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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/24/16

Chinese shadow over Maldives

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Message James Duglous Crickton


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When it comes to giving grants or loans with no questions asked, the bamboo capitalist stands head and shoulders above the Washington Santa Claus. Visit any African capital. The new truism stares at the uninitiated.

Such generosity is generally not on display in Asia. Certainly in the South China Sea region. With disputes that refuse to fade away from Vietnam to the Philippines and Indonesia, the Chinese revolutionary liberalism with Yuans finds expression elsewhere - in Pakistan, which has become the all-weather friend that loves not to spare the land of Confucius from its jihadi adventurism, and in Maldives, the Indian Ocean island nation that falls on the Xi Jinping's Maritime Silk Road.

There is no free lunch. The Soviet brand Communism paid a dear price by ignoring the maxim of the post-Marx world. Mao's China is not cut in the same mode, though it has just vowed not to revisit his cultural revolution (1966-76). "Neither shall we walk the closed and fossilized road of old, nor shall we tread the evil path of changing flags and banners," People's Daily said in an editorial published on May 17 to mark the 50th anniversary of what undoubtedly has become its ideological albatross. From this thesis flowed The Global Times assertion a day later that "the Cultural Revolution can never occur again in China."

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Have these thoughts of present day market oriented reformist Confucius impacted the world opinion? The jury is out in the open.

What is not in dispute is that the Bamboo capitalist has ventured into the maritime highway as the new East India Company. The Chinese venture is emulating in some ways the East India Company of yore that had started off as a merchant and ended up as a colonial master.

The difference between the two is that the present day avatar is not interested in regime change. Its interest is land, business and strategic depth (LBS).

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Like in Male.

In Dec 2014, China donated USD 500,000 besides rushing tonnes of bottled water to the Maldivian capital to overcome the crippling drinking water crisis in the city caused by a fire in its water treatment plant. While two military aircraft took to the skies from China with 40 tonnes of drinking water left for Maldives on Dec 7, 2014, a Chinese navy ship with water purification facilities began its journey towards Male to "provide drinking water to residents once it is docked".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman remarked: "What China has done fully showcased neighborhood diplomacy of sincerity, amity and mutual benefit". True to its professed 'no questions asked' policy, China left water distribution and related work to locals.

This water-centric largess was one of those rare Chinese grants that are targeted at garnering diplomatic variant of TRPs. Mostly China likes to do its charity below the radar. Like the USD 3, 36,000 grant by the Chinese embassy in Male a few days ago. It had no specific target. Nor any specific purpose. It is not mentioned on the embassy's web site either.

It is a grant for Maldivian Gold Jubilee celebrations, Chinese officials said. But the celebrations were over more than a year ago. The 50th Anniversary of Independence of Maldives was a grand, gala affair during June --July 2015. The Maldives Embassy in China even hosted a reception on July 18, 2015 with the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr Liu Jianchao as the Guest of Honour.

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A local media report recorded the event thus: "The Reception hosted with the assistance of companies in China and Maldives, also featured Maldivian food and music. Special Maldivian gift packs were presented to invitees which included a gift containing sand from the Maldives. A lucky draw was also held with a grand prize of a holiday package in the Maldives."

So it cannot be anybody's case that the Chinese had missed to join the great celebration. What prompted the Chinese to offer a suo moto Golden Jubilee grant, (GJG)?

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A blogger since July 2008 James Duglous Crickton is a London based consultant working with a consultancy firm focusing on Asia, particularly South Asia and East Asia. Political Research is his functional focus area. While his interests are (more...)
 
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