Dr B Thomas (Special Correspondent)
China has been working hard to present itself as a trustworthy economic recovery partner ever since the Covid-19 epidemic.
While the efficiency of Chinese vaccinations has been called into doubt,the country’s involvement in the economic recovery effort has been plagued by waste, fraud,and political influence.
Additionally,Beijing has not taken any measures to combat the corruption and crime that enterprises with ties to the Chinese government routinely employ in South Asia.
Chinese economic involvement in the region is frequently accompanied by corruption.The value of worldwide Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) attributable to corrupt business practices is estimated to be highest in China.
This is especially true for emerging nations. Throughout Asia,Chinese citizens are frequently imprisoned on suspicion of participating in criminal activity.
This is probably the lowest of the low!
If you have ever wondered how low a country can stoop,then this would make the top of the charts. What if we told you that the undercover Chinese operatives have been going to Nepal with the sole purpose of having kids.
When these operatives go to Nepal, when they fall in love with and marry the locals – they end up with offspring with Chinese genetics.
Then they use these offspring to execute their plans in India!
Although there may not be quite so many publications that back this up, this remains to be the reality.
But here are some of the more well known ways that China has been executing its evil plans against India!
How Chinese Apps Duped Indian Borrowers
During the quarantine that the epidemic caused, a plethora of micro-lending applications controlled by the Chinese began operating in India on extremely questionable conditions.
A slew of instant-loan applications from China—including Momo,CashBus,Timely Cash,Y Cash, Kissht,Robo Cash,Fast Rupee,Cash Mama,and Loan Time—were marketing their services to low-income Indians.
Numerous these applications have over a million downloads.Extremely high interest rates and processing costs are assessed to borrowers.
If a borrower from one of these Chinese microlending apps defaults on their loan,the company will launch an aggressive recovery campaign,which includes sending the borrower official-looking fake documents like FIRs (Indian police reports),legal notices, court summons, downgrade alerts from credit-scoring services, and even signed and stamped warnings from the Reserve Bank of India.
Chainalysis,a blockchain data platform, reports that between April 2019 and June 2021,Chinese cryptocurrency addresses delivered more than $2.2 billion worth of digital tokens to addresses associated with criminal behavior including frauds and darknet operations.
In certain instances, the Indian government’s Enforcement Directorate discovered that the Indian rupee was being converted into cryptocurrency and sent to Chinese people.
Fraudulent Chinese Intervention in Bangladesh
Indian authorities recently detained a Chinese national who was attempting to enter the country illegally through the Bangladesh border.
It was discovered that he had supplied at least 1,300 Indian SIM cards to his counterparts in China, where they were allegedly used to steal personal information and defraud individuals and financial institutions.
It has come to light that Chinese people used these SIM cards to create fake businesses, bank accounts, and mobile phone numbers.
More than five hundred thousand consumers in India lost a combined Rs 150 crore to a fraud utilizing malicious Chinese investing applications including Powerbank, Sun Factory, and Ezplan last year.
China actively pursues partnerships in emerging economies, reaching out to governmental and private sector actors and even coordinating project completion with elections in the partner nation.
China’s government was compelled to stop funding three infrastructure projects in Bangladesh after revelations of widespread money misappropriation in its megaprojects.
China engineered a government-to-government (G2G) sanctioned project so that Chinese contractors would be hired instead of local ones.
In addition,these businesses boost costs by continually elongating the project timeline under varying justifications.
The Padma Bridge and Tanks at the Bottom of the Karnafuli River in Chittagong Railway Project has had significant delays and enormous cost overruns,with the total amount spent more than tripling from the initial estimate as a result of repeated expansions.
It’s common knowledge that Chinese businesses and employees often flout local regulations protecting the environment and the rights of their employees.
Large numbers of people in Bangladesh’s rural areas are being forced to relocate due to the construction of coal power plants and other infrastructural projects,putting the local ecology at risk.
Locals have been staging demonstrations for improved working conditions at power plants and to end the persistent land grabs by Chinese firms.
China’s involvement in infrastructure development practically everywhere suffers from the same problems (inadequate remuneration, inadequate labor facility, impracticality, and corruption) as it does in Bangladesh.
Recently,it was discovered that a Chinese business located in Shenzhen was illegally printing ‘bandroll,’ a thin ribbon wrapped on bidi and cigarette packs that is meant to be solely purchased from the Bangladesh government by manufacturing companies.
The counterfeit bandrolls supplied by the Chinese firm ‘Digit Anti Fake Company Ltd’ (DAFC) resulted in fraudulent tax evasion totaling more than BD Taka 250 crore for Bangladesh.
It also participated in the production of various fake travel documents,voting papers,national identification cards,birth certificates,etc.
This Is Happening In Nepal,Too
Chinese investment in Nepal has grown, but so has the locals’ suspicion that their government is involved in corrupt dealings.
In December of 2019,officials in Nepal arrested 122 Chinese nationals residing in the country illegally and suspected of engaging in financial fraud via electronic transactions.
While authorities in Nepal were looking into the matter, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) utilized its influence to have all 122 suspects returned to Beijing on a chartered plane.
In Nepal,Chinese nationals have been identified as running criminal networks involved in hacking bank ATMs and smuggling gold.
The state’s apparent complicity in cases of misappropriation committed by Chinese nationals is not unique to Asia.
China’s corruption is massive and increasingly well-documented in Africa.Corruption takes various forms in China,including bribery for business deals,inefficient management, and the concealment of illicit gains.
Bloomberg detailed Chinese firms’ extensive grip over Congo’s mines and how they failed to deliver $3 billion in promised infrastructure assistance. Four Chinese business tycoons allegedly perpetrated a tax evasion operation worth $300 million in Namibia.
Over 600 Chinese brands,representing over 3,000 seller accounts,have been permanently removed from Amazon.
RavPower,a subsidiary of the Chinese consumer electronics firm Sunvalley Group,was named in a Wall Street Journal report that claimed the company gave gift cards in return for ratings, prompting the agency to open an inquiry.
Companies in China “with insufficient expertise of integrated circuit development have blindly entered projects” due to the government’s goal to grow the semiconductor sector.
After stealing multimillion-dollar investments from government bodies, these failed within a few years.
Chinese crime organizations and syndicates have shown adept in forming nebulous multi-national structures,often with ties to legitimate businesses,and then exploiting the laxity of the legal systems of smaller,less powerful countries. The People’s Republic of China is aware that several IFFs are taking place under the purview of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Xi Jinping’s administration wouldn’t be proposing a new “Clean BRI” in 2019, if it weren’t serious about promoting openness, honesty, and fighting corruption.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that much will be done to promote more open transactions. There is a risk of falling victim to illegal cash flows from China in the wake of the epidemic, when underdeveloped nations are also hoping for a swift economic recovery.