Nicaragua Canal, China’s Foothold in Latin AmericaPosted: June 12, 2016
Lots of Chinese people have been active in Africa but there have not been much success of them becoming rich and prosperous. Moreover the living conditions are not good there.
Latin America is perhaps a better place for Chinese people to prosper.
China is not so stupid as to follow the footsteps of Western colonialists and repeat their failure when China is now rich enough to develop abroad. It has learnt from the lessons of Chinese people’s success in Southeast Asia.
Those overseas Chinese left their homeland when China was too poor for them to find jobs for their survival. They have to leave China to try to make a living in Southeast Asia, a place too hot and humid for them to live. However, with the no money to start, the Chinese immigrants have made fortunes there and become so rich that they now control the economy in the countries they immigrated to.
Now, with a rich and strong motherland behind them, Chinese people are busy everywhere in the world, Russia’s Siberia, Africa and even Canada and Australia.
However, China’s pattern of development abroad is quite different from Western colonialism, not even American neocolonialism. Chinese people prosper in helping local people develop their economy. Quite a few Southeast Asian countries tried to drive rich overseas Chinese away when China is a communist country and the pro-Beijing overseas Chinese might be a political threat but found that they could not as overseas Chinese were indispensable for their economy.
Now, Siberia is too cold while Africa is too hot with lots of health hazards while Canada and Australia are too developed for Chinese people to start from nothing. Latin America has the best potential for Chinese people to prosper in helping local people develop their economy.
That is why China has been building the Nicaragua Canal there. It will provide China with a strong foothold for entry into Latin America. The project seems not viable now but we shall have vision. China’s trade with Latin America is not much to need such a canal now but the trade is growing fast and may become very big if those countries grow rich with the help of Chinese immigrants and their investment.
As Latin America is regarded by the US as its backyard, China has to be very careful; therefore, the company doing the huge project worth $50 billion is a private one. SCMP says in its article today titled “Sink or swim: Hong Kong company defies the doomsayers on Nicaragua Canal project”, “The project has faced strong opposition from residents, ecologists, human rights activists and economists, as social and environmental concerns continue to grow. On top of that, doubts about the financial viability of the project have surfaced in recent months after the company’s chairman, Wang Jing, reportedly lost about 80 per cent of his fortune following the Chinese stock market crash. His net worth of US$10.2 billion plunged to US$1.1 billion, Bloomberg reported in October.
Wong certainly cannot afford the project, but China can and will as the project is worth much more than $50 billion politically.
We still remember that when China bought the hull of a Russian aircraft carrier from Ukraine which was later turned into China’s first aircraft carrier the Liaoning, it had a private entrepreneur to buy it alleging that he would turn the hull into a theme park for tourism. US politicians certainly have the vision to know China’s true intention and had made every effort to prevent the hull from being towed to China. The transportation cost exceeds $100 million much more than the price of the hull at $20 million.
No wonder the US will make every effort to make the canal project a failure by instigating local people and environment activists to protest against the project and predicting the failure of project to scare potential investors away from the project.
However, Chinese government is rich enough to ensure the success of the project. Even if there is no such project, China has too large a population. It is unavoidable that lots of Chinese will go abroad to find opportunities. With a strong motherland behind them, they are unstoppable, especially in Latin America that the US regards as its backyard but has not been able to make itself popular there.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article on Nicaragua Canal. Full text of the SCMP article can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/economy/article/1972511/sink-or-swim-hong-kong-company-defies-doomsayers-nicaragua