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  • China's spent years courting Europe

  • But some of China's best laid plans

  • Are becoming its biggest failures

  • Welcome to China Uncensored. I'm Chris ChappellRemember to support the show by liking this  

  • episode, subscribing, or re-subscribing if  YouTube secretly unsubscribed youit happens,  

  • and sharing this video with  your friends and family

  • Speaking of our friends and allies, you might  think that China is doing pretty great when  

  • it comes to Europe. After all, they signednew investment deal with the European Union  

  • that pretty much lets them off the  hook when it comes to human rights

  • Ok, sure they had to promise to try to maybe think  about possibly getting better at human rights,  

  • but that's not a big deal for the Chinese  Communist Party. They're good at promising things.

  • But their promises of win-win mutual cooperation  across all of Europe have hit a big snag

  • And it's kind of their own fault.

  • Last week the Chinese Communist Party held  a virtual summit for the leaders of the  

  • 17+1 group of nations. And many of those  leaders just...didn't bother showing up.

  • What is the 17+1? Well the 17 is a group of  17 Central and Eastern European countries,  

  • and the +1 is China

  • The Chinese Communist Party  established the 17+1 back in 2012.  

  • It's a group that the Party has essentially tried  to use to divide and conquer Europeby using  

  • infrastructure investment, trade deals, and other  economic incentives to influence these countries.

  • 12 of these 17 countries are  part of the European Union,  

  • which the Chinese Communist Party was  definitely looking to get on its side.

  • We actually talked about this 17+1 group  in this episode from three years ago.

  • Back then it was only 16+1, but  then Greece was invited to join.  

  • After all, Greece proved it  was a true friend of China  

  • after blocking an EU statement condemning  China's terrible human rights

  • Which is exactly the kind of influence that China  was hoping these countries would have on the EU

  • But three years after our  last episode on the 17+1,  

  • the relationship has soured a little bit  between the 17 and the 1. That's one reason why  

  • some of the leaders of those countries skipped  a virtual summit that China held last week.

  • In fact, “Half of the 12 EU national leaders  

  • invited to the club failed to show up to  pay homage to Chinese President Xi Jinping.”

  • Sure, everyone hates Zoom meetingsBut these European leaders  

  • didn't skip the meeting just because  they didn't want to put on pants.

  • The six countries sent a lower-level  representative instead of their top leaders.  

  • They were Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, and the  Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

  • And apparently the Baltic states, in  particular Lithuania, took the lead.

  • It figures. Those Baltic  countries are such troublemakers

  • This situation was especially embarrassing  for the Chinese Communist Party because  

  • Xi Jinping was personally hosting the meeting

  • Look, Xi Jinping doesn't host Zoom  meetings for random Lithuanian ministers.  

  • He expects to see the Lithuanian  president, President...Nauseda.

  • And now it looks like President Nauseda just  

  • didn't think Xi Jinping was worth  the effort to put on a pair of pants.

  • The point is, the Chinese Communist  Party wasn't happy about this.

  • Only a day before the event, Chinese diplomats  were piling pressure on these capitals to send  

  • 'a higher level representation,' according to  a diplomat from one of these six countries.”

  • And apparently the Lithuanian  and Estonian ambassadors  

  • were summoned to China's foreign ministry  for a dressing down. Which they ignored

  • So why did these European  countries snub the 17+1 summit?

  • I'll tell you why after the break.

  • Welcome back.

  • Why did so many European countries  snub China's 17+1 summit?  

  • It's because instead of being China's gateway to  Europe, the 17+1 has become a zombie mechanism.

  • Hey, back in 2012 it sounded like a great  idea! China wanted to come to Central and  

  • Eastern Europe, and it was looking to spendIt promised to build new infrastructure,  

  • to build new factories, to buy lots  of Central and Eastern European stuff.  

  • And at first, things were looking good.

  • China set up a 10 billion dollar  credit line for the 17+1 countries.

  • There were big flagship projects  

  • like a deal to build and develop new nuclear  reactors in Romania at the Cernavoda power plant.

  • Or the Budapest-Belgrade railway project,  

  • which is eventually supposed to link  to the port of Piraeus in Greece.

  • The infrastructure projects that  were promised to the 17+1 group  

  • were linked to China's Belt and Road  Initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road.  

  • But after almost a decade, most of these countries  would call it One Belt, One Road to Nowhere

  • That's because the Chinese  Communist Party continued to do  

  • something that they do so much  of, it's practically their motto.

  • Uh, no Seamus. Their other motto

  • That's right. Overpromise and underdeliver.

  • A lot of the big flagship  infrastructure projects that the  

  • Chinese Communist Party promised have either made  very little progress, or haven't happened at all

  • Instead of infrastructure, they  received forums; instead of factories  

  • they received exchange programs; and instead  of exports they received summer camps.”

  • So these countries were expecting investment  and economic revitalization but instead  

  • they just get invited to boring  Zoom meetings. Which explains why  

  • they don't think it's worth putting  on a pair of pants for Xi Jinping

  • Well, that and none of us fit into our pants  anymore after a year of coronavirus lockdowns.

