字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント 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 Chappell. Remember to support the show by liking this episode, subscribing, or re-subscribing if YouTube secretly unsubscribed you—it 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 signed a new 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 Europe—by 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 meetings. But 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 spend. It 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 was “relaunched and pushed through with extra government aid despite mounting criticism.” And fun fact, the railway is designed “to 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 to “work 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-coronavirus, when 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 asks, Chris 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 in, like 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.