What kind of country does China want to become? Based on his own experience as a seasoned journalist, CGTN anchor Wang Guan says China shows that a global leader can be and should be a creator and a provider of public goods, a driver of growth and development, a builder of consensus and a champion of equality.
“Debt trap diplomacy” and “neocolonialism” are derogatory terms in a narrative often used by Anglo-American media to describe China’s overseas infrastructure building. This is absolutely not what Wang Guan saw in his reports around the world.
He cites the Bar-Boljare highway in Montenegro as an example. It is a state-of-the-art six-lane dual carriageway reducing travel time from Montenegro to Serbia from eight hours to just two hours. And it costs 20 million euros per kilometer, while similar highways cost German 29 million Euros per kilometer, Romania, 34 million euros, and France, 133 million euros.
The “road to nowhere”, in some western journalists’s view, now actually gives Montenegro direct access to the European heartland, according to the country’s President.
Wang Guan stresses that instead of conquering other nations through the barrel of a gun or subverting by force regimes they don’t approve of, China has provided numerous countries with infrastructure, trade opportunities, and development.
The BRI, initiated in 2013, is on track to deliver thousands of such projects— roads, bridges, ports, and green power plants — in over 140 countries. The projects could lift 7 million people out of poverty worldwide and boost global trade by over 6%, according to World Bank estimates.
In addition to being a development leader, China has also been a global leader for peace in countering non-conventional security threats. In working in concert with other countries, the Chinese PLA Navy has made over 1,400 patrol missions in the Gulf of Eden to deter pirates, and escorted over 7,000 commercial vessels passing through the sea lanes, half of which non-Chinese. As a result, by 2022, maritime piracy reached its lowest level since 1994 in the Gulf of Eden.
Wang Guan concludes that China defies gravity by demonstrating that modernization doesn’t necessarily mean westernization, and that neoliberalism is not the only recipe for economic prosperity.