中国重塑调整“一带一路”,回应外界批评

BEIJING — It took only a week for China’s all-powerful […]

BEIJING — It took only a week for China’s all-powerful President Xi Jinping to yield. Malaysia had publicly slammed China for vastly overcharging on a showcase rail project, canceling the deal.

北京——中国有无上权力的国家主席习近平仅用一周的时间就做出了让步。马来西亚曾公开抨击中国对一个样板铁路项目要价过高,并取消了这笔交易。

In a rare admission of Chinese excess, Mr. Xi replied in a major speech last year that his prized global infrastructure program would be more cautious, more consultative. This month, China slashed the cost of the rail by one-third.

习近平在去年的一个重要讲话中回应说,他所珍视的全球基础设施倡议会更谨慎,更多地寻求协商,罕见地承认了中国的过分做法。这个月,中国将该铁路项目的成本削减了三分之一。

Broadly facing criticism about overpriced and superfluous projects, China is reshaping and retooling its grand infrastructure plan, known as the Belt and Road Initiative. But Beijing isn’t retreating from its vision to build a network of ports, rails and roads that puts China at the center of global trade and enhances its geopolitical ambitions.

面对外界对价格过高和项目过多的广泛批评,中国正在重塑和调整其宏伟的基础设施计划,即“一带一路”倡议。但北京并没有放弃自己的愿景:建设一个把自己置于全球贸易中心的港口、铁路和公路网络,并以此来增强其地缘政治野心。

Rather, China’s efforts are intended to present a friendlier face to global leaders, who are gathering this week in Beijing for a conference to mark the sixth year of the initiative. To show it’s a more responsible player, China is promising corruption-free, environmentally conscious ventures. It is also seeking advice from major multinational banks, asking other countries, such as Japan, to collaborate, and in some cases scaling back its projects.

相反,中国的努力是为了向全球领导人展示一个更友好的面孔。本周,一些领导人将聚集北京,参加庆祝该倡议实施六周年的会议。为了表明自己是一个更负责任的参与者,中国承诺从事廉洁、环保的合作项目。它还在寻求大型跨国银行的建议,邀请像日本这样的国家加入到合作中来,并在个别情况下缩小项目规模。

“The Belt and Road Initiative will make tactical adjustments, not strategic,” said Wang Jun, a former director of the Information Department at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

“‘一带一路’倡议将作出战术的而不是战略的调整,”中国国际经济交流中心前信息部主任王军说。

The initiative, originally billed as a trillion-dollar venture though trimmed back as the domestic economy weakens, is a pet project of Mr. Xi’s. He unveiled the idea in a speech at a university in Kazakhstan soon after assuming office in 2013.

这个倡议最初曾被标榜为一个上万亿美元的投资计划,但随着国内经济增长减弱,投资规模已有所缩小。它是习近平喜爱的项目之一,是习近平在2013年上任后不久在哈萨克斯坦一所大学演讲时提出的想法。

Mr. Xi regards the program as so special that he directed it be written into the Communist Party Constitution. As he sees it, the creation of infrastructure abroad to sustain the flow of goods in and out of China — and possibly military gear in the future — is intrinsic to cementing the nation’s path to power and competing with the United States.

习近平很看重这个倡议,甚至指示将其写入了中共党章。在习近平看来,通过在国外建设基础设施来维持货物——未来可能还有军事装备——进出中国的流动,对巩固国家走上大国之路、与美国竞争具有内在意义。

But the aggressive expansion under Belt and Road has dented China’s reputation. Some countries complained about unsustainable debt, while others criticized the overwhelming numbers of Chinese workers imported for construction.

但是,以“一带一路”名义进行的声势浩大的扩张,已经损害了中国的声誉。一些国家抱怨担上了不可持续的债务,还有一些国家则批评中国从国内带来大批建筑工人的做法。

Last year, Sri Lanka had to give its major port to China after it could not repay loans. Pakistan gripes about high costs and onerous debt. New railways in Kenya and Ethiopia have failed to earn a profit. In Indonesia, a new high-speed railway is way behind schedule.

去年,斯里兰卡由于无法偿还贷款,不得不将自己的主要港口让给中国。巴基斯坦也在抱怨高昂的造价和沉重的债务负担。肯尼亚和埃塞俄比亚的新铁路未能盈利。印度尼西亚一个新高速铁路项目的进度远远落后于时间表。

Against that backdrop, the program has broadly drawn concerns from officials in Western Europe and the United States. The Trump administration has called the project predatory.

