Image by Lommes
Chinese President Xi has staked his legacy on the new Chinese Silk Road project, uniting the Middle Kingdom with Europe once again through Central Asia. However, the Chinese mercantile dictatorship is running into roadblocks as it tries to implement the aggressive program to build the massive railway across the Asian continent.
Certain nations in the ‘Stans’ are pushing back against the transport system, worrying China will reap all the benefits to allowing passage through their countries on the way to Eastern Europe.
“But, on the ground, it has run into problems. Projects traverse insurgency-hit areas, dictatorships and chaotic democracies, and face resistance from both corrupt politicians and local villagers,” writes AFP.
“Gains for China, such as access to key markets and tackling overcapacity in domestic industries, are often more obvious than those for its partners,” said AFP.
“I am against this railway as it stands because the financial benefits that could accrue to Kyrgyzstan accrue to (China and Uzbekistan) instead,” said Timur Saralayev, head of the Bishkek-based New Generation movement.
At the Chinese/Kazakh border crossing at Khorgas, the situation is laid out in stark, visual reality. On the Chinese side of the barrier, flashy shopping malls and commercialism abound. On the Kazakh side, the situation is much more bleak. The railway crossing between the two nations became operational in 2012.
To ameliorate such concerns, China typically invests massive amounts in local economies in strategic businesses such as transportation or energy. However, China then typically imports Chinese workers to run the enterprises, again leaving local economies, and governments wondering.