The international debt trap is a product of colonial and neo-colonial plunders, imperialist hegemony and neoliberal economic policies imposed by developed countries on developing world. The Asian, African, Latin American and even the capitalist west is suffering from debt due to the dominance of Westphalian capitalist system that controls world economic and politics. However, the reactionary and capitalist ideologues, their mouthpiece mass media, writers, journalists, consultants, think tanks, leaders and their propaganda machines are on a relentless campaign to defame, delegitimise and diminish Chinese achievements. The core idea of this consorted anti-Chinese propaganda is to undermine the alternative development model pursued by China.
The Chinese economic and political engagement in Asia, Africa and Latin America is challenging the debt dependence development model and questions the very foundation of western debt trap designed to exploit natural resources from the developing world. Debt is a political and economic tool of the western countries to control the politics and economic systems of the developing world and continue capitalist hegemony. China is a threat to such world order. From Chinese authoritarianism to Chinese debt trap campaigns are ideologically driven propaganda based on myths. There is absolutely no foundation to these campaigns. Falsehood is a norm for the survival of western hegemony over people and the planet.
The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ narratives are myth making propaganda. The idea of debt trap diplomacy is to undermine Beijing and its relationship with developing countries. In reality, China provides three different types of loans i.e., i) interest free loan, ii) long term loan for infrastructure with minimal interests and iii) commercial loans. China even allows to restructure the terms of the existing loans based on changing economic conditions of the borrowing countries. China has never grabbed any assets of the any countries that borrowed from China. The acquisitions, investments and integrations are western business strategies in international trade, but China pursues these strategies with a difference when it comes to its lending patterns and policies for the developing countries.
China is the one of the largest official creditors with a global presence, but it never puts conditions of structural adjustments, change of labour laws or liberalisation and privatisation of their economic systems while lending. The western propaganda machine never fails to portray integration and acquisitions as Chinese dominance and debt trap. Chinese economic engagement with the developing countries fundamentally challenges the western hegemony. Therefore, Beijing is branded as an authoritarian devil that intents to colonise and dominate the world. There is no iota of truth in it, but western ideologues look at themselves in prison of their own eyes. The colonial past is a mirror, where the colonisers plays their victim card to hide their past.
The economic and political challenges faced by Asian, African and Latin American countries today are products of their colonial past and neo colonial present dominated by the United States and Western Europe. China is providing loans for infrastructure development by which the developing countries can recover from their western dependency to mobilise their own natural resources.
The African, Asian and Latin American counties are not currently under substantial Chinese debt. In fact, the share of Chinese debt in comparison to total debt to GDP ratio is very minimal. So, it is time to debunk the unfounded narratives and propaganda around Chinese debt trap diplomacy. The expansion of Chinese economic and political engagement with developing countries help in reducing their dependency on western capital, which makes western powers uncomfortable and persistently spread lies against China. This is a diversionary strategy of the western leaders to hide their political and economic failures. Falsely outsourcing of all the blame on China is not going to hide failures of capitalism and so-called western democracy. The deepening of democracy depends on a debt free world economy. It can be facilitated by politics of unity, peace, solidarity and shared prosperity. The Chinese economy and politics based on peace, cooperation, development and socialism are four pillars of Chinese alternative for the world to pursue.
A debt driven western dominance based on capitalism is not an economic or political alternative. It has failed in different stages of history. The world does not need a unipolar, bipolar and multipolar world order led by United State, China, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and India. The world politics needs to focus on people, peace and planet based on egalitarian values of liberty, justice, fraternity and citizenship rights. A people and planet centric world order is the call of the day for a sustainable tomorrow.
Bhabani Shankar Nayak, University of Glasgow, UK