Aerial photo taken on Jan. 11, 2021 shows a view of the Pacific international container terminal at Tianjin Port in north China's Tianjin Municipality. (Xinhua/Zhao Zishuo)
by Xinhua writer He Fei
BEIJING, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Several human rights groups based in London and New York recently reported so-called human rights abuses linked to Chinese business operations abroad, smearing Belt and Road projects and China's outbound investment.
The truth is that those accusations are simply calumnies. Over the years, China and its partners worldwide have, through their joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), stimulated common development, reduced extreme poverty, and improved the well-being of local populations, an indisputable contribution to global human rights cause.
Following the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI is by no means a self-serving geopolitical strategy speculated by those zero-summers in the West.
While the BRI is proposed by China, the opportunities for development the initiative can bring about belong to all participants. And it is an open and inclusive initiative that welcomes the participation of third-party markets and more to achieve better cooperative results.
A train runs on the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway during an operational test near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Oct. 3, 2016. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
With the initiative, more residents in Pakistan and Cambodia can enjoy better access to affordable electricity, as Chinese companies have offered clean and safe energy supply solutions that cater to local needs.
Old infrastructures have been revamped in Greece and others, and have become their new drivers of growth. Railways under construction are expected to facilitate inter-country and inter-city transportation in Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa.
According to a report from the World Bank, BRI transport projects could by 2030 help lift 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million people out of moderate poverty globally.
Amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, countries along the BRI route have included health as their new area of cooperation. That enriches the blueprint that used to focus on infrastructure, trade and economic development.
In June, China and 28 countries jointly launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation, with an aim of boosting vaccine assistance, export, and joint production, a new move to safeguard people's right to life in the face of this deadly and cunning virus.
Photo taken on Aug. 12, 2021 shows a package of COVID-19 vaccine at Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Photo by Phearum/Xinhua)
China has reached cooperation pacts with co-sponsors of the vaccine initiative on a total of 775 million doses of vaccines, of which 350 million doses have been delivered by early August.
In less than a decade since its birth, the BRI has won substantial achievements and growing global recognition. The fact that China has some 140 partner countries under the initiative and their trade exceeded 9.2 trillion U.S. dollars from 2013 to 2020 can be a convincing proof of its success.
Nothing is perfect in this world, and the same goes for the BRI. That is why China is gearing up to promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road and work towards high-standard, people-centered and sustainable development with its partners.
For quite some time, the Western world has been talking too much and doing too little about helping the developing world. Recently, Washington, together with some other Western countries, have come up with their plan to "build back a better world."
If the West truly cares about the common growth of those struggling with poverty around the world, they should refrain from just being bystanders and naysayers. And it is even better for them to honor their promises this time. After all, it is always much easier said than done. ■