China: A song and dance for Belt and Road
China’s landmark Belt and Road Forum – not, we are told, to be abbreviated as Barf – has been hailed as a success for the country’s sprawling infrastructure agenda.
It was certainly a success for residents’ lungs, as a two-week closure of various factories and power stations left the skies blue and the air clear for the duration of the forum.
But really, how could the summit have been anything other than a triumph when the propaganda build-up was so mesmerizing? The China Daily news outlet somehow persuaded its US-born journalist Erik Nilsson to film a video of himself explaining the Belt and Road Initiative to his five-year-old daughter with Lego and maps (“It’s China’s idea, but it belongs to the world”).
But that’s nothing compared to the official Belt and Road song, featuring kids singing lyrics like ‘The Belt connects the land/The road moves on the sea/The promise that they hold/Is joint prosperity/We’re breaking barriers/We’re making history/ The world we’re dreaming of/Belongs to you and me.’
Euromoney is of the view that this might be the finest song about Asian infrastructure finance since Macquarie Korea head John Walker self-published his album ‘12 Bridges’.
Perhaps the spirit of harmony will extend to advisory or financing mandates for international banks on the projects involved. Perhaps it will go further still and actually pay fees.