies to turn a blind eye to grave injustices.

The rise of China as an upcoming power is inevitable and something that seemingly cannot be stopped but it certainly can be delayed and at least condemned in the West. We should make a conscious effort to counter these games from the PRC. We must not allow China to control our markets by flooding in cheap goods, in doing that we are indirectly supporting the PRC and its agenda. We must take a greater interest in poorer underdeveloped countries particularly in Africa which has been largely subjugated by the Chinese Communist Party, we must invest and show a desire to help develop these countries if we wish to counter PRC influence over the region.

Photo by yizhe2020 on Flickr.

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