在这样的背景下,该倡议已在西欧和美国的官员中引起了广泛关注。特朗普政府称该项目是掠夺性的。

The scathing critique by the new Malaysian leader, Mahathir Mohamad, hit China coming from a friend. So China’s tone, though hardly humble, has been shaded in recent months to be less strident.

马来西亚新领导人马哈蒂尔·穆罕默德(Mahathir Mohamad)的严厉批评打击了中国,因为它来自一位友人。所以,中国回应的语气尽管并不谦逊,但在近几个月里已有所缓和,不再那么刺耳了。

“The points made after Mahathir could be defined as pragmatic retrenchment,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University. “The tune was somewhat remarkably different from what was in the propaganda before, and has been maintained.”

“马哈蒂尔之后中方表示的观点可被认为是务实的缩减,”中国人民大学国际关系教授时殷弘说。“语气与之前的宣传有些明显的不同,而且这种语气一直延续下来。”

When Mr. Xi addresses the conference Friday, top officials from the United States and India will be absent. The Trump administration has announced an alternative offering under the revamped Overseas Private Investment Corporation. India is upset because new Chinese-built ports on the Indian Ocean make India feel hemmed in by its richer neighbor and strategic rival.

习近平周五在“一带一路”论坛上发表讲话时,美国和印度的高级官员将缺席。特朗普政府以改变后的海外私人投资公司(Overseas Private Investment Corporation)的名义宣布了一个替代计划。印度不高兴是因为,中国在印度洋新建的港口让印度有被这个富裕的邻国和战略对手包围的感觉。

China scored a substantial victory last month when Italy signed on to Belt and Road, the first major European country to do so. The Chinese are likely to make the Italian prime minister a focus of the gathering, because no other major Western European country is sending a leader.

上个月,意大利成为首个加入“一带一路”的主要欧洲国家,让中国获得了一个重大胜利。中国很可能会把意大利总理作为这次论坛的中心人物,因为没有其他主要西欧国家派领导人出席。

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not turning up, either, and the country will be represented by the minister of transport and infrastructure, Cahit Turhan./ Mr. Erdogan’s absence is seen as a protest of the forced detention in western China of an estimated one million Uighurs, a Muslim minority.

土耳其总统雷杰普·塔伊普·埃尔多安(Recep Tayyip Erdogan)也不出席,由交通和基础设施部部长卡希特·图尔汉(Cahit Turhan)代表。埃尔多安的缺席被看作是对中国在西部强迫拘禁了大约100万维吾尔族人的抗议。维吾尔族是一个穆斯林少数民族。

In eschewing the program, the United States and some of its allies have also focused on China’s poor record on human rights, highlighted by the harsh treatment of the Uighurs.

美国及其一些盟友在回避这个论坛时也强调了中国在人权方面的糟糕记录,突出表现在严厉对待维族人上。

As he headed to Beijing for the conference, the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, was pushed by Britain, Germany, Turkey, the United States and several other countries to raise the detentions when he met with Mr. Xi, according to officials from two nations that spoke to him. China considers Mr. Guterres, a supporter of the infrastructure program, important for the prestige of the conference, making him an ideal figure to raise concerns about the detentions.

据与联合国秘书长安东尼奥·古特雷斯(António Guterres)进行过交流的两个国家的官员,英国、德国、土耳其、美国和其他几个国家都在古特雷斯前往北京参加论坛之前向他提出要求,让他在与习近平见面时提出有关拘禁的问题。中国把古特雷斯看作是“一带一路”的支持者,对此次论坛的声望至关重要,这让他成为对这些拘留表示担忧的理想人物。

The United Nations ambassadors told Mr. Guterres that while he was in Beijing, he could not remain silent about the Uighurs, the officials said. The ambassadors asked Mr. Guterres to demand the closing of the detention camps, and requested that he to report back to them on Mr. Xi’s response.

这些官员说,上述几个国家驻联合国的大使告诉古特雷斯,他在北京期间不能对维族人的处境保持沉默。大使们让古特雷斯提出关闭拘禁营的要求,并要求他把习近平的回应报告给他们。

The United Nations had no immediate comment.

联合国没有马上就此发表评论。

Tangling with Mr. Xi on the Uighurs may not get quick results, but the pushback on the program has paid off. One adjustment: an anti-corruption campaign.

虽然在维族问题上与习近平叫板可能不会很快有结果,但对“一带一路”的抵制已经奏效。项目的一个调整是推出反腐败运动。

The head of China’s Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, which helps finance projects around the world, told a seminar of Chinese contractors on Monday that they needed to improve their business practices.

