Pakistan and Nepal tell China win-win deals don’t come easy

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in central China (Reuters Photo)

After Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority Chairman said on Nov 12 Tuesday that they had “withdrawn its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework”, “Nepal scrapped a $2.5 billion deal with China Gezhouba Group Corporation to build the country’s biggest hydropower plant” on Nov 13,

China gained splendid experience from building the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant — Three Gorges Dam — which was completed in 2012 and generated 98.8 terawatt-hours, a world record in 2014. So, China is confident in and keen on exporting the related technologies.

To many developing countries, it is also attractive as it can generate cheap and clean energy. However, terms’ complication could go beyond imagination and it is never easy to reach a compromise.

Yet, we can at least notice three points. First, China is not a colonist. Any country, even the friendliest partner, Pakistan, can say no to China. It is the best demonstration that the sovereignty has never been eroded when accepting investments from China.

As a citizen in Hong Kong which was a British colony before 1997, I knew that a colony could never say no to the master, and the British companies did have many advantages in getting government contracts for projects and supplies, etc. The accusations that China is going to colonize other developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa, to me, are nonsense and unfair.

“Sam Beatson, a researcher with the King’s College London” is a rare scholar who “said China has not shown itself to be a colonial power … China’s record so far is not comparable to colonialism … Modern China has no record of administrative level colonialism, or of the use of force outside its deemed territories.”

Second, international and global deals of any kind are subject to domestic politics and external interference. Japan, France, for example, are also keen on competing bids for infrastructure projects worldwide. The chance of success of China’s Belt and Road Initiative should not be over-estimated, especially in the wake of the wars in the Middle East and regional chaos in Africa (such as Libya and Sudan).

Third, we need to think deeply about China’s “non-interference policy” and the prevailing “liberal universalism” adopted by the Western countries, particularly when we are dealing with a so-called ‘failed state’. I still tend to believe that the former is better than the latter. Yes, the struggling process is very painful and deadly, but all civilizations ranging from the Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Gaul, Prussian, Chinese … must go through some destructive sufferings independently so as to learn how to survive, adapt, grow and sublime. State building does not come easy, too.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

Categories: Mining & Energy

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