China’s New Silk Road | 101 East

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called it the “project of the century”.

The new Silk Road is China’s ambitious plan to boost its worldwide reach through new train and shipping lines, roads and ports.

Following the old Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) crisscrosses from Asia to Africa and Europe.

China insists the massive development will benefit all countries along the route, but locals tell a different story.

Along a railway that stretches from Djibouti to landlocked Ethiopia, local worker Mohamed says he feels frustrated.

“The Chinese don’t do anything! It’s not right. They just hang around drinking water and eating … All of the work is being done over there, and it’s us, the Djiboutians, who are doing it,” he says.

101 East travels to Pakistan, where China is investing $62bn over the next 15 years to transform the small fishing port of Gwadar.

But local fisherman Ghani says he has not seen the benefits of this project. He lives with 36 relatives in a house that has no water or electricity.

Since the deep-sea port was built, he says fishermen have been finding it increasingly difficult to find fish.

“We no longer have access to certain areas at sea, where we always used to go fishing because there were lots of fish. The port has taken them over. Now we have to go much further out.”

101 East examines the human cost of China’s new Silk Road.

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