Health and Technology

Should We Fear China’s Belt And Road? – Possibly

Imagine a world where 1.5 billion people are forced to live in a desert of their own making, China is just that.

Beijing is a dangerously polluted city surrounded by agricultural lands which have turned to dust. In 2012 the World Health Organization reported on 1M Chinese deaths due to air pollution. At times the air pollution has been so bad that it was termed an airpocalypse. The PM (Particle Matter) levels are frequently recorded as reaching all time highs affecting 800M people. PM relates to the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye others equally harmful can not be seen.

The Gobi desert once the protector of the Chinese empire revered and fortified. It now has turned from protector to invader. 500,000 Miles of Northern China and Southern Mongolia is now a Barren wasteland, consisting of just sand. Once fertile land is now arid dust bowls blanketing entire areas of China. The Gobi desert is the fastest growing desert on earth each year transforming 2250 miles (ca. 3,621 km) of grassland in a sandy desert.

These sands are whipped up by winds polluting over 1M square miles, are then combined with Industrial pollution. Beijing air quality index recently reached a peak of 620, a rating classified as ‘beyond index’. To put into perspective the US government label above 200 as very unhealthy, above 301 to 500 it is ranked hazardous.

Desertification is a type of land degradation whereby previously fertile soil is transformed into arid land. Effectively, it is the process of areas turning into deserts, and the causes are both man-made and climate-induced. China’s frenzied developmental campaigns in the 20th-century ravaged the country’s timber resources and this deforestation along with overgrazing, wind erosion, and depletion of water resources accelerated desertification in the latter half of the century.

I won’t dwell on this point but, China’s military aspirations are rapidly coming to fruition. The South China sea is a casing point. Add all this together and consider the use of China’s Belt and Road Scheme then wonder starts to be suspicion.

Let’s cover the Chinese government guidelines which as we all know are set in stone. China’s State Council set out three rules or categories for overseas investment, what can and can’t be purchased by Chinese companies: “prohibited”, “restricted” and “encouraged”. Prohibited are casinos and military technology, while restricted includes hotel and property development. But agriculture and infrastructure investment is encouraged. Then consider the usage for the new silk road.

Headline 1. China to become the biggest foreign owner of Australian farmland.

In 1850 Chinese arrived in droves searching for wealth from the new gold rush. Afterwards they stayed on, employed to assist in creating some of the most fertile farms anywhere in the world. They are now back in a form of another gold rush: They are buying farms such as Cubbie Station in Queensland, the Van Diemen’s Land Company dairy operation in Tasmania, Nicoletti Farms in Western Australia and a share in the vast S Kidman & Co cattle empire are just some well-known farming businesses now wholly or partially in Chinese hands. Over recent years Chinese investors have been on an unprecedented buying spree of Australian farmland. According to the latest Register of Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land, Chinese ownership of Australian farmland has increased tenfold in the past year alone. They now control 14.4 million hectares. China is set to overtake the United Kingdom as the biggest foreign owner of Australian farmland, a mantle dating back at least to the last gold rush. The buying spree comes with the blessing of the Chinese Government even at a time when Chinese government is worried about the flow of capital out of China.

Headline 2. China Belt And Road Scheme Owns Ports Across The World China’s Seaport Shopping Spree:

What China Is Winning By Buying Up The World’s Ports, China through its state owned shipping and maritime companies have historically quietly purchased ports around the world. Now under their 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR), the seafaring part of their Belt and Road initiative has significance, their ambitions are taking shape. News emerges almost daily of a new port acquisition. Ports from Greece, Brazil, Sri Lanka, across Africa and Australia have already been acquired.

Headline 3. Control of the West infrastructure, power, telecoms etc.

Huawei have the ability to eavesdrop and access the most sensitive information flowing freely over networks worldwide. Maybe all of this is innocent but given their size, given the abject destruction of lands. They clearly are concerned for the welfare of their citizens.

A good friend once said to me the belt scheme in theory is good but in practise it is way for China to leave China. Think on that! I for one am suspicious as to their intentions.

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