  • Speaking of overinflated waistlines, that  flagship Budapest-Belgrade railway project  

  • has been called a white elephant—a project  whose cost outweighs its usefulness.

  • That's after Hungary signed a  

  • 1.9 billion dollar loan with China  to complete the project last spring.

  • And then classified all of the details  about the project for 10 years.

  • That's after the project wasrelaunched  and pushed through with extra government aid  

  • despite mounting criticism.”

  • And fun fact, the railway is designedto ship  Chinese goods from Greece to western Europe,  

  • but key sections in the Balkans are missing.”

  • I'm sure they'll get around  to building those...later.

  • What about the Romanian power plant deal

  • Well, funny story. Romania decided to get the  US to build those plants instead of China.

  • Back in 2015, the Romanian government signed  a preliminary agreement with state-run China  

  • General Nuclear Power Corporation, known  as CGN, to build the nuclear reactors.

  • Then in 2019, the US government blacklisted  CGN and other Chinese nuclear firms  

  • for using US technology to help China's military.

  • This happened right around  the same time as Romania's  

  • president was visiting the  US. And in a joint statement,  

  • both countries pledged towork closely together  to support Romania's civil nuclear energy goals.”

  • Then in late 2019, a new Romanian government was  elected that was a little less friendly to China.  

  • And the new prime minister announced that he was  

  • cancelling the deal with CGN  to build the nuclear reactors.

  • Which eventually led to US  companies taking over the project

  • In fact, the Romanian  government is now considering  

  • banning Chinese companies from bidding  on infrastructure projects at all.

  • That's something that's happening  in the Czech Republic as well.

  • But the Romania story shows another big piece of  

  • why the Chinese Communist  Party's 17+1 project is stalling.

  • And that is: successful diplomacy from the  United States. Under the Trump Administration.

  • During the Romanian president's  visit to the US in 2019,  

  • Romania became the first country to sign  a memorandum of understanding with the US  

  • that essentially banned Chinese telecom  Huawei from building its 5G infrastructure.

  • And that led to a ton of other  Central and Eastern European countries  

  • either doing the same, or joining the Trump  Administration's Clean Network Initiative.  

  • Which is also targeted at keeping Huawei from  building 5G infrastructure around the world.

  • And guess what, a lot of those  countries are 17+1 countries, too.

  • Well, that's awkward.

  • So it seems that the US and its EU allies like  France and Germany haven't been seeing eye-to-eye  

  • regarding the threat from the Chinese Communist  Party. But under the Trump administration, the US  

  • government spent a lot of effort reaching out to  these Central and Eastern European countries too.  

  • This picture was of course pre-coronaviruswhen we all still shook hands. And wore pants.

  • But that successful diplomacy, together with  the Chinese Communist Party's broken promises,  

  • have turned a lot of the region  against the Chinese regime.

  • Of course there are still countries like Hungary  that are holding out for some of that Belt and  

  • Road money, but the disillusionment  among many 17+1 countries is real

  • Will that affect the rest of the EU?  

  • I guess it depends on how much they believe  the Chinese Communist Party's promises.

  • And now it's time for me to answer a question  from the China Uncensored 50-Cent Army. Those  

  • are viewers of the show who support China  Uncensored on the crowdfunding website Patreon.  

  • We wouldn't be able to do these episodes without  you. Find out more at Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored.

  • Greg asksChris would it help if more people were made aware  

  • of the investment firms that bankroll the Chinese  Communist Party??? I would think that if the  

  • average individual investor knew the funds they  are investing are either Directly or Indirectly  

  • supporting the Chinese Communist Party they would  demand that the practice would be stopped!!!  

  • It seems PUBLIC SHAMING would force the  businesses involved to question their strategy!!!!

  • Well Greg, I do think this type of  public shaming works for companies that  

  • have to answer to consumers. Like H&M,  which cut ties with their supplier after  

  • accusations that they used cotton  made with forced labor in Xinjiang.

  • But when it comes to big investment  firms, that's not as easy.  

  • Because for these companies, individual investors  are kind of small peanuts. You'd have to get  

  • big investors, like institutions that have  tens or hundreds of millions of dollars  

  • handled by these investment firms, to pull  out before it would make a big difference. Or  

  • the government would have to step inlike when the Trump administration  

  • tried to ban Chinese military-linked  companies from trading on Wall Street.

  • But this is a huge problem that we need  to talk about. Because foreign investment  

  • is definitely supporting the Chinese Communist  Party and what they do. And it goes pretty deep.  

  • We've been thinking about doing an episode on  how you might be investing in China without  

  • even knowing it. Let me know in the  comments if you'd like to see that

  • Thanks for your question, Greg.

  • Be like Greg and support China Uncensored. Go  to Patreon.com/ChinaUncensored to learn more.

  • Once again, I'm Chris Chappell. See you next time.

China's spent years courting Europe

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China’s Big European Failure

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    zijun su posted on 2021/05/11
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