(WSJ) As the U.S., U.K. and others hit pause on globalization, China is flexing its economic muscle with an ambitious infrastructure-building spree that would connect up to a third of the world’s people. In recent years, Beijing has set up a range of institutions and groupings that are being mobilized to promote China’s interests. […]
Mr. Xi’s—and China’s—biggest calling card is the mega-infrastructure Silk Road initiative, also known in China as One Belt, One Road, which envisions building railways, ports, roads, dams, pipelines and industrial corridors across dozens of countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. […]
Central Asia, where China has courted members of the political and business elite for two decades, crystallizes the challenges for Beijing. Economic ties are growing but distrust of Chinese intentions remain.
In August, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside the Chinese Embassy compound in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz authorities said it was the work of Islamist militants. In Kazakhstan, a government plan to extend farm leases beyond 10 years for foreigners sparked widespread protests that tapped into anxieties about Chinese incursions.
“There are fears that there are so many of them, so few of us, that they’ll move into Central Asia” and take jobs and land, said Nargis Kassenova, a professor at Kazakhstan’s KIMEP University. “Everyone understands the need for this connectivity,” she said, “although how to achieve it is a different issue.” […]
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