中国的亚洲基础设施投资银行行长周一在一个与中国承包商举办的研讨会上说,承包商需要改进他们的商业行为。亚投行为世界各地的项目提供资金。

The Beijing-led bank, whose more than 90 members include Western European nations but not the United States, is seen as a counterweight to the World Bank in Asia, as well as an extension of China’s economic heft into what has been a traditionally American-influenced region.

由北京牵头的亚投行有90多个成员国,其中包括西欧国家,但不包括美国。亚投行被视为对世界银行在亚洲的制衡力量,也被看作是中国经济影响力在一个传统上受美国影响的地区的延伸。

“As Chinese contractors, I urge you not to be involved in any corruption, even if you have to give up some projects,” the head of the bank, Jin Liqun, said. People in other countries are “still doubtful” about the Belt and Road Initiative, he said. “As long as we assure quality, they will welcome the projects.”

“我敦促你们,作为中国承包商,即使你们不得不放弃一些项目,也不要卷入任何腐败,”亚投行行长金立群说。其他国家的人对“一带一路”倡议“仍然持怀疑态度”,他说。“只要我们保证质量,他们将欢迎这些项目。”

In an interview, Mr. Jin said that some recent Chinese infrastructure projects had “achieved good things” and that “mistakes had been blown out of proportion.”

金立群在一次采访中说,中国最近的一些基础设施项目“取得了良好的成果”,“错误被夸大了”。

To enhance its reputation, China is also trying to dispatch workers who are better prepared to work in troubled regions. After attacks in Pakistan, security companies are now training Chinese workers in antiterror tactics before they deploy.

为了提高声誉,中国也在试图把准备更充分的工人派到动乱地区工作。在巴基斯坦发生袭击事件后,安全公司正在对将外派的中国工人进行反恐战术培训。

China’s State Grid, for example, is building power transmission lines in remote parts of Pakistan. And its workers do safety training in Beijing — how to avoid getting shot or hurt in a terror attack — run by a company known as China’s Public Security Guard Training Center.

例如,中国国家电网正在巴基斯坦的偏远地区修建输电线路。国家电网的员工在北京接受安全培训——如何避免在恐怖袭击中中弹或受伤,培训由一家名为中国公共安全保安培训中心的公司来做。

“Pakistan is the hardest hit by terror attacks,” said Lu Wei, a security expert at the company. It is also the country with the biggest Belt and Road program.

“巴基斯坦是遭受恐怖袭击最严重的国家,”该公司的安全专家陆伟(音)说。巴基斯坦也是“一带一路”项目规模最大的国家。

China has also sought to work more closely with other countries, with varying success.

中国也在寻求与其他国家进行更密切的合作,但效果不一。

China has reached out to the major multinational financial institutions, including the World Bank, to help develop best practices for infrastructure projects. The idea was to form a working group inside the Chinese bank to jointly consider proposals for Belt and Road, according to officials from two of the invited institutions.

中国已与包括世界银行在内的主要跨国金融机构进行接触,寻求它们在基础设施项目最佳实践上的帮助。据两家受邀机构的官员说,想法是在亚投行内部成立一个工作组,与跨国金融机构一起审议“一带一路”项目提案。

But at the insistence of the European Investment Bank, and several of the other institutions, a memorandum of understanding signed last month to establish the working group was watered down. It did not even mention Belt and Road, the officials said.

但在欧洲投资银行(European Investment Bank)和其他几家机构的坚持下,上个月签署的成立工作组的谅解备忘录被打了折扣。官员说,备忘录甚至没提“一带一路”。

And China has sought help from an unlikely quarter: Japan. The two countries are competitors in building rails and ports in underdeveloped countries in Asia, and Japan has been careful not to endorse the Belt and Road Initiative.

中国也从一个让人难以相信的地方寻求帮助:日本。中日两国在亚洲欠发达国家建设铁路和港口方面是竞争对手,日本一直在小心翼翼地避免对“一带一路”的支持。

During a visit last fall to Beijing by the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, the Chinese broached the idea of working together on infrastructure. But the Japanese say they are bound by international standards such as open bidding and fiscal sustainability that China has ignored. So far, the two sides have not found a common project.

日本首相安倍晋三去年秋天访问北京时,中国提出了在建设基础设施方面进行合作的想法。但日本人说,他们受公开招标和财政可持续性等国际标准的约束,而中国一直忽视这些标准。到目前为止,双方还没有找到一个共同的项目。

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