The Chinese Communist Party, which is known for its predatory practices, now reportedly has its sights set on taking natural resources from African nations that are indebted to China and that are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus.
The extent of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, is largely China’s fault because they lied to the world about it and tried to cover it up, thus preventing it from being better contained, and allowed international flights out of the affected areas despite restricting domestic travel.
China has been widely criticized for President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), about which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has “repeatedly warn[ed] of unsustainable debt levels, predatory lending, and the lack of project transparency,” according to the Center for Strategic International Studies.
China is now reportedly looking to exploit African nations that are struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, demanding that they turn over natural resources if they can’t pay up. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Wealthy countries from the U.S. to Japan—watching their own economies lurch toward recession—are loath to forgive African debt if they think the money will indirectly support Chinese creditors, including the government, banks and contractors. At the same time, Beijing is worried about setting a precedent for widespread forgiveness. …
But some African governments already bilaterally petitioning China for relief say Chinese envoys are citing provisions in loan agreements that would transfer collateral, in some cases strategic state assets, into Beijing’s hands.
Officials in Zambia, for example, say Beijing is demanding collateral in exchange for debt deferral or forgiveness. Two senior Zambian officials on a government panel negotiating with China said they are considering giving the Chinese copper-mining assets including the country’s third-largest mine, Mopani, owned by Glencore PLC, a London-listed mining company, in exchange for debt relief.
The Journal noted that President Donald Trump has warned African countries that if they take money from China that could mean that they lose control of strategic assets in the future because the Chinese Communist Party is predatory in nature.
The Journal added:
When Sri Lanka was unable to repay a loan for a Chinese-built port in 2018, the government granted a state-run China-based shipping group a 99-year lease on the facility. Chinese port operators last year tightened their grip over a strategic naval port in the East African nation of Djibouti, where debt to China is equal to nearly 100% of gross domestic product. …
An estimated $143 billion of African debt to Chinese lenders has been racked up over two decades of record lending, according to Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Much of that has financed large-scale infrastructure projects from light-railway systems in Ethiopia to airports in Zambia and ports in Tanzania.
African nations seeking debt deferral or forgiveness from Chinese gov are being told they have to give up strategic state assets
Zambia may give a copper mine to the Chinese gov
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 20, 2020
Back in the U.S., calls continue to grow from U.S. lawmakers to investigate China and to make China pay for the pandemic because they lied and covered up the extent of the epidemic. One study found that had China acted three weeks sooner, which still would have been after they learned about the outbreak, then the outbreak would have been 95% smaller and would have likely been regionally contained.