China hits back at 'irresponsible' report over Belt and Road projects

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday dismissed a recent report by the Financial Times that the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has ran into many troubles across the world for transparency and other issues, calling the report "inaccurate" and "irresponsible."

At a regular press briefing, Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the ministry, offered a detailed rebuttal, citing many successful projects from a port in Greece to a railway Kenya to a textile factory in Tajikistan and stressing that projects under the Belt and Road are conducted under fair, open and transparent principles.

"In recent years, a large number of cooperation projects under the Belt and Road Initiative have taken root and blossomed, bring about $2.2 billion in tax revenues for partner countries, creating more than 200,000 jobs and being truly welcomed by the governments and people of relevant countries," Hua said. "The point you mentioned is not in line with the actual situation and China cannot agree with it at all."

She was responding to a question about a Financial Times report on July 9, which said that 14 percent of 1,674 infrastructure projects in 66 Belt and Road countries have encountered troubles, including public opposition to projects, objections over labor policies and performance delays, citing US consultancy RWR Advisory Group.

The report quoted Mikko Huotari, deputy director of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a Berlin-based think-tank as saying that "There is a relative disregard for local conditions, country risks and… a general lack of transparency."

Hua on Monday acknowledged that some Belt and Road projects have ran into "temporary difficulties" because some developing countries' economies have been under pressure from rising global trade protectionism and spillover effects of monetary policies in major economies as well as political changes and natural disasters in some countries.

But "if one asserts, just because of that, that Belt and Road projects are encountering difficulties on a global scale and blame it on Chinese investment and financing cooperation, then that is typical of partiality, not in line with the facts and the mainstream and is very irresponsible," she said.

Hua further stated that no country has slid into debt crisis because of cooperation with China and that China has not caused any of the so-called debt crises. "The governments and people of partner countries have the right to speak about how effective it is to cooperate with China," she said.

Hua also pointed out that projects under the Belt and Road are carried out in accordance with market rules and in consultation with all relevant parties, adding that China and 26 other countries have signed a guiding principle for fundraising under the Belt and Road Initiative, aiming to create a "transparent, friendly, non-discriminate" financing environment.

Editor: 曹家宁