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527 views • August 20, 2020

BELT AND ROAD: CHINA'S VEHICLE FOR GLOBAL AMBITION

According to the 'Belt-and-Road news' website: “In the post-covid era, Beijing’s power over [Central Asia] could greatly expand, helping propel it along the fast track toward Superpower Status.” Back in 2013, the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, adopted its 'Belt-and-Road Initiative' -- a global infrastructure delveopment project aimed at connecting Asia with Africa and Europe. And since it's start, China has proudly touted the strategy's achievements. But the regime seems to be using it as a foot-hold to export its control. China has already used the initiative to trap some participating countries with debt crises. It's done by building infrastructure projects on loan, like roads, ports, and energy networks, for poorer nations. But when those countries become unable to pay back the debt, they're forced to cede control of the finished structures to China. The practice gives China power over foreign regions -- and is often used in places with strategic value, like port cities. As of last October, over 130 countries in the Asia Pacific region, Africa, and Europe had already signed on, or expressed intent to do so. In addition to road-building, the regime is also using the Belt-and-Road Initiative to construct a state-run banking network. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB, is one of the main loan providers for Belt-and-Road construction projects. The bank opened just one year after Belt and Road was launched -- with the CCP as it's main source of funding. Up till now, AIIB has recorded a ten billion U-S dollar investment total -- and boasts over 100 ((102)) member nations, including major western players like Canada, Australia, Germany, and France. As for finalcials... Most Belt and Road-related transactions are handled in US dollars using SWIFT -- a vast banking network used to securely send and receive information. It's the most globally used system, and is dominated by the US. But in order to achieve independance from the US, the communist party introduced its own digital currency. Zhu Min ((朱民)) was the former Vice President of the Central Bank of China, and is now President of Tsinghua University's National Institute of Finance. He said ((in a recent forum))recently that the development of digital currency is an important step toward internationalizing China's Renminbi -- more commonly known as the yuan. He explained that using the Renminbi instead of the U-S dollar to invest in future Belt and Road projects is a major move for China. It will play a big role in expanding Renminbi-based investments globally. The decision for China's Central Bank to endorse digital currency was made as a vehicle to progress that goal. Last week, China's Ministry of Commerce announced that almost 30 provinces and regions will launch a project involving digital currency circulation. That's more than 80 percent of the country's entire territory. While Chinese people are being urged toward the country's digital currency experiment, Chinese companies are looking for growth opportunites during the shift. Social media app WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, founded the Digital Currency Research Group last year. According to reports, it strives to be the Belt-and-Road Initiative’s official wallet. Earlier this month, the US banned transactions with WeChat and TikTok. The move came amid accusations that the apps capture personal information from their users and hand it over to the Chinese regime. But the biggest opportunity-seeker surrounding the Belt and Road project is Chinese tech giant Huawei. Zhang Yansheng , Chief Researcher of China's Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIE), says Huawei's success is all thanks to Belt and Road. He explained that when Huawei was “young and weak”, 70% of its sales came from overseas markets -- mainly Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- the same regions where belt and road projects were being constructed. Huawei is now the world’s biggest telecom equipment maker. Not to mention, a prime case study about the CCP's espionage, intellectual property theft, and
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