The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 has created a strong echo and resonance in the hearts and minds of the international community, especially the people belonging to developing and emerging economies.
The game-changing initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and is based on a one-sum mentality and the ideas of inclusiveness, mutual cooperation, openness and win-win situations, has boosted the confidence of the masses of member countries that their dreams of everlasting prosperity will be fulfilled with the initiative's smooth execution.
Unfortunately, on the other side, the countries which have benefited from the current global economic system by exploiting developing countries have started crying and yelling over this initiative, as they know that their era of exploiting Third World countries is going to be over.
The so-called "China threat" is being hatched by them to sabotage the message of prosperity and wellbeing from this initiative aimed at global prosperity.
The vicious propaganda by some foreign experts and think tanks is being pursued by labeling the BRI as a tool of hegemony to fulfill their malicious campaign.
Based on my observations and experiences learnt from working in China, I want to say that the voices against the BRI are coming from the countries which are simply not part of this initiative.
If you look back at Chinese civilization, which has a history of 5,000 years, you will get a clear idea that China has never pursued hegemonic ambitions or expanded its territory by bulldozing the sovereignty of others.
History always gives you the best lesson, and it always remains open to all. If you just go back to 1840, it will show how foreign imperialist powers subjugated Chinese society.
Xi, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said in the report presented at the 19th National Congress of the Party that "with a history of more than 5,000 years, our nation created a splendid civilization, made remarkable contributions to mankind, and became one of the world's largest nations. But with the Opium War of 1840, China was plunged into the darkness of domestic turmoil and foreign aggression, and its people were ravaged by wars, saw their homeland torn, and lived in poverty and despair."
China, which has faced turbulent times in its history, does not have motives like those of the imperialists because it is not in its civilization and history.
The BRI's inclusion in the CPC Constitution at the 19thCPC National Congress has sent a very strong and comprehensive message that projects under the initiative will be executed smoothly.
Xi has made it clear in the report that "China's development does not pose a threat to any other country. No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. China will never pursue development at the expense of others' interests."
It is the dire need of the time for the international community to snub the anti-BRI voices. The China-proposed initiative is an agenda for global prosperity, as it is going to support multilateral trade regimes and work to facilitate the establishment of free trade areas which will directly help member countries attain sustainable prosperity.
The BRI, which will be a platform for developing a great future for the world, has much more to offer, and everyone is aware that it is aimed at establishing a community of shared interests, common responsibility and common destiny for 4.4 billion people in 65 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa along the routes.
The concept—aimed at promoting economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development—will help member countries to reshape globalization and the current global economic system in their favor.
China has performed miracles in terms of development and sustainable prosperity by fighting the toughest battle against poverty and lifting more than 700 million people out of the dire condition.
China has invested more than $50 billion in BRI countries since 2013, changing the economic indicators in their economies.
Under the initiative, 56 economic and trade zones are being developed in more than 20 countries. It has also helped create around 2 million jobs and has transferred the latest Chinese technology and expertise.
The BRI has also generated about $1.1 billion of tax revenue in different countries.
It has led to the development of the Silk Road Fund, whose investments have reached $4 billion, while the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has also helped in financing projects in partner countries.
The author is an international correspondent for Independent News Pakistan based in Beijing
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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