Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Suspicions of Chinese investors well-founded

Published:Monday | August 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM


It is good that the Chinese ambassador has moved to reassure us that his country has no imperialist designs on Jamaica and that its investment thrust is nothing more than the pursuit of mutual happiness.

Coming as it did as a response to Peter Bunting's utterances, His Excellency should be well aware that neither Mr Bunting nor Jamaica has any claim to intellectual property rights in relation to the concerns that Mr Bunting articulated about Chinese investment.

To help put things in perspective, here are excerpts from a BBC Asia report on May 14, 2017, following a summit of world leaders in Beijing:

"In advancing the Belt and Road, we will not retread the old path of games between foes. Instead, we will create a new model of cooperation and mutual benefit," Mr Xi said at the opening of the two-day summit.

"But neighbours Japan and India have stayed away from the summit, suspicious that China's development agenda masks a bid for strategic assets and geopolitical ambitions. And some economists are cautious about the viability of projects in areas of political instability and poor governance."

To what extent, if at all, Jamaica fits into the above Chinese schematics is unclear. Perhaps His Excellency could oblige with an explanation.

In the meantime, however, my purpose is to point out that Mr Bunting and other like-minded Jamaicans are not alone in the fears expressed.

The BBC has also been doing a series of feature programmes on its radio network (available on podcast), giving some ear- opening accounts of the actual experiences of everyday people around the world, relative to Chinese investment in their communities. I believe we should listen and learn.