CHINA is “colonising” smaller countries by lending them massive amounts of money they can never repay, it’s been claimed.
The country is accused of leveraging massive loans it holds over small states worldwide to snatch assets and increase its military footprint.
Developing countries from Pakistan to Djibouti, the Maldives to Fiji, all owe huge amounts to China.
Already there are examples of defaulters being pressured into surrendering control of assets or allowing military bases on their land.
Some are calling it “debt-trap diplomacy” or “debt colonialism” – offering enticing loans to countries unable to repay, and then demanding concessions when they default.
Sri Lanka provided a prime example last year.
Owing more than $1billion (£786million) in debts to China, Sri Lanka handed over a port to companies owned by the Chinese government on a 99-year lease.
And Djibouti, home to the US military’s main base in Africa, also looks likely to cede control of a port terminal to a Beijing-linked firm.
America is eager to stop the Doraleh Container Terminal falling into Chinese hands, particularly because it sits next to China’s only overseas military base.
Last March ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Beijing encouraged “dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty”.
A report from The Center for Global Development offers some insight into the spreading China debt.
It shows how infrastructure project loans to the likes of Mongolia, Montenegro and Laos have resulted in millions or even billions in debts, which often account for huge percentages of the countries’ GDPs.
Many of these projects are linked to the “Belt and Road” initiative – a bold project to create trade routes through huge swathes of Eurasia, with China at the centre.
In April China made these intentions more obvious – approaching Vanuatu about setting up a military base.
Australia expressed alarm at this move, which would effectively increase Chinese military presence on a key gateway to Australia’s east coast,
The Times reports.
Vanuatu owes £191million to China, according to one think tank.
Among the projects this money funded was the largest wharf in the South Pacific – considered capable of accommodating aircraft carriers.
Tonga also carries some big debts and has already admitted to struggling with repayments.
Tongan PM Akilisi Pohiva said on Wednesday that he was concerned Beijing was preparing to seize assets from his country.
He urged other Pacific islands to join voices in calling for loan write-offs.
Two loans from China’s Export Import Bank totalling more than £91million equal a quarter of the country’s GDP.
He told Australia’s ABC: “It has become a serious issue. We have debt distress.”
Pohiva said with China debt becoming so prolific, it was no longer a problem to be dealt with individually.
He added: “I think these small countries will eventually come together to find a way out.”
China defended its lending practices, saying they were “sincere and unselfish”, and insisting it only lent to countries that could repay.
Tonga is one among a list of South Pacific countries that have taken on debt in recent years
Sydney’s Lowy Institute think tank, which has closely monitored China’s activities in the Pacific, estimates Beijing has poured nearly £1.4billion into Pacific countries since 2006.
Other big debtors include Papua New Guinea, which owes roughly £498million in development and aid debt, Fiji, which owes £496million, and Samoa, with debt of £181million.
China Killing Prisoners To Harvest Organs For Transplant: BMC Report Accuses China Of ‘Falsifying’ Data
By Zak Doffman - Forbes - 16. Novmber 2019
In June, I reported on the China Tribunal in London, which found evidence of "forced organ harvesting" from Chinese prisoners, including Falun Gong and Uighur Muslims. The Tribunal’s final judgment concluded that this "forced organ harvesting has been committed for years... on a significant scale.” China has said that the practice has been outlawed, replaced with a system of voluntary donations. But a new report, published on November 14 in the BMC Medical Ethics journal, has refuted this, alleging that those claims of reform are being supported by the “systematic falsification and manipulation of official organ transplant datasets in China.”
After nearly two years, our paper on the apparent falsification of China's official organ donor registry data has been published! We used statistics to unravel state data manipulation. I believe the findings are both fascinating and important. (Thread...) https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-019-0406-6 …
The China Tribunal used first-hand testimony from former detainees and implausible transplant availability and short waiting times to shape its findings. The witness reports were horrific—including organ extractions on live victims, subsequently killed by the procedures. A 2015 documentary claimed China’s illegal organ transplant industry is worth $1 billion each year—but China insists that forced extractions have stopped, that its efforts to reform date back to 2010, with a system of voluntary donations replacing forced organ harvesting from prisoners.
Not so, says the BMC article, claiming that China is “artificially manufacturing organ transplant donation data.” The report says its findings mean that any trust in China’s organ harvesting system “has been violated,” that the reforms were “a mask for the continued use of non-voluntary donors or donors who are coerced into giving organs.” In short, the allegation is that the new system of voluntary donations operates alongside and not instead of forced extractions. The giveaway, according to the report, is patterns in the state’s data which are too neat to be genuine—they must be falsified.
Sources behind the forensic data analysis deployed by the report’s authors included the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) and the Red Cross Society of China. Data that found mathematical patterns that defy expected statistical anomalies. In others words, the official China reports emanate from a PR spreadsheet and not from any kind of genuine on the ground analysis and genuine data.
Susie Hughes from the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC), which initiated the China Tribunal, welcomed the findings, warning that the report “exposes the lies and deception that mark China’s so-called transplant ‘reforms.’ The falsification of the China Organ Transplant Response System (COTRS) data appears to be part of an elaborate coverup that disguises the state-run mass murder of innocent people for their organs in China.”
Earlier this year, David Spiegelhalter, a former president of the Royal Statistical Society, reviewed the core analysis, commenting that “the anomalies in the data examined follow a systematic and surprising pattern—the close agreement of the numbers of donors and transplants with a quadratic function is remarkable and is in sharp contrast to other countries who have increased their activity over this period. I cannot think of any good reason for such a quadratic trend arising naturally.”
We also collected Red Cross data from 31 provincial-level administrative units and made a forensic analysis of five of them. Again, numerous anomalies: https://static-content.springer.com/esm/art%3A10.1186%2Fs12910-019-0406-6/MediaObjects/12910_2019_406_MOESM5_ESM.docx …
As we conclude: "We believe that…the only plausible explanation that accounts for all of our observations is that the three datasets were manufactured and manipulated from the central levels of the Chinese medical bureaucracy.
Responding to the Tribunal’s findings in June, the Chinese Embassy in London said its "government always follows World Health Organisation’s guiding principles on human organ transplant, and has strengthened its management on organ transplant in recent years. On 21 March 2007, the Chinese state council enacted the regulation on human organ transplant, providing that human organ donation must be done voluntarily and gratis.” The embassy has been approached for any comments on the claims made in this latest report. The China Red Cross and China Medical Board have also been approached for any comments on the study and its findings.
As tensions continue between the U.S. and China over alleged human rights abuses, with sanctions including restrictions placed on leading Chinese companies, this report will be seriously unhelpful to Beijing and its claims that the U.S. is painting a misleading picture of the country. This is especially true of Xinjiang and the region’s Uighur Muslim minority, which has prompted sanctions on a number of China’s surveillance technology giants and which also finds itself central to claims of forced organ harvesting. By contrast, the case being made by the U.S. will be strengthened.
Zak Doffman is the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—a company providing advanced surveillance tech to the defence, national security, counter-terrorism and critical infrastructure sectors. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, as well as breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at or follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.